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The McGeeney derby, Monaghan seek revenge and the U2 question - football qualifier talking points

We run through 5 talking points after this morning’s All-Ireland SFC Round 4B qualifier draw.

Image: Presseye/Philip Magowan/INPHO

1. Monaghan handed chance of revenge against Down

DOWN’S STUNNING 1-14 to 0-15 win over Monaghan in the Ulster semi-final on 24 June was the first major upset of the football championship.

The Farney have been handed an opportunity to right that wrong just five weeks after the crushing defeat. Monaghan were less than impressive in their five-point Round 3B victory over Carlow last weekend, but are still 2/5 favourites with the bookies to exact revenge on their Ulster rivals.

Tyrone had eight points to spare over Down in yesterday’s Ulster final, but the Mournemen have shown enough quality this summer to suggest they stand an excellent chance of making it two wins from two over Malachy O’Rourke’s side in 2017.

Kieran McGeeney Source: James Crombie/INPHO

2. The Kieran McGeeney derby

Kieran McGeeney spent six years in charge of Kildare until 2013 and brought them to within a fingertip of the All-Ireland final seven years ago.

He also managed the Lilywhites to the Leinster U21 crown in 2013 and that team makes up the bulk of Cian O’Neill’s current squad.

10 players from that side featured in Sunday’s Leinster final defeat to Dublin - Mark Donnellan, David Hyland, Paul Cribbin, Fergal Conway, Johnny Byrne, Tommy Moolick, Niall Kelly, Daniel Flynn, Paddy Brophy, Fionn Dowling.

It makes Armagh very dangerous opponents for Kildare. McGeeney has an intricate knowledge of the majority of their key players and they enjoyed a morale-boosting late win over Tipperary in the previous round of the qualifiers.

U2 in concert - Twickenham Stadium Source: David Jensen

3. Will the Croke Park surface be an issue after U2?

Jim Gavin was critical of the GAA’s decision to relay the Croke Park pitch in advance of yesterday’s Leinster final. About one fifth of the playing area on the Hill 16 end was taken up and replaced after the Coldplay concert nine days ago.

A number of players notably lost their footing at stages during the Dublin victory, and Gavin highlighted the issue after the game. Croke Park is unavailable for games this weekend due to the U2 concert which takes place at HQ on Saturday night.

The same area of the pitch will be relayed in advance of the Down-Monaghan and Kildare-Armagh double-header on 29 July. All four managers will be acutely aware of Gavin’s comments about the playing surface, and it’ll be interesting to see if there are further complaints about the quality of the field.

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Mark Poland leaves the pitch with an injury Source: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

4. Can Kildare and Down recover after provincial final defeats?

The major task facing Kildare and Down is putting their recent defeats behind them and attacking the final round of qualifiers with renewed vigour and focus.

Kildare are aiming to become the first beaten Leinster finalists to make the All-Ireland quarter-final in eight years. In contrast, the last losing Ulster finalist who failed to make it to the last eight was Derry in 2011.

Armagh and Monaghan are arriving into the Round 4B on the back of several victories. Armagh have won their three qualifier games over Fermanagh, Westmeath and Tipperary by an average of 5.3 points, while Monaghan had an average of 11.5 points to spare over Wexford and Carlow.

The Dublin team celebrate in front of Hill 16 Source: Oisin Keniry/INPHO

5. Tyrone and Dublin await in the quarter-finals

The might of Tyrone and Dublin await in the All-Ireland quarter-finals for the winners of these games. Teams who’ve met in a provincial final cannot be drawn together in the last eight, meaning the following pairings are possible:

If Kildare beat Armagh and Down beat Monaghan….

  • Tyrone v Kildare, Dublin v Down

If Kildare beat Armagh and Monaghan beat Down…

  • Tyrone v Kildare, Dublin v Monaghan

If Armagh beat Kildare and Down beat Monaghan….

  • Tyrone v Armagh, Dublin v Down

If Armagh beat Kildare and Monaghan beat Down…

  • Draw: Tyrone and Dublin in Bowl A, Armagh and Monaghan in Bowl B

Source: The42 GAA/SoundCloud

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