HomeFootballMayo to face Derry in mouth-watering All-Ireland SFC preliminary quarter-final

Mayo to face Derry in mouth-watering All-Ireland SFC preliminary quarter-final

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Ross McGarry of Dublin is tackled by Bob Tuohy, 26, and Rory Brickenden of Mayo

Kevin McStay and Mickey Harte will face a do-or-die battle for championship survival next weekend after Mayo and Derry were drawn together in the All-Ireland SFC preliminary quarter-finals.

The last two winners of the Allianz Football League will face off in Castlebar either next Saturday or Sunday after today’s last 12 draw, hosted by RTÉ’s Morning Ireland.

The remainder of the draw will see Louth face Cork (more than likely at Monaghan venue Inniskeen), Tyrone host Roscommon and Galway square off against Monaghan.

For Harte, it probably ranks as the toughest of the three options that could have faced his struggling Derry – but also the least divisive.

Having finished third in their group, they could have been drawn against either Harte’s native Tyrone or the Louth team he jettisoned last September to take charge of Derry. Now he has been spared such a hot-and-heavy showdown, but Mayo’s excellent performance in drawing with All-Ireland champions Dublin yesterday underlines the challenge now facing his struggling outfit – especially as McStay’s men will have home advantage.

Derry’s belated first win of a calamitous championship campaign – against Westmeath last Saturday evening – ensured they would stay in the race for Sam Maguire.

One positive augury for Derry is that they overcame Mayo in a high-scoring league clash at Hastings Insurance MacHale Park last March (3-15 to 2-13), although their collapse in form since beating Dublin in the Division 1 final remains an obvious concern.

Harte’s former Louth charges will hope to avenge last year’s SFC defeat to Cork when battle resumes this weekend, while Roscommon will hope to reverse their Omagh defeat to Tyrone at the start of this year’s NFL.

Armagh, Dublin, Donegal and Kerry have already secured direct access to the quarter-finals, and they will be pitted against the four preliminary winners on the weekend after next.

SFC preliminary quarter-final draw: Mayo v Derry; Louth v Cork; Tyrone v Roscommon; Galway v Monaghan (first team at home).

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