The ideal quarter-final draw?

So we’re down at last to the final eight in the championship, the point where the real fun begins.  The draw for the quarters takes place later on today (at 6.30 pm, to be exact and it’ll be live on RTÉ2) and, while the pairings that’ll be decided this evening are in the lap of the gods, I know who I’d like to be matched with whom later on.

From the perspective of the qualifiers, the Rossies are the girl they all want to dance with, while everyone will want to avoid pulling one of the Big Two (and, after Cork’s abject performance against Limerick, I think we’re back in duopoly territory again).  Provincial champions tend to be less bothered about who they draw but I suppose Down (notwithstanding their freakishly large win over poor, broken Sligo yesterday evening) might be the favoured pick from that pot.  Such kind of wishing can, of course, be dangerous and the Rossies are in delicious territory in this respect – all the qualifiers think they’ll hammer the shite out of them but whoever pulls them could get considerably more than they bargain for from Fergie and his lads.

Anyways.  Onto my dream draw for later on this evening, one that is pitched to provide the right kind of challenge to each of the teams left in the race at this stage.

First up – Meath v Dublin.  The Ball Throwers (thanks to DocG for coming up with this very appropriate nickname for the ex-Royals) find themselves even more unloved than ever this year following Joe Sheridan’s antics in the Leinster final and everyone will be hoping they pull a real pig of a draw this evening.  The best porker would, I reckon, be Pat Gilroy’s resurgent Dublin who have come on considerably since Meath walloped them in the Leinster semi-final.  Nothing went right for the Dubs that day (including the bizarre way the game was reffed) and they’ve got better as they’ve come through the qualifiers.  Gilroy’s Dublin are – much like the Rossies, in fact – a hardworking and honest bunch of players and I’d say they’d relish a chance to turn the tables on those sneaky Meathmen, who would surely view another clash with the Boys in Blue like they would the acquisition of a hole in the head.  A perfect match, then.

Next – Kerry v Kildare.  Kerry are always vulnerable at this stage of the championship though the hoors always seem to have enough in the tank to wobble through to the semis (where they really start to pick up the pace).  With injuries, suspensions and the lingering effects of the five players gone from last year, Kerry are, once again, susceptible to going under to a haymaker in the quarters.  And who better to deliver such a punch than Kieran McGeeney’s rapidly improving Kildare who, after a dreadful championship start, seems to be peaking at just the right time?  I think Geezer’s lads could have a big say in this year’s championship and pulling Kerry this evening offers them the chance of stepping up to the big time, big time.

Then – Tyrone v Cork.  This would be a rematch of last year’s thunderous clash when a rising Cork outmuscled and outplayed what looked to be a fading Tyrone.  This summer, though, the roles are reversed – Tyrone are back playing like the Duracell bunnies (hairy ones at that) they all were back in 2008 and Cork look like they peaked back in April.  The Rebels have been flattering to deceive all summer and Tyrone are the just the lads to test the proposition that the Rebels deserve to be viewed as serious candidates for Sam dish ear.

Finally – Roscommon v Down.  Made for each other, in many respects: neither will fear the other and both would have a genuine chance of progressing to the penultimate stage.  In recent years, the All-Ireland semi-finals have featured unheralded teams (Meath in ’07 and again last year, Wexford in ’08) and this pairing would guarantee such an outcome in 2010 as well.

That’s my tuppence worth at any rate.  Let’s see what Christy Cooney’s version will be later on today.

7 thoughts on “The ideal quarter-final draw?

  1. didnt work out for ya willie joe
    kildare meath will be fascinating
    dubs could really excorcise a few demons if they bet tyrone,

    i cant see the rossies getting anything off cork but it was always going to be a tough draw for them ..

    and as for kerry as you said , they will surely do enough to beat down

  2. WJ, whatever about your predictions for the qf draw, your soothsaying abilities for what’s happening on the pitch has taken you to the top of the overall leaderboard in the Face the Ball competition. That’s a fantastic achievement in itself and well done!!! If I were a betting man, which I’m not, I would be tipping you to go all way and take home the bacon – it would be great for a Mayo ‘football man’ to win an all-ireland title, so you can be sure of my support and I’d say that of the other blog readers as well. We’ll be rooting for you!!

  3. Just out of curiousity if ( yes what if ) we were still in the running through the qualifiers would we be up against Kerry. Following the path after Longford we would have been playing Down and if hypothetically speaking we managed that hurdle we could have been paired against Sligo again (or could we?) and this time we managed to beat them we now would be up against the Kingdom. I know it’s all irrelevent but sure it’s all we have to think about.
    By the way best of luck to the Rossies against Cork – the only Connacht side left in the last 8 now.

  4. Thanks for that, topo d rite – I was a bit stunned myself when I saw that (appropriately on Reek Sunday) I’d reached the summit in the overall leaderboard. I’m looking good for success in the mini-league, I reckon, but it’s far tighter at the top of the overall leaderboard and I’d expect that overall honours there won’t be decided only the day of the All-Ireland itself. By the way, were I to go on and do it I wouldn’t be the first mini-league participant to claim such a national title – MickC did just that in the NFL mini-league earlier this year.

  5. Well done to MickC, that just goes to prove that us Mayo lads know our stuff when it it comes to football (well…. we can certainly talk the talk!!!), hope you can make it a double then WJ!! All we need then is for our footballers to walk the walk (the difficult bit!!!).

  6. best of luck to the rossies as they do need everybit of it you never know amirackles can happen

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