SFC qual­i­fier round-up

Sunday Mirror (Northern Ireland) - - Sport - BY PAUL KEANE

IF this is their last af­ter­noon in the All-Ire­land qual­i­fiers,

Water­ford surely won’t shed too many tears.

With a B Cham­pi­onship look­ing in­creas­ingly likely for 2020 – and Di­vi­sion 3 and 4 teams set to be di­verted away from the qual­i­fiers – Water­ford would be the big win­ners. They face Di­vi­sion 3 cham­pi­ons West­meath in Mullingar to­day (3pm) and should they lose as an­tic­i­pated it will close out a truly hor­ri­ble pe­riod for them in the back door se­ries.

Water­ford have played just 40 Cham­pi­onship games in to­tal since the qual­i­fiers were in­tro­duced in 2001 av­er­ag­ing 2.1 matches per sum­mer. Wick­low, Car­low and Leitrim are next up at 2.7 while Clare are on 2.9.

To put the fig­ures into con­text, Dublin have av­er­aged 5.5 games since 2001. Mean­while,

Mon­aghan will be on a re­venge mis­sion against

Fer­managh in Clones (1.45pm) af­ter last sum­mer’s shock Ul­ster semi de­feat.

Car­low will be with­out sus­pended duo Bren­dan Mur­phy (left) and Sean Mur­phy for the visit of

Long­ford (3pm).

But Long­ford boss Padraic Davis warned: “Un­der­es­ti­mate Car­low at your peril. They’re a team that have beaten Kil­dare only a year ago, were pro­moted last year and were un­lucky to have been rel­e­gated to Di­vi­sion 4 this sea­son.”

Tip­per­ary, rav­aged by in­juries this sea­son, travel to Newry (2pm) to play Down.

Tipp boss Liam Kearns said of a shock loss to Lim­er­ick: “Five or six of the lads were play­ing their first game for some time and we got found out. I re­gret play­ing them.”

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