Tipp and Kilkenny eye each other from an unusual position
Who would have thought a month ago that Kilkenny and Tipperary would be eyeing each other across county borders, wondering if they were on course for a July 1 clash?
It's the day before the Leinster final and eight days before the Munster decider, targets that last year's All-Ireland finalists assumed they would hit.
Instead, they await the qualifier draw with a degree of trepidation in case it matches them in a season-defining shoot-out.
Even if they are drawn apart in the first round and win their way to the next stage, they could be paired in a clash to decide who reaches the quarter-finals.
If Kilkenny avoid Tipperary in the first round, they could still face serious Munster opposition in Limerick or the losers of Cork v Waterford. The winners of Laois v Carlow will be on the same side of the draw as the Munster trio, with Kilkenny, Dublin, Westmeath and Galway/Offaly on the other side.
Tipperary won the 2010 All-Ireland title via the qualifier route but Kilkenny failed in similar attempts in 2004 and 2013.
It all feeds into making this one of the most interesting campaigns for quite some time.