The four Round 1B qualifier matches were played earlier on today and so the identities of the four counties who will be drawn against four of the beaten provincial semi-finalists (ourselves included) are now known. As a result, it’s certain that our Round 2B qualifier match on 9th July will be against one of Fermanagh, Longford, Limerick or Offaly.
We met, and beat, Limerick once previously in the championship. That was in a Round 3 qualifier tie at played at Hyde Park in 2002. We last met them in the League in 2007 and the only other competitive non-NFL game we ever played against them was in the short-lived Open Draw Cup, back in 1985. We met in Round 2 of the competition that year and we suffered a ten-point loss in that match played at Askeaton.
If we pull the Shannonsiders and they get home advantage, they’ll hardly drag us there this time. It would, instead, mean a return to the Gaelic Grounds for the first time since the high emotion and crushing disappointment of that All-Ireland semi-final replay against Kerry two years ago.
If we draw Longford it’ll be a reprise of another painful championship evening for us. That one was in June 2010 and it ended in our most mortifying ever championship defeat when they dumped us out in the first round of the qualifiers. At least Pearse Park is out of commission now so even if we do get paired with them it won’t be another outing for us there.
The last times we met Fermanagh and Offaly in the championship was in the more salubrious surroundings of Croke Park, both at the All-Ireland semi-final stage. We beat the Faithful County in the 1997 semi, which was the only championship meeting we’ve ever had with them, while it took us two attempts to get past Fermanagh in the penultimate round in 2004. The Ernesiders did, of course, lower our colours in Round 4 of the qualifiers the previous year.
All that’s in the past, though, and on Monday morning, just after the 8.30 news bulletin on RTÉ Radio 1, the draw will be held for this year’s Round 2B fixtures. Who we’ll draw then is in the lap of the gods but which of the four would you like us to be paired with?
Who would you like us to draw?
- Longford (31%, 90 Votes)
- Offaly (24%, 70 Votes)
- Fermanagh (23%, 65 Votes)
- Limerick (22%, 62 Votes)
Total Voters: 286