Ulster counties await fate ahead of Championship draws
THE anticipation will finally end for Ulster counties today when they discover their fate in this evening’s provincial Championship draw, which takes place during the Six One news on RTE.
Having come all the way from the preliminary round to win their first Ulster title since 1997 last November, Cavan are exempted from that stage this year. The same applies for their opponents that day, neighbours Monaghan, as well as both Derry and Tyrone, who met in the 2019 preliminary round.
The Ulster Council introduced a new rule two years ago that restructured the draw slightly so that any team drawn into the opener wouldn’t face the fate again for at least three years.
Ahead of today’s draw, the provincial body outlined that counties would be split into two pots, but that is only for the prelim, and once two from Antrim, Armagh, Donegal, Down and Fermanagh have been put into the first game, the other four counties will join the rest in a standard open draw.
The Leinster Senior Hurling Championship draw, which includes Antrim after their Joe McDonagh Cup triumph, will be made at around 8.30am on Morning Ireland.
Last year’s provincial finalists Kilkenny and Galway have semi-final byes and are separated at that stage. The quarter-final line-up comprises the Saffrons, Dublin, Laois, and Wexford.
The quarter-final losers go into a preliminary round qualifier, which also doubles up as a relegation play-off. The Leinster SFC draw is expected around 7.30am this morning.
In last night’s Connacht SFC draw, defending champions Mayo were paired with Sligo in the quarter-final.
The winner of that game will play Leitrim in the last four, while the other semi-final sees Roscommon take on Galway. London and New York are not taking part in this year's Championship.
Meanwhile, the Munster senior hurling and football Championship draws were made yesterday, with All-Ireland champions Limerick beginning their All-Ireland SHC title defence against Cork in the provincial semi-final.
Clare and Waterford face off in the quarter-final, with Tipperary awaiting the winner of that tie. Opening-round losers will get a second opportunity to progress through the qualifiers. Times, dates and venues are yet to be confirmed.
In the Munster football Championship, Tipperary will begin their title defence against Kerry or Clare. On the other side of the draw, Cork await the winners of Waterford and Limerick for a place in the decider.
Quarter-final: Mayo v Sligo
Semi-finals: Roscommon v Galway, Leitrim v Mayo/Sligo
Quarter-final: Clare v Waterford
Semi-finals: Limerick v Cork, Tipperary v Clare/Waterford
Quarter-finals: Clare v Kerry, Waterford v Limerick
Semi-finals: Tipperary v Clare/Kerry, Cork v Waterford/Limerick