GAA Football

Owenbeg to reopen for Derry's clash with Kildare

Owenbeg will be the venue for the round one Qualifier between Derry and Kildare next weekend

OWENBEG will host the Derry football team for the first time in almost 18 months when it reopens for next Saturday’s round one qualifier visit of Kildare.

The ground was forced to close after last year’s Derry SFC semi-finals in early September for remedial work on the playing surface, which meant Derry had to again play all of their home National League fixtures all at Celtic Park.

That contributed to poor attendances, with just 446 attending the game against Wexford and 570 at their rearranged clash with Offaly.

9,356 spectators attended the county’s Ulster SFC defeat to Donegal at the weekend, but the vast majority came from the visiting neighbouring county.

The meeting with Kildare, who are coming off the back of 12 consecutive defeats and a humbling Leinster exit at the hands of Carlow, will throw in at 3pm next Saturday, June 9.

It will be the Oak Leaf county team's first league or championship game at the venue since the July 2016 qualifier win over Meath, and their last game of any description at Owenbeg was a McKenna Cup win over Queen's in January 2017.

Seven of the eight first round qualifiers will take place that day, with the following afternoon’s Ruislip meeting of London and Louth the only exception.

Armagh’s return to Mullingar, where they won a gripping tie last summer, throws in at 7pm, with Antrim (who travel to Offaly) and Cavan (who are in Wicklow) both starting at 6pm, as does Limerick’s clash with a wounded Mayo.

There is no throw-in time yet confirmed for Tyrone’s trip to Meath, but it will take place on June 9.

*******

Round One qualifiers
Saturday, June 9
Meath v Tyrone, Navan, TBC
Wexford v Waterford, Wexford, 2pm
Derry v Kildare, Owenbeg, 3pm
Wicklow v Cavan, Aughrim, 6pm
Offaly v Antrim, Tullamore, 6pm
Limerick v Mayo, Limerick, 6pm
Westmeath v Armagh, Mullingar, 7pm

Sunday, June 10
London v Louth, Ruislip, 2pm

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