Bradley happy to avoid 'big three'

Antrim manager Liam Bradley is pleased to have avoided the 'big three' - Kerry, Kildare and Tyrone - in the draw for the third round of the All-Ireland SFC qualifiers.

Antrim manager Liam Bradley is pleased to have avoided the 'big three' - Kerry, Kildare and Tyrone - in the draw for the third round of the All-Ireland SFC qualifiers.

Bradley's men will face Tipperary in Thurles on Saturday in what will be the counties' first ever Championship meeting.

The third-round rivals are familiar with each other having met in the Allianz League this spring when Antrim came away from Semple Stadium with a 1-13 to 0-13 win.

Speaking to the Irish News, Bradlley said: "We've played Tipperary in the league this year down in Semple Stadium and we beat them by a couple of points - but league and Championship football are miles apart and that won't count for much.

"Ideally, we would have liked a home draw but beggars can't be choosers. We are just happy to have missed the big three of Tyrone, Kerry and Kildare."

The Saffrons will travel south on a high after ending Galway's Championship challenge in Belfast last weekend, while Tipperary also caused a shock by beating a Wexford side that tested All-Ireland champions Dublin.

"Tipperary will be on a high after a good victory over Wexford at the weekend. It's a very, very tough game for us," added Bradley.

"Semple Stadium will probably be worth a few points' start to them. It's a tough game, but certainly a game we are capable of winning."

Antrim midfielder Michael McCann was one of their leading performers last time out, knocking over three points from play during the morale-boosting defeat of Galway.

Acknowledging that both the Saffrons and Tipp have momentum heading into the third round tie, he told the county's website: "Make no mistake, Tipperary will be very happy with this draw, they have had a great victory over Wexford and they are playing at home again so in the eyes of many people they will be favourites.

"But it is a good opportunity for us as well and the lads will be giving it everything to go that one step further."

McCann added: "I know that Thurles is a long journey but I hope as many Antrim fans can make it down as possible. The support can help us over the line and keep the summer going."

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