Hectic fixtures schedule ahead of county hurlers and footballers in 2018

The Galway hurlers who will have no shortage of matches in defence of their All-Ireland and National League titles in 2018.
The Galway hurlers who will have no shortage of matches in defence of their All-Ireland and National League titles in 2018.

ALL-Ireland senior hurling champions Galway will host Kilkenny in what will be their first home game ever in the Leinster championship next Summer while Galway’s footballers face yet another showdown with arch rivals Mayo in the 2018 Connacht senior championship.

The landscape of what lies in store for the county’s senior teams became a lot clearer last week after the draws were made for the respective provincial football competitions and details of the order of games in the Leinster and Munster hurling championships were announced.

Although no draw was required to be made for the hurling – following the establishment of a new 10-team Liam McCarthy Cup championship – the running order of fixtures in Leinster has generated some excitement locally with the news Galway will face Brian Cody’s Cats in their first home game.

The Tribesmen, who have a bye in the second round, will commence the defence of their Leinster and All-Ireland titles with a championship opener away to Offaly in early May before Micheal Donoghue’s charges tackle Kilkenny (home), Wexford (away) and Dublin (home) in the later rounds.

Meanwhile, for the fifth year running, Galway will face All-Ireland finalists Mayo in the Connacht senior football championship. While Mayo convincingly won their meetings in 2013 and ’14, the Tribesmen reversed that trend the last two years with narrow wins.

In many respects, the draw for the championship is lop-sided, not only in terms of Galway and Mayo clashing in the first round but in that the winners must then play Sligo or London whereas defending champions Roscommon have only to negotiate the winner of the Leitrim v New York semi-final to qualify for the provincial decider.

For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.