Longford will have home advantage against Derry in Round 1 of the All-Ireland Senior Football Championship Qualifiers on Saturday week, June 30th and Glenn Ryan’s side will be hoping to bounce back from the shattering one-point defeat they suffered against Wexford in Tullamore.
The county players were in a state of devastation after letting victory slip from their grasp in the recent Leinster Senior Football Championship quarter-final replay at O’Connor Park and must still be wondering how they managed to lose that game after squandering three clear-cut goal chances.
While Derry crashed to a most disappointing 2-13 to 0-9 setback against Donegal in the Ulster Championship quarter-final in Ballybofey on Saturday last, they are backboned by a number of quality players with full-forward Paddy Bradley very much their main man.
Bradley fired over six points (five frees) in the downfall against Donegal and is clearly the major threat on a Derry team who will be going all out to redeem themselves when they travel to Glennon Brothers Pearse Park for this intriguing ‘back door’ clash.
Revenge will be a motivating factor as Derry (who retained their Division 2 status in the National League this year) bid to make amends for a shock defeat by Longford in Round 3 of the All-Ireland Qualifiers at ‘fortress’ Pearse Park back in 2006 when a single point separated the sides at the final whistle.
Another close encounter could be in prospect on Saturday week with Longford having no reason to fear a Derry side who are apparently on the slide and the midlanders will approach the championship game in a fairly confident frame of mind based on some excellent results this season.
The complete draw for Round 1 of the All-Ireland Qualifiers is as follows:
Laois v Carlow
Westmeath v Louth
Roscommon v Armagh
Fermanagh v Cavan
Tipperary v Offaly
London v Antrim
Wicklow v Waterford
Longford v Derry
Games to be played on Saturday June 30th