Cats get last-four spot
KILKENNY hurlers will look in on tonight's draws for the 2012 senior provincial championships safe in the knowledge that they are booked in for a place in the Leinster semi-final.
Despite having nine contenders for the Bob O'Keeffe Cup, the Leinster Council have again granted Brian Cody's men a place in the last four.
No other county competing for either the Liam MacCarthy or Sam Maguire Cups qualify automatically for the provincial semi-finals. Some will get through directly to the last four in Munster and Connacht, but only through the luck of the draw.
Kilkenny's automatic qualification for the Leinster SH semi-final means that there will be two preliminary-round games and three quarter-finals.
Antrim, Carlow, Laois and Westmeath will play off against each other (open draw) with the two winners joining Dublin, Galway, Offaly and Wexford to provide three quarter-final pairings. The winners will join Kilkenny in the semi-final.
In football, Leinster will continue to seed their four semi-finalists through to the quarter-finals. Dublin, Kildare, Carlow and Wexford won't be in the first-round draw, which will be comprised of Westmeath, Louth, Meath, Laois, Wicklow, Longford and Offaly. They will be drawn in three pairings with the odd one out qualifying directly for the quarter-finals.
In Connacht football, Sligo will travel to New York and Leitrim to London. One from Galway, Mayo or Roscommon will get a bye to the semi-finals.
Ulster football operates a straight open draw, featuring one preliminary round which will clear the way for four quarter-finals and the straight open draw will also apply in Munster football and hurling.
Draws will be shown live on RTE 2 , 8.0