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Prenty pleased with Connacht draw


HAPPY DAYS John Prenty, who is a member of the Ballyhaunis management team, celebrates with his wife, Mary, after Sunday’s Mayo Intermediate club football championship semi-final win over Hollymount-Carramore in Claremorris. Pic: Michael Donnelly

Michael Gallagher

THE draw for next year’s Connacht senior football championship has been described as ‘hugely exciting’ by provincial secretary John Prenty.
The draw was made in RTÉ Radio’s studios in Dublin on Saturday evening and pitted Mayo against Roscommon in one quarter-final with the winner facing All Ireland finalists Galway in the semi-final. The other side of the draw features London, New York, Leitrim and Sligo. Leitrim will travel to play New York and Sligo will go to London with the winners meeting in the second semi-final in a Connacht venue.
Saturday evening’s championship draw guarantees one of these teams a place in the Connacht final and a ticket into the All-Ireland series.
This has caused some controversy nationally with former Tyrone football and current RTÉ pundit Seán Cavanagh describing the Connacht situation as “madness.” The Tyrone man was unhappy with what he saw as a lop-sided outcome, but John Prenty is having none of it.
“Seán Cavanagh is the man who supported a proposal a short time ago that might have ended up with just five Division 1 teams playing for Sam Maguire, so I don’t know what he’s talking about,” he told The Mayo News.
“This is a hugely exciting draw for us here in Connacht. It guarantees the players and spectators some big days on both sides of the draw before the final itself, which is always a huge day.
“The last time Mayo, Roscommon and Galway were on the one side of the draw, London got to the final and it generated great excitement. It was a marvellous occasion and it will be the same in 2023 no matter who makes it to the final.”
The new championship format means that all provincial finalists are guaranteed entry to the round-robin All-Ireland series, so one of either New York, London, Leitrim or Sligo will have three games at the height of summer against the top teams in the land. It also means that a county currently operating in Division 2 may not qualify for the All Ireland series.
“Sixteen teams will compete in four groups of four for Sam Maguire and the other 16 will go into the Tailteann Cup,” Prenty explained.
“Westmeath are already in the Sam Maguire competition because they won last year’s Tailtean Cup and they will be joined by the provincial winners. The next seven highest ranked teams in the league (not already qualified) will also qualify.
“There is almost no chance of a Division 1 team missing out, but that’s not guaranteed, so everyone will be looking to finish as high up in the league as they can,” Prenty added.


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