Croke Park defends decision to delay hurling qualifier draw
Henry Shefflin says promotional opportunity lost by deferring the draw for a week
Wexford’s Jack O’Connor celebrates after the county’s Leinster semi-final victory over Kilkenny at Wexford Park. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho
Croke Park have clarified that the draw for this year’s first round of the All-Ireland hurling qualifiers could not take place until after next weekend, as the preliminary round between Carlow, the first beneficiaries of the decision to allow the Ring Cup winners to enter the MacCarthy Cup, and Laois has to be played first and the latter can’t be drawn against Westmeath, who they already played in the Leinster championship.
“We can’t really protect the winners of that tie from being drawn against Westmeath because there’s no reason for Carlow not to draw them, were they to progress,” said a spokesperson.
It was also explained that the late throw-in times for next Sunday’s All-Ireland qualifier round 1B matches between Armagh and Fermanagh and Offaly and Cavan – both of which start at 6.30 – are due to Féile na nÓg being hosted by Fermanagh, Monaghan and Cavan.
The lack of a hurling draw on Monday was criticised by former Kilkenny player Henry Shefflin, who said that hurling would miss out on the week’s promotion that the qualifier draw would have generated.
“Everyone thought it was today. Everyone was really looking forward to it since Kilkenny lost, since Tipperary lost. So the thing now when you think about it, Wexford-Galway, with Davy [Fitzgerald, Wexford manager], is a novel pairing so there is going to be a lot of media attention around that.
“There are going to be some big draws in the qualifiers as well, so I think it would be great for the buzz of the championship to have had it today.
“It’s kind of going to peter out a bit come the end of this week and then obviously it will pick up again next week ahead of the Leinster final. I would have liked it to have taken place and I think the teams would probably like to know who they are playing as well, because there are going to be some serious matches in it.”
The GAA also confirmed on Monday that the Special Congress to consider changes to the hurling championship would take place on 30th September next. The deadline for counties to submit proposed tweaks to the proposals drafted by the Central Competitions Control Committee will be 14th July.
At the same meeting on Saturday, Central Council also gave permission for the Special Congress to consider motions from the standing committee on the playing rules and motions from CCCC that aim to make more weekends available for club fixtures.
The GAA has also announced restrictions on bags being allowed into Croke Park on match day.
According to a statement: “Following a review of safety procedures with the relevant statutory authorities, Croke Park can confirm that as of Sunday, 25th June 2017, patrons will not be permitted to take large bags and backpacks into the stadium for all match day and concert events. Smaller bags will be permitted but may be subject to searches and patrons are urged not to bring bags at all where possible.”
The draw for round 2A of the qualifiers took place on Monday. Fixtures are scheduled for the weekend of July 1st/2nd. Times and venues have yet to be confirmed.
Mayo face Derry in a repeat of a qualifier tie from 10 years ago, which was won convincingly by the Ulster county. Longford, who kept their good record in the qualifiers going last Saturday are scarcely rewarded by having to travel to Donegal.
All-Ireland SFC Qualifiers Round 2A
[First named teams with home advantage]
Meath v Sligo
Mayo v Derry
Laois v Clare
Donegal v Longford