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Limerick get the draw from hell

LIMERICK'S reward for finishing off their old Banner rivals in the draw from hell - an All-Ireland quarter-final showdown with Kilkenny.

The Shannonsiders have revelled in the role of 'flat track ponies' over the past few weeks of qualifier advancement.

However, nothing they encountered against Laois, Antrim or perhaps even Clare last Saturday evening will prepare John Allen's men for the Becher's Brook challenge that awaits on Sunday week - against All-Ireland champions scorned.

The quarter-final draw was made live on RTé's 'Morning Ireland' today and saw Waterford, yesterday's beaten Munster finalists, pitted against provincial rivals Cork while the Cats and Treaty men square off in the other last-six encounter.

Despite their 'shock and awe' defeat to Galway, Brian Cody's men remain short-odds favourites to retain Liam MacCarthy and Limerick will have to buck the presumption that they will now be on the receiving end of a ferocious Black-and-Amber backlash.

But Kilkenny star-turned-pundit Eddie Brennan, reacting to this morning's draw, pinpointed Limerick's scoring threat as something his former colleagues will have to be wary of.

"I think they weren't too fussy about who they got," said Brennan. "Limerick have a nice few games under their belt and they have a scoring threat up front, so it's going to be a good test for our lads."

The stats point that way - Limerick have accumulated a staggering 17 goals and 65 points in their three qualifiers since exiting Munster despite an epic first 50 minutes against Tipperary.

Clearly, goals have not been a problem and proved key in their 3-18 to 1-20 win over Clare, whereas their 6-21 and 8-26 tallies against Laois and Antrim respectively must be viewed in the context of threadbare opposition.

Tipperary's retention of their Munster crown means it is now preordained that if Kilkenny overcome Limerick, they will then face Tipp at the semi-final stage. Meanwhile, the winners of the Waterford/Cork clash will advance to a semi-final date with Leinter champions Galway.

ALL-IRELAND SHC QUARTER-FINAL DRAW

Waterford v Cork

Kilkenny v Limerick

Ties to played Sunday, July 29 at venue TBC

KIERAN McGEENEY has banished rumours of a groin injury setback for Eamonn Callaghan, even though the Kildare vice-captain played no part in yesterday's qualifier cakewalk in Cavan.

Callaghan underwent groin surgery in Philadelphia during the run-up to their Leinster campaign, ruling him out of their Offaly opener and confining him to a late cameo against Meath.

He wasn't listed among the subs yesterday, and McGeeney later explained: "He was just a wee bit tight last weekend. He was flying again on Thursday night. He's back playing and stuff like that, but there's scar tissue there as well. Because he wasn't really training during the week, you can't get a chance to look at him."

LEINSTER Football Finals tickets: Sunday July 22, Croke Park, MFC: Meath v Dublin, 2pm; SFC: Dublin v Meath, 4pm. Prices: Adult stand €35, Hill 16 €20, Wheelchair and one assistant €35, Family tickets (Cusack and Davin Stands only) Adult €35 Juvenile €5.

General Sale: www.tickets.ie and www.ticketmaster.ie and GAA Ticket Office, 53 Lr Dorset St, Dublin 1 (10am to 5pm, until Friday).