Counties that play in the preliminary round of the Ulster SFC from 2020 will be exempt from playing in the same round for two years.

That means that just five counties will be included in the preliminary round draw for the 2022 Championship and from there on.

“For many years the draw for the Ulster Championship has been conducted on the basis that all nine counties entered the bowl at the outset and the first two teams drawn played in the preliminary round,” said Ulster secretary Brian McAvoy

“There was a time when the draw worked on a two-year cycle and there were indeed occasions when a county had to play in the Preliminary Round for four consecutive years.

“Ulster [is] the only province that operated a ‘straight’ draw and that each of the other provinces had some ‘conditions’ attached.

“This in itself was not a valid reason for change but a close study showed how the Championship draw ‘favoured’ some counties over others when it came to preliminary round appearances. 

“Cavan, for example, have played in the preliminary round on seven occasions since the millennium, while Derry have been drawn to play in it on just two occasions.

“While some may validly argue that this is just the luck of the draw, the statistics paint a picture which shows that teams which contest the preliminary tound have a very poor record when it comes to actually winning the Ulster title.

“On only four occasions has a team that played in the [game] gone on to win the Ulster title; Cavan in 1945, Armagh in 2005 and Donegal in 2011 and 2012.”



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