IN a rematch of the 2016 All-Ireland semi-final played at Croke Park, Mayo will face Tipperary - beaten in the Munster championship by Cork - on their home ground in Semple Stadium in round 2 of the championship qualifiers on Saturday week, June 23, with 4 p.m. the most likely throw-in time. Times and venues will be confirmed later this week.
Stephen Rochford's men definately drew one of the shorter straws in this morning's qualifying draw, which was live on Morning Ireland, and ironically it was Tom Parsons who pulled Mayo's name from the bowl.
“This is definately one of the tougher teams Mayo will face, especially down in Semple Stadium, as I don't think too many Mayo players would have played there,” said the Mayo midfielder, who thanked the Mayo people for their wonderful reception at the Gaelic Grounds in Limerick on Saturday where Mayo cantered past the home team to get into the draw for the next round.
“I was delighted with the reception I got from the supporters. It was magic.
“I was also delighted with their performance and if they can maintain the momentum then they will come through this round, but this is going to be very tough as we played Tipperary in the semi-final in 2016 and they were a good side then and I think there is a lot more to come from them,” he said.
Mayo defeated Tipperary by 2-13 to 0-14 in that semi-final, Jason Doherty and substitute Conor O'Shea getting the goals. Mayo went on to draw with Dublin in the final but lost the replay by a point - 1-15 to 1-4.
While there were a lot of encouraging signs from Mayo, who scored 5-19 against Limerick, they also conced three goals, two of them penalties, but the biggest cheer came for the appearance in the second half of Lee Keegan for his first competitive action since that shoulder injury against Tyrone in the league last March and I expect he will be named on the side to face Tipperary.
Tipperary, who played in Division 2 last season, are unlikely to give the Mayo forwards such freedom in their own back yard but this is still a tie which will see Mayo go in as odds-on favourites to advance further through the qualifiers.