SIXTEEN TEAMS WERE involved in the draw that was made live this morning on TV3′s Ireland AM programme with the eight winners of the first round ties pitted against the eight defeated provincial semi-finalists.
Here’s how it panned out.
Antrim v Galway
Antrim had a tricky time in escaping with victory against London at the weekend in Ruislip and for that alone they will be satisfied with not having to travel away from home for this tie. That success should bring them on and they will not fear the Tribesmen who were left reeling after their Connacht championship loss to Sligo. The extent that Galway have managed to recover from that defeat will define the outcome of this match.
Leitrim v Wicklow
After the horrible experience they endured in the Connacht semi-final, Leitrim will have been glad of how they fared in the draw. Being at home and being drawn against a fellow Division 4 team will provide a major boost in the wake of that thrashing by Mayo. Wicklow will not be unhappy either given the quality of teams they could have faced and should be battle-hardened by the serious test they endured before defeating Waterford after extra-time on Saturday.
Westmeath v Kerry
Jack O’Connor should be pleased with how the draw unfolded. Kerry possess superior quality to Westmeath but having to travel away for this clash will succeed in focusing their minds as they seek to recover from their Munster semi-final defeat to Cork. Three years ago Kerry experienced a difficult afternoon in the Midlands when they survived against Longford in the qualifiers and that experience will be fresh in their minds. After the disappointment of their Leinster championship defeat to Louth, Westmeath have gained some respite by turning the tables in the qualifiers on Saturday.
Roscommon v Tyrone
The most eye-catching qualifier result over the weekend was certainly in Dr Hyde Park. The level of celebrations amongst the Roscommon players and management indicated the significance of their triumph over Armagh. Yet their reward now is to entertain another Ulster giant in the qualifiers. At least they have home advantage for that tie but when the sides met in round four of the championship last year in Croke Park, Tyrone had 11 points to spare.
Longford v Limerick
Both Glenn Ryan and Maurice Horan will be satisfied with this clash. Longford, who have made genuine progress this season, will be glad to be back in Pearse Park as the Division 3 league champions look to build on Saturday’s evening’s success over Derry. Limerick’s spirits were low in the aftermath of their Munster semi-final loss to Clare but they have consistently shown a capacity to reinvent themselves in the qualifiers over the past few years. Being shorn of some key figures will make that task harder though.
Cavan v Kildare
It was inevitable wasn’t it? Kieran McGeeney stated yesterday afternoon that as far as he was concerned the saga involving Seanie Johnston’s transfer had now concluded following his appearance for Coill Dubh in the Kildare SHC on Saturday afternoon. Yet there is another chapter in this story waiting to be written with Johnston in line to make his debut for his new county against his former county. On a purely football level, Kildare should have the wherewithal to see off their opponents. But this will be a test for them given the frenzied atmosphere that will be created over the coming weeks and Cavan, buoyed by yesterday’s impressive win over Fermanagh, should not lack motivation on home soil.
Laois v Monaghan
As provincial semi-final defeats go, Monaghan’s recent reversal against Down was certainly a wounding one. They could not quite close out a game that they looked in possession of for long stages and to lose out by a point at the finish was a difficult pill to swallow. It remains to be seen if they have got over that setback and they did endure a dispiriting afternoon in the qualifiers last year at a Midlands venue when Offaly soundly defeated them in Tullamore. Laois did not hit the high notes against Carlow on Saturday but still ground out a win and have the benefit of home advantage at least.
Tipperary v Wexford
This looks an interesting tie with Wexford, who coughed up a great chance to end their barren run of defeats against Dublin yesterday, seeking to get their season back on track away to the Premier county. Last year Wexford found the six-day turnaround telling against them when they were defeated by Limerick in the qualifiers and at least on this occasion they have a 13-day turnaround to revive their campaign. Tipperary will be pleased to be lining out at home and there is a sense that they are in good shape under the stewardship of Peter Creedon who is only a couple of months into his reign.