The stand out fixture in round three of the qualifiers made this morning was the pairing of Kerry and Tyrone.
Mickey Harte’s men will travel to the Kingdom to take on their old foes after their emphatic win over Roscommon on Saturday. Kerry on the other hand have been struggling to find their form, defeat to Cork saw them take the back-door route, and were lucky to escape Mullingar with a one point win yesterday. At one stage in the second half they were six points in arrears before scraping over the line after a late Westmeath free fell agonisingly short.
With seven All-Ireland’s between the two sides over the past decade, it promises to be a titanic clash, and one that holds no fears for Tyrone. Under the stewardship of Mickey Harte, they have yet to taste defeat to Kerry, beating them in two finals and a semi-final in 2003. Both sides are going through a transitional period with injuries and retirements, and the two sides that take to the field will be much changed from their last championship meeting in 2008.
After an emphatic victory over Cavan in Breffni Park, Kildare’s reward is a home tie with Limerick. Seanie Johnston appeared for the final ten minutes to make his much-awaited debut and scored the final point in a comprehensive rout of the home side.
Leitrim sensationally put eleven years of defeat in the qualifiers behind them as they saw off Wicklow by three points at Sean Mac Diarmada Park on Saturday. Emlyn Mulligan and James Glancy scored eleven of the thirteen points between them, though the visitors were left to rue sixteen wides in the game. Leitrim were handed another home draw where they will face Laois. First half goals from Colm Kelly and Brendan Quigley proved to be the difference as they defeated Monaghan in a game that was to prove Eamonn McEneaney’s last in charge of the Farney men.
The final fixture will see Tipperary have home advantage against Antrim. The Premier squeezed past Wexford in Semple Stadium with just a point to spare as Donagh Leahy’s goal proved to be crucial. Wexford won by fifteen points when the sides met in the league, and boss Jason Ryan was clearly shocked after the game. “I’m devastated that we’re out of the championship. It’s just absolutely devastating. Antrim caused a surprise of their own as they also won by the bare minimum, defeating Galway on a scoreline of eleven points to ten. The Tribesmen’s winless streak in the qualifiers now stretches back to 2004.
Round three of the qualifiers takes place on the weekend of July 21st/22nd.
ALL-IRELAND SFC QUALIFIER DRAW
Kildare v Limerick
Tipperary v Antrim
Kerry v Tyrone
Leitrim v Laois
(Games to be played 21-22 July)
Kildare/Limerick v Sligo
Tipperary/Antrim v losers of Donegal and Down
Kerry/Tyrone v Clare
Leitrim/Laois v losers of Dublin and Meath
(Games to be played 28-29 July)