The draws for both the provincial football and hurling championships for 2017 were made last night (Thursday) with both Tipperary sides coming out of the hat with similarities to last year’s championship draw.
In hurling, the reigning All-Ireland champions Tipperary, will once again have a long road to travel if they are to complete a three-in-a-row in the province, having drawn Cork in a quarter-final. The winners of this tie will go on to meet Waterford.
On the other side of the hat, Shannonside neighbours, Limerick and Clare, both under new sets of management for next year, will meet in the other semi-final. Clare now under the stewardship of join managers Donal Moloney and Gerry O’Connor who replaced Davy Fitzgerald will come up against Abbey CBS principal John Kiely who is now at the helm in Limerick.
Last year in Munster Tipperary had to overcome Cork, Limerick and Waterford in order to retain their provincial crown before going on to defeat Galway and Kilkenny for the All-Ireland title. If they are to repeat that feat in 2017, and win back-to-back All-Irelands for the first time since 1949, they will have to win at least five games once again.
In Leinster hurling, Kilkenny go straight to a semi-final and await the winners of a Wexford v Qualifier clash. While on the other side of the draw Galway play Dublin in a quarter-final, while in the other quarter-final Offaly will play a team from the Qualifier Group. (The four teams in the Leinster Qualifier Group this year are Laois, Westmeath, Meath and Kerry).
In football also their are similarities to the 2017 draw for Tipperary as compared with the championship year just concluded.
Because they reached last year’s Munster final, Tipperary go straight to a Munster semi-final where they will await the winners of the clash between Waterford and Cork, whereas in the season just gone Tipperary defeated Waterford to earn a semi-final clash with Cork.
Tipperary were hoping to avoid both Kerry and Cork in a semi-final and perhaps get the so-called “easier” route to the final. Now, however, Tipperary manager John Kearns’ can plan ahead with almost certainty that his charges will once again face “The Rebels” in a Munster semi-final next summer. Having beaten Cork this year for the first time since 1944, there is no doubt that Cork will relish a chance to avenge that defeat in next year’s Munster semi-final.
In the other Munster football semi-final champions Kerry, now bidding for five-in-a-row of provincial titles, will await the winners of the Limerick v Clare game.
Cork v Tipperary
Limerick v Clare
Waterford v Cork/Tipperary
Laois, Westmeath, Meath, Kerry
Galway v Dublin (A)
Offaly v Qualifier 1 (B)
Wexford v Qualifier 2 (C)
Kilkenny v Wexford/Qualifier winner or runner-up
Galway/Dublin v Offaly/Qualifer winner or runner-up
Cork v Waterford
Clare v Limerick
Kerry v Limerick/Clare
Tipperary v Cork/Waterford
Louth v Wicklow
Laois v Longford
Carlow v Wexford
Louth/Wicklow v Meath
Laois/Longford v Kildare
Winners to meet in semi-final(A)
Carlow/Wexford v Dublin
Offaly v Westmeath
Winners to meet in semi-final (A)
Monaghan v Fermanagh
Derry v Tyrone
Donegal v Antrim
Winners to face in semi-final (A)
Down v Armagh
Cavan v Fermanagh/Monaghan
Winners to play in semi-final (B)
Sligo v New York
Mayo v Sligo/New York
Leitrim v London
Galway v Sligo/New York or Mayo
Leitrim/London v Roscommon