Little to worry Ulster bosses after decider in Connacht
Theory and reality can often be poles apart in a sporting context but as things stand a projected meeting of the Ulster and Connacht champions in the All-Ireland senior football championship semi-final is still on the cards in late August.
This being the case, Ulster final bosses Mickey Harte and Rory Gallagher will now have a double helping of preparatory notes following yesterday's draw in the Connacht decider between Galway and Roscommon.
Enda Smith's first-half goal allied to some smart finishing from Ciaran Murtagh and Niall Daly sustained Roscommon's challenge as they laboriously totted up 1-10 while the livewire Danny Cummins, Shane Walsh and Gary Sice did more than most to ensure their side won the right to fight another day, their 0-13 tally compiled through diligent toil rather stylish flair.
The hope of the 24,000-plus fans who attended yesterday's hard slog at Pearse Stadium, Salthill, is that they will see better fare in the replay while Messers Harte and Gallagher are unlikely to suffer from sleeplessness following what unfolded.
Kieran McGeeney's former side Kildare lived dangerously before seeing off Offaly in the qualifiers by 1-22 to 2-14 and are now in the last 16 in the race to Sam.
And Laois, his nemesis for this year, met their Waterloo when five unanswered points from Clare in the final phase of an absorbing game unexpectedly took them to the same destination.
Five Ulster counties - Antrim, Armagh, Down, Monaghan and Fermanagh - are now out of the All-Ireland football championship.
In the qualifiers, Antrim lost to a Limerick side that has struggled badly this year and Armagh failed to make the most of not one but two outings against Laois. Down and Monaghan were both bushwhacked by Longford leaving Fermanagh as the only team to emerge with a ration of credit despite their heartbreaking farewell.