AFTER four successive home ties over the last two years, Ireland's Davis Cup team must hit the road for their opening contest in next year's competition.
Yesterday's draw paired unseeded Ireland against No 4 seeds Hungary, with the Magyars having home advantage in the February 10-12 contest.
Ireland have to travel because the last tie between the two countries -- in April 2004 -- was staged in Dublin, with Hungary winning 4-1.
It is a reasonable draw for Garry Cahill's charges, given that they could instead be facing a clash against one of the three higher seeds -- Ukraine, Poland or Bosnia/Herzegovina -- in the 16-country Group Two of the Europe-Africa Zone.
With eight countries seeded, Ireland just missed out by one place on figuring in the higher bracket, being positioned at No 58 in the Davis Cup rankings which are based on nations' performances over a four-year period, with eighth-seeded Estonia at No 57.
As a result, the Irish, who had been seeded for this year's competition, were going to be paired against a seeded opponent for the 2012 event.
The top two Hungarian players, Adam Kellner and Attila Balazs, are ranked 229 and 270 in the world respectively.
Their Irish counterparts, Conor Niland and James McGee, are respectively at 206 and 389, with Louk Sorensen, who had a career-high mark of 213 in February 2010, working his way up the ladder after he slumped to 618 due to a number of injury lay-offs.
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