Micko relishing ‘All-Ireland final’ clash with Louth

NEW Wicklow manager Mick O’Dwyer has described their Leinster championship meeting with Louth as “our All-Ireland Final”.

O’Dwyer, the most successful manager in GAA history, was last month appointed boss of the Garden County — considered the weakest in football.

He is relishing their baptism of fire with the Wee County — with a meeting with Wexford in a Leinster quarter-final awaiting the winners.

Said O’Dwyer: “This is our All-Ireland final and we are not looking beyond it. You have to put up with what comes your way. Louth are a promising team as they showed in this year’s championship.

“It is a game we are really looking forward to.

He said of training: “We have had a great turnout, things are pretty good. All the players we have selected to come training have turned up.

“We have a lot of work to do and that is what we will be doing over the next couple of months.”

All-Ireland champions Kerry and Munster champions Cork have been kept apart in their provincial championship with Billy Morgan’s side again beginning by meeting Limerick.

In Leinster there is the prospect of a Meath/Dublin clash in the quarter-final — at which stage this year’s Connacht finalists Galway and Mayo will meet again, as in Ulster, where holders Armagh face Donegal.

In hurling, Munster champions Cork face a tough task to retain their title.

The defeated All-Ireland finalists face Clare in a quarter-final and if successful must then play Waterford.

Limerick and Tipperary progress directly to a semi-final.

A seeded draw kept All-Ireland hurling champions Kilkenny and Wexford apart in Leinster. Offaly and Laois were again drawn together and the winners will play Kilkenny, Wexford meet Dublin in the other semi-final.

There was also a seeded draw for the Leinster football championship. Champions Dublin, Laois, Wexford and Offaly got byes to the quarter-final.

Part of the draw in Connacht was made in advance (Sligo v New York, Leitrim v London). All that was required was the draw to determine the semi-final pairings.

Explaining why no draw was made in the Ulster hurling championship, secretary Danny Murphy pointed out that a review is pending after a three-year cycle with New York and a ‘rotation’ with London. Armagh have indicated an intention to affiliate.

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