Qualifier draw sees Laois and Fermanagh in first championship meeting

Sky’s first foray into GAA coverage watched by 32,000 Irish residential subscribers

Laois players take the field against Dublin last Sunday. They will now face Fermanagh in the qualifiers. Photograph: Tommy Grealy/Inpho.

Laois players take the field against Dublin last Sunday. They will now face Fermanagh in the qualifiers. Photograph: Tommy Grealy/Inpho.

The GAA will today confirm the dates and venues for round one of the All-Ireland football qualifiers, which are likely to be played over two Saturdays, June 21st/28th.

Under new restrictions introduced this year, counties were divided depending on which side of the provincial championship they played on, in order to reduce the likelihood of repeat pairings.

In Round 1A, Derry will host Longford, and Laois will welcome Fermanagh to Portlaoise (the first such championship pairing between the counties). Limerick will host last year’s beaten Connacht finalists, London, while Offaly will face Wicklow in Aughrim in the only all-provincial tie.

In Round 1B, two matches have yet to be confirmed: Louth await the losers of Sunday’s Ulster showdown between Monaghan and Tyrone, while the losers of the Carlow/Meath game face whoever loses the Munster replay between Waterford and Clare.

Elsewhere, Cavan will take on Westmeath, and Down will host Leitrim.

Roscommon, who lost out to Mayo by one point in Sunday’s Connacht football semi-final, will go into the draw for round two.

Next game

For Mayo defender Donal Vaughan, the closeness of that contest was exactly what his team needed, if not expected, ahead of the Connacht final on July 13th.

“People will say we had our eye on the next game, but we have full respect for Roscommon and it will be of no consolation to them, but they really put it up to us,” said Vaughan.

“So the way we look at it, we got over game two and now it’s about game three. It is another step along the way. That is the only thing that you can take out of it.”

nAccording to figures supplied to The Irish Times last Saturday’s GAA Leinster hurling quarter-final between Kilkenny and Offaly attracted an average of 32,000 viewers to the first championship match broadcast exclusively by Sky Sports. The figure, which peaked at 46,820 early in the match, is for Irish residential subscribers only and does not include those who watched

in pubs or in Britain. When Kilkenny played Offaly last year the audience on RTE was 221,000.

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