Saturday 24 February 2018

Dublin road trip on the cards after draw puts Wicklow and Laois in their path

Kieran Donaghy
Kieran Donaghy
Bernard Brogan lifts the Sam Maguire Cup after the All-Ireland
Colm Keys

Colm Keys

The prospect of Dublin playing a championship match outside Croke Park for the first time in 10 years moved closer last night when the All-Ireland champions were drawn to face the winners of Laois and Wicklow in a Leinster quarter-final.

There have been indications from Leinster Council in recent weeks that if Dublin were drawn to play teams in the southern half of the province a game in Nowlan Park, where there is a 20,000-plus capacity and adequate seating, would be explored.

Laois are one of the counties that could possibly be the right fit for a Nowlan Park fixture.

Dublin have consistently said they are more than willing to play 'down the country' but Leinster counties have been reluctant to take them out of Croke Park because of the revenues that can be generated from games there. But the mood for change may be hardening.

Kildare, under new manager Cian O'Neill, have avoided Dublin for the first time since 2012 and will have Wexford and then one of Longford, Offaly or Westmeath to negotiate to reach their first provincial final in seven years.

In Munster, Cork - who look set to announce former selector Peadar Healy as their manager in the coming days - have managed to avoid Kerry, their conquerors in the province for the last three years, and can only meet in a Munster final.

Outgoing Kerry captain Kieran Donaghy has indicated this week that he is contemplating retirement. "I do not want to put a time frame on my decision on whether to give it one more year with Kerry. Like anything there are so many factors and I want to make the right decision and not to regret it in the future."

Donegal and Monaghan can't meet in a fourth successive Ulster football final after they came out in the same side of the draw.

Donegal will be relatively pleased to be meeting the winners of Antrim and Fermanagh before a potential clash with Monaghan who have Down in their opening round.

Once again, Down have missed out on a home draw. Their last Ulster Championship game in Newry was a replay in 2008 but they haven't had the 'luck' of a home draw since 2005 and even then they had to switch that to Casement Park.

Arch rivals Tyrone and Derry, who won't have met in the province for seven years, are pitted against each other with the winners meeting Cavan and Armagh, who had a fractious battle when they met in 2014.

New Roscommon joint-managers Kevin McStay and Fergie O'Donnell can reach a Connacht final without having to play either Mayo or Galway.

Roscommon begin their campaign in New York next May and, provided they win there, will then play Leitrim with the winners against Sligo who have again been given a bye into a Connacht semi-final.

Galway and Mayo will meet in the other semi-final, if and when Mayo succeed in London.

In hurling, Cork and Tipperary will meet in a Munster Championship tie for the first time in six years. The last time they met in the province, in 2010, Cork won but Tipp went on to win an All-Ireland title. They've been drawn in a preliminary quarter-final and the winners will meet Limerick with Clare and Waterford on the other side of the draw.

As Galway moved yesterday to appoint a mediator to find a resolution to the current impasse between Anthony Cunningham's management and players, they were handed a relatively favourable draw in Leinster, avoiding All-Ireland champions Kilkenny, Dublin and Wexford who are all on the other side of the draw.

The Tribesmen will play the winners of the four-team round-robin preliminary competition which contains Kerry for the first time with Laois drawn against the round-robin losers.

Here are the details of the provincial draws for the 2016 All-Ireland Hurling and Football Championships:



First Round

Laois v Wicklow

Louth v Carlow

Longford v Offaly



Laois/Wicklow v Dublin

Louth/Carlow v Meath


Winners to meet in semi-final(A)



Longford/Offaly v Westmeath

Wexford v Kildare


Winners to meet in semi-final(A)



Premliminary Round

Fermanagh v Antrim


Quarter-finals (A)

Derry v Tyrone

Cavan v Armagh


Winners to face in semi-final(A)



Monaghan v Down

Donegal v Fermanagh/Antrim


Winners to play in semi-final(B)



Preliminary Round

Roscommon v New York


Quarter-final (A)

Roscommon/New York v Leitrim



Mayo v London


Semi-final (A)

Roscommon or New York/ Leitrim v Sligo


Semi-final (B)

Mayo/London v Galway




Tipperary v Waterford

Clare v Limerick



Clare/Limerick v Kerry

Tipperary/Waterford v Cork



Qualifier Group

Offaly, Westmeath, Carlow, Kerry



Dublin v Wexford (A)

Group winner v Galway(B)

Group runners-up v Laois (C)



Dublin/Wexford v Kilkenny

Galway/Group winners v Laois/Group runners-up




Cork v Tipperary



Waterford v Clare

Limerick v Cork/Tipperary

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