Dempsey’s Longford defeated Tomas Ó Flaharta’s side 2-13 to 1-13 in their Leinster SFC opener on May 13 in Pearse Park. However a five-point defeat in the provincial quarter-final to Laois in Tullamore consigned Longford to the qualifiers and last night they received an away trip to Cusack Park in Mullingar.
Laughed Dempsey: “I think it was a 15/1 chance. The good thing is I can walk down to the match! It is an unusual pairing but I’m looking forward to it. I think most of our lads would be happy with Westmeath.
“The qualifiers are great. It gives our players another serious championship match and allows the likes of Brian Kavanagh and Paul Barden a chance to highlight their skills again. Cusack Park in Mullingar has the makings of a great game and we are really looking forward to July 7.”
Derry, defeated by Monaghan in yesterday’s Ulster SFC semi-final, were drawn away to Joe Kernan’s Armagh while Donegal — another semi-final casualty — have a trip to Carrick on Shannon and a meeting with Dessie Dolan’s Leitrim, who lost to Galway yesterday.
Limerick host Louth, Fermanagh await the losers of Sunday’s Leinster SFC semi-final between Laois and Wexford while John O’Mahony’s Mayo are at home to Cavan. Colm Coyle’s Meath are heading to Down while John Maughan’s Roscommon have a home tie against Kildare.
The matches are due to take place on the weekend of July 7 and 8.
Meanwhile Monaghan manager Seamus McEnaney moved to allay concerns over the health of one of his star players last night. Paul Finlay was forced to withdraw from the Farney squad for yesterday’s Ulster SFC semi-final against Armagh on medical advice. It’s understood that concern was raised after the Ballybay player had undergone a routine medical test earlier in the week. But McEnaney insisted that Finlay will return to the squad in the near future and will play in the Ulster final against Tyrone on July 15.
“Paul Finlay will be playing in the Ulster final. I give you that guarantee today,” said McEnaney.