First-round backdoor defeats to Wicklow last year, Tyrone in 2013 and Tipperary three years ago have meant the Faithful County’s seasons have been truncated to just five playing months in the previous three seasons.
However, a victory against Waterford team would set up a July 4 second-round qualifier date with one of Tipperary, Dublin/Kildare, Fermanagh/Monaghan or Roscommon/Sligo, marking their first foray into that month since 2011, when they lost to Limerick.
Offaly are also going in search of just their second SFC win since that season, when they beat Monaghan.
Following the defeat to Longford, manager Pat Flanagan requested that his players be upfront with him about their intentions ahead of the qualifiers. He was pleased with the reaction. “I asked the players to be totally honest and to give 100% commitment or pull out and no player pulled out, apart from Keith Mullally who we knew was going to America,”
Flanagan told the Midland Tribune. “That is very encouraging. They are working very hard. They are hurting badly after the Longford game and this is an opportunity to put things right for supporters, who we feel we let down.”