Tough qualifier for Armagh

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ARMAGH have been handed one of the most difficult draws in this season’s All-Ireland qualifiers.

They will travel to Dr Hyde Park in Roscommon on Saturday, June 30.

Having been beaten earlier this month by Tyrone in the Ulster Championship, the qualifier route was always going to be difficult for Paddy O’Rourke’s side.

Roscommon have been progressing well at underage level recently with an All-Ireland minor title to their credit back in 2008.

Before Armagh’s glorious campaign back in 2002 the county, in their only other two appearances in All-Ireland finals in 1953 and 1977, overcame Roscommon at the semi-final stage, but lost to the Westerners in the 1980 semi-final.

More recently Armagh beat Limerick in Dr Hyde Park in 2003 when they were forced through the qualifier route having been dumped out or the Ulster series by Monaghan in the first round as All-Ireland champions

But in 2005 another visit to the Roscommon venue ended in disappointment when, after torrential rain, the scheduled league semi-final against Mayo was called off at the last minute due to a waterlogged pitch.

Armagh, however, won the re-fixture which was played at Croke Park before going on to easily account for Wexford in the final.

The recent inclement weather will no doubt remind Armagh supporters of their last two visits to Dr Hyde Park and they will be hoping for better conditions on June 30.

In the intervening weeks before the Roscommon game, county players will miss club games and the Armagh management will be hoping that injuries sustained by Finnian Moriarty, Aaron Kernan and Aidan Forker, picked up against Tyrone, will have eased before the Roscommon game.