Mayo draw Galway to get early revenge shot
Mayo will have a quick opportunity to atone for their Connacht semi-final defeat to Galway last June after the west's most storied rivals were landed on the same side of the provincial draw once again last night.
Galway have beaten Mayo in successive Connacht semi-finals but this time they meet in a quarter-final which could be played as early as May 13 as a new master fixtures calendar is being rolled out with that starting date in mind for many of the provincial championships.
The Connacht draw has once again been kind to current champions Roscommon who avoided the traditional 'big two' by again advancing straight to the semi-final where they will meet the winners of New York and Leitrim's quarter-final. This was the route that propelled them into a Connacht final where they beat Galway last July.
The plum draw in Ulster will see champions Tyrone host Monaghan in Omagh's Healy Park in a quarter-final with the winners facing either Fermanagh or Armagh.
Speaking at last night's draw in RTE, former Tyrone player Seán Cavanagh pointed out that his old team had a better record away from home and acknowledged that Ulster had lost some of its edge in recent years.
Meanwhile, Cavanagh's ex-manager at Tyrone, Mickey Harte, has labelled as 'fake news', the claims that his assistant manager Gavin Devlin has left the Red Hands set-up. "The only comment you can make is that there is, the topical term, 'fake news,' doing the rounds," said Harte.
Pressed whether Devlin will be there in 2018, Harte answered: "Absolutely. Absolutely. There was never any question or doubts."
After missing out on a home Ulster Championship draw for many years until this year, Down will again be in Newry where they will meet Antrim.
In Leinster, Kildare have avoided Dublin in the early stages of the championship and are on course to meet again in a final. Turlough O'Brien's Carlow, who put it up to Dublin for so long in their Leinster quarter-final in June, have drawn Louth in their preliminary Leinster quarter-final with the winners meeting Kildare.
Cork and Kerry also avoided each other in Munster but Cork are likely to be meeting Tipperary provided Liam Kearns' side overcome Waterford.
All-Ireland champions Dublin will be away to the winners of Offaly or Wicklow in Leinster with a semi-final date against Longford and Meath next in line.
The rota for the round robin provincial hurling matches was established in Croke Park earlier in the day with Cork being given a bye in the first round in Munster, possibly on the weekend of May 19/20. Clare and Limerick will renew their rivalry in the opening round with Tipperary hosting Waterford.
In Leinster, Pat Gilroy's first championship match in charge of the Dublin hurlers will be at home to Kilkenny.
Wexford will have All-Ireland champions Galway in Wexford Park in round four while Galway will have home Leinster championship matches against Kilkenny and Dublin for the first time since they joined the province in 2009.
Galway and Kilkenny will meet in Pearse Stadium in the third round.
2018 championship draw
Quarter-finals: Clare v Limerick, Tipperary v Waterford.
Semi-finals: Clare/Limerick v Kerry; Tipperary/Waterford v Cork.
Quarter-finals: Mayo v Galway, New York v Leitrim, London v Sligo.
Semi-finals: Mayo/Galway v London/Sligo, Roscommon v New York/Leitrim.
Preliminary quarter-final: Donegal v Cavan.
Quarter-finals: Donegal/Cavan v Derry, Fermanagh v Armagh, Tyrone v Monaghan, Down v Antrim.
Semi-finals: Donegal/Cavan/Derry v Down/Antrim, Tyrone/Monaghan v Fermanagh/Armagh.
Preliminary quarter-finals: Laois v Wexford, Louth v Carlow, Offaly v Wicklow
Quarter-finals: Laois/Wexford v Westmeath, Louth/Carlow v Kildare, Offaly/Wicklow v Dublin, Longford v Meath.
Semi-finals: Laois/Wexford/Westmeath v Louth/Carlow/Kildare, Offaly/Wicklow/Dublin v Longford/Meath.
Round One: Cork v Clare, Limerick v Tipperary
Round Two: Clare v Waterford, Tipperary v Cork.
Round Three: Waterford v Tipperary, Cork v Limerick.
Round Four: Limerick v Waterford, Tipperary v Clare.
Round Five: Clare v Limerick, Waterford v Cork.
Round One: Dublin v Kilkenny, Offaly v Galway.
Round Two: Kilkenny v Offaly, Wexford v Dublin.
Round Three: Offaly v Wexford, Galway v Kilkenny.
Round Four: Dublin v Offaly, Wexford v Galway.
Round Five: Kilkenny v Wexford, Galway v Dublin.