The poll that’s been running here on the site about how far we’re likely to go in this year’s championship has produced a clear result: 52% of you have said we’ll make it as far as the semis, with 16% going for each of the three remaining options of the quarters, the final and Heaven on Earth itself.
A crucial piece of information missing in attempting to predict this if, of course, who we’ll be facing in the quarter-finals and we’re going to have to kick our heels for a few days yet to get the answer to that one. Contrary to rumours, the draw isn’t going to be held in the Sportlann tonight; instead what’s happening there then is the formal launch of the All-Ireland Series (aka The Real Championship). The draw won’t be held until after the Round 4 qualifier matches have taken place this coming weekend and even then it appears that it’s not going to be done with any alacrity.
It could even be as late as next Monday before the pairings are finally made though in previous years the draw has tended to happen after the hurling quarter-finals have been played on the Sunday so maybe it’s then they’ll do it. What’s clear now is that we have a few more days to kick our heels before finding out who we’ll be lining out against at Croke Park over the Bank Holiday weekend.
If the bookies are correct, then the choice facing us in Pot B will be Down, Kerry, Kildare or Meath. If Sligo – despite their 7/2 odds with Paddy Power – send the Fourth Best Team in the Country packing then it’ll be one of Down, Kerry or Meath. We’ve never met the Mournemen in the championship but we have, of course, plenty of previous with the other two. Adding the Lillies back into consideration you have to go as far back as 1935 for our sole championship meeting. They beat us in that year’s semi-final: they must have been even better than fourth that year, I reckon.
If we disregard the odds on next weekend’s matches and widen the field out to everyone that’s still in it, we could then also face one of Clare, Laois or Tipperary. We’ve never met the Banner lads in the championship before and, as seeing as they’re facing those pumped-up Kerrymen this weekend, there’s little or no chance that this will change this year. Laois have, of course, a fond place in our hearts as it was the O’Moore County that we walloped in winning our first All-Ireland in 1936. We also met them and, in a replay, beat them in the 2006 quarters. Our only meeting with the Stone Throwers, meanwhile, took place in Round 4 of the qualifiers in 2002 when we eased past them by four points in Ennis.
All of this means that, prior to the Round 4 matches this weekend, we have seven possible opponents in the draw for the quarters: Clare, Down, Kerry, Kildare, Laois, Meath and Tipperary. Which one of these would you like us to be drawn against? Time to vote.
Who would you like us to draw in the quarters?
- Kildare (22%, 28 Votes)
- Meath (19%, 25 Votes)
- Kerry (17%, 22 Votes)
- Clare (12%, 15 Votes)
- Down (12%, 15 Votes)
- Tipperary (12%, 15 Votes)
- Laois (7%, 9 Votes)
Total Voters: 129