GAA Championship 2016 draws already upon us

The hurling and football championship draws will take place on Thursday night

It may have been less than a month ago that the 2015 championships concluded - but attention will have already turned to next summer’s competition come Thursday, when the 2016 football and hurling championship draws are made.

As has been the norm in recent years, the main attraction in the football draw will be the Ulster championship pairings - the most competitive of the provinces - while in the hurling the Munster championship draw will no doubt catch the attention.

Even after the relegation of Derry and Tyrone last year, there are three Ulster counties who will be operating in Division One of the league in 2016, the most of any of the four provinces.

There'll be a keener eye than usual on proceedings in Connacht too as Mayo look for a sixth title in a row, under (yet to be decided upon) new management. Roscommon too are in new hands, Kevin McStay and Fergal O'Donnell heading the ship there as they return to Division One in the new year - while Galway's young guns are to be a year older.

Munster will throw up the usual Cork/Kerry rivalry, as Dublin's dominance in Leinster doesn't look like ending any time soon. The All-Ireland champions also go in search of six in a row, and an incredible 11th title in 12 years. Their nearest rivals of late, Meath, have already lost stalwarts Stephen Bray and Kevin Reilly to retirement since the close of the season.

Tipperary are after two in a row in the Munster hurling championship, there’s been four different winners there since 2010. In Leinster Kilkenny go in pursuit of an eighth title in 10 years, although both Dublin and Galway have as many wins in the past three years.

And then with the draw out of the way it won’t be long before before the collective training, officially gets underway. Ready the floodlights.

Return to collective training dates:

Football -

November 15th: Carlow, Down, Laois, Leitrim, Limerick, London, Waterford, Wicklow; December 1st: Antrim, Armagh, Cavan, Clare, Cork, Derry, Donegal, Fermanagh, Galway, Kildare, Longford, Louth, Meath, Monaghan, Offaly, Roscommon, Sligo, Tipperary, Westmeath, Wexfordd; December 8th: Mayo, Tyrone; December 29th: Dublin, Kerry.

Hurling:

November 15th: Antrim, Carlow; December 1st: Clare, Cork, Dublin, Laois, Limerick, Offaly, Westmeath, Wexford; December 8th: Tipperary, Waterford; December 29th: Galway, Kilkenny.

The championship draw is live on RTÉ between 8pm and 9pm.