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There’s home comforts for last year’s travellers

Counties that were drawn away in the first round of last year's All-Ireland football qualifiers can look forward to a home game this year - unless they are paired with another county who also had to travel in 2009.

In that case, a toss will decide who enjoys home advantage. The system designed to ensure that counties don't have to rely on luck all the time to give them a home game. The draw for the first-round qualifiers — scheduled for Saturday, June 26 — will be held on Sunday evening.

The counties who played away in the first round last year were: Tipperary, Waterford, Armagh, Fermanagh, Offaly, Carlow, Longford and London.

Waterford, who reached the Munster semi-final, won't be in the first-round draw this year, while Fermanagh will avoid it if they beat Cavan in the Ulster quarter-final on Saturday.

Down, Louth, Meath, Monaghan, Wicklow, Wexford, Donegal and Leitrim all had home games last year.

At least three of last year's All-Ireland quarter-finalists — and possibly five — will be in the first-round draw. Mayo, Donegal and Kildare are all facing the longest possible haul, and Dublin and Meath will join them if they lose to Wexford and Laois respectively this weekend.

Armagh and Derry, two other high-profile counties in Sunday's draw, have previous experience of the long haul. Armagh negotiated all four qualifier rounds en route to the All-Ireland final in 2003, but last year lost a first-round clash to Monaghan.

In 2004, Derry won four qualifier games, plus the All-Ireland quarter-final. They also did well in the 2007 qualifiers, winning three rounds to reach the last eight.

Teams in Sunday's qualifiers draw:

Carlow, Offaly, Longford, Kildare, Wicklow, Derry, Antrim, Donegal, Armagh, Tipperary, Clare, London, Mayo.

Those 13 will be joined by the losers from Cavan v Fermanagh, Laois v Meath, Dublin v Wexford.

Belfast Telegraph