"Teams drawn in the preliminary round would have preferred if they hadn't been."

April 17, 2018

Armagh manager Joe Kernan lifts the Sam Maguire Cup after his side's All-Ireland SFC final victory over Kerry in 2002.
©INPHO/Morgan Treacy.

Joe Kernan welcomes Ulster Council's move to minimise the potential impact of the Ulster SFC preliminary round.

As of 2020, a team that features in the dreaded preliminary round will be exempted from it for the next two seasons, which should lead to a more even distribution of pre-quarter-final games for all counties.

Only four teams have ever won the Ulster championship via the arduous four-game route and Kernan was in charge of one of those: Armagh in 2005:

"A lot depended on how you finished the national league and what injuries you were carrying into the championship. It also meant that you had to start early, which if you won and played well, gave you great early momentum," he told The Irish Times.

"But Ulster is very competitive and sometimes you could find that playing an extra match could prove a hindrance later on in the year.

"When you have the extra match or maybe a draw thrown in, and you don't win it out you could look back at everything and wonder did we peak too soon? I know that if teams lose they look for reasons why but most teams who were drawn in the preliminary round would have preferred if they hadn't been."



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