DERRY FACE DAUNTING CHALLENGE

DERRY manager John Brennan (below) described yesterday’s difficult Qualifier Round One tie against Longford as the toughest draw possible and questioned the GAA’s decision to grant the Leinster men home advantage.

Still reeling from Saturday’s emphatic 10-point Ulster Championship Quarter-final defeat to Donegal, the Derry manager said the tie was in keeping with a year in which little has gone right for the Oak Leaf senior squad.

Compounding the difficult nature of a fixture against a team who will play in Division Two next year after successive promotion seasons under Glenn Ryan, is the fact Derry were drawn out first yet must travel.

With the Leinster men having been drawn away in the first round last year, they are entitled to home advantage this season meaning the game will most likely take place in Glennon Brothers Pearse Park on Saturday week to the obvious displeasure of the Derry boss.

“Apparently there is some rule that if you are drawn away in the Qualifiers one year you are entitled to a home draw the next,” explained the Oak Leaf manager, “It doesn’t make a lot of sense in an open draw but there you are.”

Probably the pick of the Qualifying draw, Brennan admitted his side could not have had a more difficult game with which to try and rectify the damage inflicted in Ballybofey.

“It is a very tough draw, very tough. Longford have been doing very well. They just got promoted and were only beaten by Wexford in the Leinster Championship after a replay. They’ve have a very good year in the league and are on a bit of a roll. They will be oozing confidence going into the game which is the exact opposite of ourselves, coming off one of our worse defeats in years.

“The draw is very tough but it just seems to continue what has not been a good year for us. We got the toughest draw possible in the Ulster Championship, away to the defending champions, and we have now been handed the hardest draw in the qualifiers and seen it shifted to Longford. Everything seems to have went against us this year but we need to regroup and regroup quickly.”

Throw in at Pearse Park in Longford on Saturday is 7pm.