Tailteann Cup draw doesn't pass without controversy as repeat-pairings and regional draws come under scrutiny 1 month ago

Tailteann Cup draw doesn't pass without controversy as repeat-pairings and regional draws come under scrutiny

Here we go.

After all the talk and all the proposals and all the plans, the All-Ireland senior football championship has finally been split in two. John Horan's beloved brainchild, the long-awaited Tailteann Cup, was given the go-ahead and now it's almost ready for road.

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Tipperary and Westmeath were the last two teams to be added to the roster, having lost their respective provincial semi-finals at the weekend and their inclusion brings the number of competitors to 16. The competition kicks off this weekend coming, with Wicklow hosting Waterford and Wexford hosting Offaly for what will be the second time in four weeks.

That fixture has caused a bit of a stir in itself with Wexford fans wondering why, having beaten Offaly in that Leinster championship game, their reward is a preliminary game against the same opposition. The fact of the matter is that, for their part, it came down to the (bad) luck of the draw as, of the six southern teams that didn't qualify for their provincial semi-finals, they were among the four picked out of the bowl by GAA president Larry McCarthy.

Credit: RTE Sport.
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That southern-northern divide will exist until the semi-final stages of the competition and predictably, it has turned out to be another bone of contention. Speaking on Morning Ireland this morning, McCarthy put it down to reducing costs for supporters and a bid to get the most out of local rivalries. Some are arguing that, sick of the sight of the same opposition, and having been disappointed by this format during the Covid League, they were hoping for something new and fresh.

Elsewhere, the fact that New York aren't entering the competition until the quarter final stages has also proved controversial. That is because, in effect, the Yanks have been given two byes when compared to the situations of Wexford, Wicklow, Waterford and Offaly.

Cavan vs Down certainly looks to be one of the ties of the round, from a traditional sense, though recent upheaval in the Mourne County will leave Cavan as heavy favourites for that one.

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