CORK have a clearer picture of their possible opponents in Round 4 of the All-Ireland football qualifiers following the Round 3 draw earlier this week.
As a beaten provincial finalist Cork – along with Galway, Meath and Cavan – are waiting to see who emerges from Round 3 this Saturday. It could be familiar opponents for Ronan McCarthy’s side.
The Round 3 draw will see Mayo host Armagh in Castlebar, Kildare welcome Tyrone to Newbridge, Westmeath entertain Clare while Laois are home to Offaly.
Cork will face one of the winners of those four ties, with form suggesting they’d stand a better chance against either Westmeath, Clare, Laois or Offaly. That said, Clare have had the upper-hand on Cork in recent meetings between the counties and the Banner men gave Kerry a stern test in their Munster SFC semi-final.
The tougher propositions would be the winners of Mayo against Armagh and Kildare versus Tyrone, and the Rebels have recent history against three of that quartet in the qualifiers – Kildare beat Cork 1-21 to 1-13 in 2015, Mayo edged the Rebels in 2017 by 0-27 to 2-20, while Tyrone hammered Cork by 3-20 to 0-13 last year in Portlaoise.
The draw for Round 4 will be made on Monday morning next, July 1st. It will be broadcast live on Morning Ireland on RTE Radio 1 just after 8.30am and also carried live on gaa.ie.
The draw is subject to avoidance of repeat pairings, where feasible. Possible repeat pairings include Meath v Laois/Offaly & Cavan v Armagh.
Unlike in previous rounds, venues for Round 4 are not on a home and away basis, the match venues and times will be confirmed by the CCCC on Monday afternoon with the fixtures scheduled for weekend of July 6th and 7th. All matches in this round of the football championship will be 'Winner on the Day', if required.
If Cork win their next game and advance to the Super 8s, they will be in Group 2 along with Leinster champions Dublin, Connacht kingpins Roscommon and either Ulster runners-up Cavan or a team coming through the qualifiers.
Cork’s first game in the Super 8s would be away to the all-conquering Dublin in Croke Park on July 13th or 14th, followed by another trip to Croke Park the following weekend and a home game against Roscommon on August 3rd or 4th.
The Super 8s is where this Cork team needs to be to develop and the draw on Monday next will tell us who they will play in one of their biggest games in years.