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The Always Ridiculously Early GAA Championships Draws Have Been Made

The Always Ridiculously Early GAA Championships Draws Have Been Made
Michael McCarthy
By Michael McCarthy
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It's that time of year again. We're just 6 or 7 short months away from the start of the 2018 All-Ireland Football and Hurling Championships. The anticipation is already rising, and now we finally have some actual games to look forward to.

Belatedly, the GAA finally made the draws for next year's provincial championships, giving inter-county managers a measly six months to prepare for their first round encounters.

RTE provided the usual bells and whistles for such a massive sporting event. Charismatic provincial council chairmen and current inter-county players and managers could hardly contain their joy, enthusiasm, and no little divilment, as they drew out the teams for next year's games. Chaos ensued as each of the characters tried out outdo each other in the craic department.

Joanne Cantwell ably managed the presenting duties in the surprising absence of Michael Lyster, while Marty Morrissey conducted the actual draws. Marty as usual did a solid job, despite completely forgetting the Laois manager's name.



Pat Spillane and Ciaran Whelan made the most of their time too, with Pat advocating a three-tier championship, while throwing in a cliche or two.

Here's how the football provincial draws went:

Munster Football Championship Draw: 

Cork and Kerry, as last year's finalists, were given byes to the semi finals in Munster, thus keeping apart the two big guns until the provincial decider.


Clare or Limerick will play for the right to face Kerry in the semi final, while Cork will await the winners of Tipperary and Waterford.

Connacht Football Championship:

Mayo and Galway will meet again in 2018, and in the first of the Connacht Championship no less.

Despite Mayo's ongoing odyssey in the All-Ireland Championship, Galway have beaten them for the last two years, so you would imagine Mayo will be eager not to get caught again.


Connacht champions Roscommon will be delighted with the draw, needing to only beat Leitrim or New York to get into another final.

Enda Smith was the one drafted in to make the draw, and did his county a big favour, "no disrespect to Leitrim".

Ulster Football Championship: 

It certainly wasn't competitive last year with Tyrone waltzing to an Ulster title, but this year's draw certainly looks very balanced.


Donegal and Cavan is a very decent start in the preliminary round with the winners meeting Derry. Down will be delighted with a home draw against Antrim in the other quarter final on that side of the draw.

The bottom half of the draw looks enticing with Armagh meeting Fermanagh, and the winners playing the winners of Tyrone and Monaghan, the two best teams in the province over recent years.


Leinster Football Championship:

The one that might not even matter.  Dublin are going for 8 in a row, and it's unlikely anyone will stop them no matter what the draw is.

Last years semi finalists Dublin, Kildare, Meath and Westmeath got a bye into the quarter finals here.

Offaly and Wicklow drew the short straw this year, and will be the provide the ceremonial lambs for the slaughter to kickstart next summer's annual conversation about the dreaded "two-tier championship".

Kildare will expect to reach a Leinster final with this draw, while there's a Dublin/Meath semi final most likely awaiting us on the other side of the draw.



The 2018 Hurling Championship will be a complete departure from the traditional format, with Munster and Leinster Championships becoming basically a group stage for the All-Ireland Championship .

Following the changes made by Special Congress last month, only 10 teams will compete for the Liam MacCarthy Cup next year. A home and away round robin format is set to take place in both Munster and Leinster,

The draw for the fixtures in both provinces were made earlier on today, but weren't revealed until RTE's broadcast tonight.

Cyril Farrell and Liam Sheedy provided the analysis with Joanne, and both were happy with the new format, unworried about the fact that many of the counties involved didn't vote for it.

Munster Hurling Championship Fixtures:


Leinster Hurling Championship Fixtures:

Pat Gilroy's first championship game as Dublin manager will be against Brian Cody and Kilkenny. What a start!

In Munster, Cyril was particularly looking forward to the Clare Limerick game in Ennis in the final round, even if they are "inter-married".


So that's that. Just another 6 months to wait now.



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