By James McMahon
As things stand, 14 teams remain in this year’s football championship. Mayo and Kerry have already claimed provincial titles.
The Leinster and Ulster winners, barring replays, will be decided on Sunday next. Provincial kingpins, as we know, progress to the All-Ireland quarter-finals. Which teams will they meet? Who plays who in the remaining qualifier games?
These are questions that many are asking. So let’s try and clarify the situation.
Last October when the draw was made for this summer’s championship, teams were designated as either A or B in their respective provinces.
To quote from the GAA themselves: "Provincial championship draws shall be made on an arranged basis with an “A” and a “B” side to each draw.
Teams on the “A” side of a Provincial draw shall enter the All Ireland Qualifier Series as appropriate at Rounds 1A – 4A only.
Teams on the “B” side of a draw shall enter the All- Ireland Qualifier Series as appropriate at Rounds 1B – 4B only."
Tipperary and Sligo have progressed to the round of 4A. It has been pre-determined that they will meet the losers of the Connacht and Munster finals. Tipp have already played Cork; likewise Sligo have met Galway.
So, the 4A games to be played on Saturday 26 July are:
Tipperary v Galway
Sligo v Cork
In looking at the B side, four teams are unbeaten so far. Next weekend will see the 3B clashes of Roscommon v Armagh and Clare v Kildare.
The winners from those games will be drawn to play the losers of the Leinster and Ulster finals in round 4B of the qualifiers on Saturday, 2 August.
Ulster Runner Up v Round 3B Winner*
Leinster Runner Up v Round 3B Winner*
* Subject to avoidance of repeat pairing
Of course, the provincial finals mentioned have still to take place, so we are unsure, as of now, what the pairings will be.
The Connacht and Munster winners will play the two teams emerging from 4A.
Kerry (Munster winner) v Round 4A Winner*
Mayo (Connacht winner) v Round 4A Winner*
* Draw is subject to provincial final winners avoiding defeated finalists from their own province in this round and to the avoidance of repeat pairings where possible.
Games to take place on Sunday 3 August
The Leinster and Ulster winners will play the two teams emerging from 4B.
Leinster winner v Round 4B Winner*
Ulster winner v Round 4B Winner*
*Draw is subject to provincial final winners avoiding defeated finalists from their own province in this round and to the avoidance of repeat pairings where possible.
Games to take place on Saturday, 9 August
(The winner of Munster winner v Round 4A winner*) V (The winner of Connacht winner v Round 4A winner*, Sunday, 24 August)
(The winner of Leinster winner v Round 4B winner* V The winner of Ulster winner v Round 4B winner, Sunday, 31 August)