Connacht chairman John Murphy has dismissed suggestions he purposely picked out a team over another in the provincial senior football draw.
Social media was alit with claims following the draw on RTÉ’s Six One News on Monday evening that the Sligo man had selected a cannister only to put it back into the bowl. The moment occurred as he was to reveal the semi-final opponents of Mayo and Sligo, which turned out to be Leitrim.
In fact, Murphy simply chose to redo the draw as Marty Morrissey continued to explain that the next team out would face Mayo or Sligo and he wanted to coincide his selection with the presenter’s conclusion.
“There was nothing untoward,” said Murphy. “I was running a bit ahead of Marty and I just picked one out and as he was still speaking I put it back down.
“The other side of it, there were eight to 10 people around the place with producers, a prop guy, a camera man, a Croke Park rep. It’s a lot about nothing, really.
“I’m not that big into social media. I just ran ahead of him (Morrissey), really. I noticed he continued talking and I put the drum down and off I went again.”
Meanwhile, Donegal and Down have been given the onerous task of having to win four games to claim this year’s Ulster senior football championship.
As they hadn’t been drawn in the preliminary round in the previous two years, Declan Bonner and Paddy Tally’s sides were among five who could have been pulled out of the bowl to play at the first stage of the provincial competition — Antrim, Armagh and Fermanagh were the other three.
Although Cavan and Donegal have claimed the Anglo-Celt Cup from the preliminary round in recent years (2020 and ‘18), the gauntlet is made tougher by the knock-out nature of the championship.
The winners of the Down-Donegal clash will face Derry in the quarter-finals where the defending champions Cavan have been given a difficult draw against Tyrone, now managed by Fergal Logan and Brian Dooher.
Armagh face Antrim, now coached by another former Tyrone player Enda McGinley, in the last eight while Monaghan clash with Fermanagh. Monaghan are unlikely to have Seamus McEnaney on the sideline for that draw as he is expected to be serving a 12-week ban.
In Leinster, All-Ireland SFC champions Dublin will begin their campaign against Wicklow or Wexford in early July.As they aim for an 11th consecutive Delaney Cup, their first opponents will either be Division 3 or 4 opposition, although the game will not be played in Croke Park and the semi-finals are also expected to be played outside GAA HQ.
Mickey Harte’s first Championship game in charge of Louth sees him pit wits against John Maughan’s Offaly. The winners will face Jack O’Connor’s Kildare in the quarter-finals.
The pick of the games is the Laois-Westmeath quarter-final given both teams are Division 2 sides, while 2020 runners-up Meath await the victors of the Carlow-Longford preliminary round game. Leinster SHC champions Kilkenny will face the winners of Laois and Wexford in their semi-final as runners-up Galway await to play the victors of the quarter-final between Dublin and Antrim.
The losers of those quarter-finals will face off in a preliminary round qualifier where the defeated team will be relegated to the Joe McDonagh Cup in 2022 with the winning team advancing to the first round of the backdoor system.
All three provincial competitions are due to commence on the weekend of June 26/27.
The Leinster and Ulster SFC finals are scheduled for Sunday, August 1 with the Leinster SHC decider down for Saturday, July 17.