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Who Are The Winners And Losers In The 2016 GAA Draw?

Who Are The Winners And Losers In The 2016 GAA Draw?
By Sinead Farrell
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The last of the confetti from the GAA Championship hasn't even broken apart yet and already we're looking to next year. And maybe that's what we should do because without sugar coating anything, the 2015 season was a categorical bore fest, so maybe we're better off erasing it from our memories.

But let's not kid ourselves, when the Sunday Game promotional video starts circulating in 2016, our interest will revive and we will look forward to the championship again, all while praying to a higher power that it will be worth watching.

Obviously with the opening rounds some seven months away, this is all conjecture. But the draw was made last night and naturally, we all honed in on our own counties and paved the theoretical path that might unfold if things go our way.

So here are the winners and losers of that draw.

Football - Winners

In Leinster, it's hard to look beyond Dublin for the 2016 recipient of the crown and it's equally difficult to feel enthused about the chances for the other counties in group A. But in group B, the possibilities of success are decidedly higher.

Westmeath

Last year's provincial finalists should draw confidence from the structure of the 2016 Leinster championship fixtures. They are guaranteed to avoid Dublin until the final, and it will just two games to get that far. Their path to the final is further bolstered by the fact that they won't have to worry about producing miracles against Meath again who are in Group A.

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Longford

In a repeat of last year, Longford and Offaly play out a Leinster opener in 2016. Jack Sheedy's (who has now stepped down) side executed a formidable seven point turnaround that day to win by three. They were unfortunate to meet Dublin in the next round where their momentum was obliterated, but should they negotiate a way past the Faithful county, an intriguing border derby with Westmeath awaits.

Kildare

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The Lillywhites were similarly victimised by Dublin's wrath this year but they were a revelation against Cork in the qualifiers when they produced a stunning eight point victory in Thurles. Kildare are blessed with some budding talents such as Niall Kelly who will be expected to flourish once again for Cian O'Neill's side who are the most likely candidate to meet Dublin in the provincial decider.

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Tyrone

Monaghan and Donegal should proceed from Group B to the semi-finals while in Group A, the situation is a little bit more open. Armagh have yet to rediscover that All-Ireland winning form of the early 2000's while Cavan are still struggling to consolidate their successes at underage level with the talent among the senior ranks. Granted, Tyrone's form has plateaued since their All-Ireland winning years but remember they did make it to an All-Ireland semi-final this year, and their more senior players have still got championship pace in the legs.

Roscommon

A shock defeat to Sligo in Connaught, an equally unexpected loss against Fermanagh and the departure of their manager John Egan a year after his ratification, made 2015 a season to forget for the Rossies. But with Galway and Mayo safely situated in the opposing group, Roscommon should dismiss Leitrim and Sligo to secure a place in the final.

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Football - Losers

Without meaning to sound pessimistic, all the counties pitted alongside Dublin in Group A will most likely be making quick exists from the provincial championship. Likewise in Connaught, London has the unenviable task of trying to plot the demise of Galway which, should they succeed, will be followed by an even bigger challenge in trying to beat Mayo.

Hurling - Winners

It's difficult to identify any victors from the hurling draw. Munster is normally the most difficult for predicting an eventual champion and even though last year's competition was low on entertainment value, it is still worth throwing a glance at. Nobody wants to play anyone in that tournament. Meanwhile in Leinster, Galway have the best chance of challenging Kilkenny in the final. But keep in mind that the residual damage of the ongoing player revolt, might implicate their form next year. They also have to deal with the winners of the qualifier group before concerning themselves with any semi-final.

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Offaly

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dt8pJ3M_tWE

I googled 'Offaly use to be a great hurling team' and the search harvested news about the launch of Offaly's new centre of excellence. The purpose of this facility is to give male and female teams in Offaly the best possible chance of returning to top flight hurling. It's a good distance from those heady days of the 90's when the Dooley's, the John Troys and the Brian Whelehans of this world were part of a much revered Offaly side.

And in 2016, their ongoing demise brings them into the qualifier group along with Carlow, Kerry and Westmeath.

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So while these are what we believe to be the provisional winners and losers, anything can happen when it comes to the championship.

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