Tipp boss delighted to draw Longford at home

Tipperary football selector Michael O’Loughlin is delighted his county have a home draw against Longford in the second round of the qualifiers.

The Premier county will entertain Longford at Semple Stadium on Saturday, the curtain raiser to the hurling qualifier meeting of Galway and Tipperary.

“We are delighted to get a home venue,” said O’Loughlin.

“We are delighted because it is our first game at home in the championship for two years. Not since a qualifier game in 2012 have we played at home.

“Obviously there will be a big crowd for the hurling clash, but we are confident people will get in early to see the footballers following our display below in Páirc Uí Chaoimh.”

Jack Sheedy’s Longford sprung a major upset when scoring a two-point victory away to Division 1 league finalists Derry in the first round of the qualifiers so O’Loughlin is under no illusions as to the scale of their task.

“They have a very good record in the qualifiers. They took out Mayo a few years back and then no one gave them a chance going up to Derry two weeks ago and they turned them over. It is going to be a very difficult assignment. They have marquee forwardsin Paul Barden, Seán McCormack, Michael Quinnand BrianKavanagh. Thoseforwards would make any county teamand our defenders will have their hands full.

“We hope we can get our lads up for it following the Cork game.”

The all-Ulster clash involving Mickey Harte’s Tyrone and the losers of the Armagh v Monaghan semi-final replay stands out as the most attractive second round fixture. Roscommon travel to Cavan in a repeat of the Division 3 league decider, while Wexford and Kildare will face Laois and Down respectively — Aidan O’Brien’s charges afforded only seven days to recover from their Leinster semi-final hammering at the hands of Dublin.

Elsewhere, Wicklow manager Harry Murphy said home advantage is crucial for Saturday’s tussle with Sligo.

“Any of the four teams we could have got are going to take beating and so the least we were looking for was a home fixture in Aughrim.

“We had a good win over Offaly there which restored confidence following the defeat to Laois. The logistics of travelling to Sligo would have been difficult and so we hope the home draw is worth at least a few scores to us.”

Murphy added: “Full-back Damien Power missed the Offaly and Laois games with a shoulder injury and it is highly unlikely he will be back even though we are giving him as much time as possible.”

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