Short straw for Horan's Mayo as they draw Galway in 2013 opener
THERE were contrasting fortunes for this year's beaten All-Ireland finalists last night as Mayo's footballers and Galway's hurlers got very different draws for the 2013 championship.
Next season's Connacht football and Leinster hurling championship draws look decidedly lopsided, with James Horan's men opening their provincial defence with a difficult clash against Galway, with Roscommon lying in wait in the semi-final. Sligo can return to the final with wins over London and the victors from Leitrim's visit to New York.
The Galway hurlers' reward for winning their first Leinster title this year is a bye into next year's semi-final where they will face any one from Antrim, Westmeath, Carlow, London or Laois.
All-Ireland champions Kilkenny will go into the tougher side of the draw as they look to reclaim their provincial title, with Brian Cody's men taking on Offaly in a quarter-final with the winner facing a semi-final against Dublin or Wexford.
Munster Council chiefs can breathe a sigh of relief after Cork and Kerry were kept apart on opposite sides of the ladder.
The Rebels will open their title defence against Limerick, with this year's beaten finalists Clare waiting in the semi-finals. Eamonn Fitzmaurice's Kingdom will take on Tipperary in the quarter-finals with a clash against Waterford awaiting the winners.
There could also be a traditionalists' dream final in Munster hurling after Cork and Tipp were kept apart.
All-Ireland champions Donegal have avoided a return to the preliminary round for the third year in succession in next season's Ulster Championship. But Jim McGuinness' team will still have to retain their title the hard way after being paired with Tyrone in the quarter-finals.
Dublin and Meath could meet again in the Leinster SFC final after they were kept apart. New manager Jim Gavin's side will take on Westmeath or Carlow in the quarter-finals and could face a mouth-watering semi-final against Kildare if Kieran McGeeney's men can overcome Offaly.