All-Ireland SFC draw: Tough task for both Ulster finalists and Derry

Derry manager Micky Harte
Derry manager Mickey Harte after the Allianz GAA Football League Division One final win over Dublin. Picture: Mark Marlow (" ")

BOTH Ulster finalists and Derry are facing a tough round-robin series following this afternoon’s All-Ireland SFC draw.

Whoever is beaten in Clones next Sunday will open their group stage campaign against Westmeath but will then travel to Derry before facing the Connacht champions – Galway or Mayo – in a neutral venue in their final game.

The winners of next weekend’s decider between Armagh and Donegal will go into a group containing Tyrone, Cork and the losers of the Munster final between Kerry and Clare.

Jim McGuinness’s side are guaranteed to face either Derry or Tyrone again having already beaten both of them in the provincial series.

They’ll either be hosting Tyrone in Ballybofey first or travelling to Celtic Park for the third time already this year.

National League champions Derry have been landed in a really difficult group.

Their first game will be away to the new Connacht champions before hosting the beaten Ulster finalists.

As much as Westmeath almost caused shocks in last year’s group stage, losing by a point to Armagh and coming within a whisker of knocking Tyrone out in the final game, Derry manager Mickey Harte will perhaps be glad that the fourth seed in his side’s group wasn’t Cork.

They’re instead in with his native county, Tyrone, who will also face the Ulster champions and the beaten Munster finalists.

Cavan won’t be all too disappointed with a draw that gives them a potential plum home tie against Dublin as well as a clash with Roscommon that they’ll eye up with relish.

Vinny Corey will be happy enough too. Monaghan’s opening game will be away to the Munster champions on the weekend of May 18/19. They’ll also face the beaten Leinster finalists and a Meath side coming up as Tailteann Cup winners.

In the Tailteann Cup, Antrim drew the shortest straw of the Ulster contingent. Andy McEntee’s side will face a Sligo team that came within a whisker of stunning Galway in the Connacht semi-final and a Wexford side on an upward trajectory, as well as struggling Tipperary.

Down will face Offaly, Limerick and London in group four, with Fermanagh in alongside Laois, Carlow and Oisin McConville’s Wicklow in group three.

In both competitions, the top team in each group goes into the quarter-final, with the second and third placed finishers playing off in preliminary quarter-finals.

All-Ireland SFC round-robin draw
Group One: Galway/Mayo winners, Donegal/Armagh losers, Derry, Westmeath
Group Two: Dublin/Louth winners, Galway/Mayo losers, Roscommon, Cavan
Group Three: Donegal/Armagh winners, Clare/Kerry losers, Tyrone, Cork
Group Four: Kerry/Clare winners, Dublin/Louth losers, Monaghan, Meath
Tailteann Cup draw
Group One: Kildare, Leitrim, Longford, Waterford
Group Two: Sligo, Antrim, Wexford, Tipperary
Group Three: Fermanagh, Laois, Wicklow, Carlow
Group Four: Down, Offaly, Limerick, London


May 18-19 (first team named at home)

Group A: Galway/Mayo winners v Derry

Group B: Galway/Mayo losers v Cavan

Group C: Clare/Kerry losers v Cork

Group D: Kerry/Clare winners v Monaghan

May 25-26 (first team named at home)

Group A: Donegal/Armagh losers v Westmeath

Group B: Dublin/Louth winners v Roscommon

Group C: Donegal/Armagh winners v Tyrone

Group D: Dublin/Louth losers v Meath

June 1-2 (first team named at home)

Group A: Derry v Donegal/Armagh losers; Westmeath v Galway/Mayo winners

Group B: Roscommon v Galway/Mayo losers; Cavan v Dublin/Louth winners

Group C: Tyrone v Kerry/Clare losers; Cork v Donegal/Armagh winners

Group D: Monaghan v Dublin/Louth losers; Meath v Kerry/Clare winners

June 15-16 (neutral venues)

Group A: Galway/Mayo winners v Donegal/Armagh losers; Derry v Westmeath

Group B: Dublin/Louth winners v Galway/Mayo losers; Roscommon v Cavan

Group C: Donegal/Armagh winners v Clare/Kerry losers; Tyrone v Cork

Group D: Kerry/Clare winners v Dublin/Louth losers; Monaghan v Meath