Tuesday 16 January 2018

Explained - Why the provincial hurling draw is behind-closed-doors and how the Super 8s will work in 2018

The quest for Sam Maguire and Liam MacCarthy will involve a lot more games in 2018
The quest for Sam Maguire and Liam MacCarthy will involve a lot more games in 2018
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

The draws for the 2018 provincial hurling and football championships take place today but only one of the draws will be televised.

The draw newly-revamped hurling championship will be made this afternoon and revealed on RTE this evening, while the football draw will proceed live on air as in previous years.

The Leinster and Munster hurling championships will be played out as two five-team round-robin tournaments.

The draw will be made this afternoon in the presence of the four provincial chairs and members of the GAA’s Central Competitions Control Committee (CCCC).

The four rounds of fixtures in each province will be drawn and revealed on the live broadcast later tonight.

Each team will have two home and two away games in their province.

The exact dates of when these clashes will take place will be decided later but the majority will take place next May.

The top two teams in each group will progress to the provincial final with the winner of that going straight to the All-Ireland semi-finals and the loser taking their place in the quarter-finals.

The third place teams in each province will play two teams from the newly created tier two competition with the winners going forward to the All-Ireland quarter-finals.

If the tier two winners are from Leinster, they will be promoted to the Leinster championship in 2019 with the bottom team from the group relegated.

The draw for the football will take place with two fixtures already decided, Leitrim's trip to New York and Sligo's clash with London in the preliminary round of the Connacht championship.

Galway, Roscommon and Mayo will be drawn from the bowl with two facing Connacht quarter-finals and final team receiving a bye to the semi-finals.

In Leinster, Carlow, Laois, Longford, Louth, Offaly, Wexford and Wicklow are all in the first round draw with this years Leinster semi-finalists Dublin, Kildare, Westmeath and Meath in the quarter-finals.

The 2017 Munster finalists Kerry and Cork get a bye into their provincial semi-finals with Clare, Tipperary, Waterford and Limerick in the bowl for the Munster quarter-finals.

The Ulster championship will be an open draw with the first two teams out playing a preliminary round fixture and the rest into the quarter-finals.

The draw for the Super 8s and the qualifiers will take place as the championships progresses.

Unlike in previous years, the qualifiers will not be divided into 'A' and 'B' sections.

All teams that don’t make their provincial semi-finals will go into Round 1 and in Round 2 the winners will meet the beaten provincial semi-finalists. The Round 2 winners play off in Round 3 and Round 4 features the beaten provincial finalists.

There will be extra-time played in all qualifiers that are level after 70 minutes to avoid a fixture backlog.

If the game finishes level after two periods of 10 minutes and then two periods of five minutes if required, the fixture will be decided by a free-taking competition from the 45-metre line.

Each team must nominate a list of five players who featured in the game to take their free kicks in the contest. It doesn’t matter if they didn’t finish the game as long as they played at some stage, though anyone red carded or given a black card cannot take part.

If teams are level after five kicks each, the competition will continue in a sudden death with the same five players taking kicks in the same order as before.

Group 1 of the Super 8 will comprise the Munster and Connacht champions plus the beaten Leinster and Ulster finalists, or the team that beats them in the last round of qualifiers.

Group 2 will be made up of Leinster and Ulster champions along with Munster and Connacht runners-up or the qualifiers that beat them.

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