Leinster GAA have announced a three year extension of their partnership with Bord na Móna as sponsors of the Leinster GAA Series which incorporates the O’Byrne Cup, Walsh Cup and Kehoe Cups.
First into action in the 2017 O'Byrne Cup are the Longford and Kildare footballers who clash at St Conleth’s Park, Newbridge on Saturday week, January 7, throw-in 2pm.
The O’Byrne Cup senior football title was the only crown to evade Jim Gavin’s Dublin in 2016 with the Dubs being taken out by Longford in the semi-final at Glennon Brothers Pearse Park but Denis Connerton’s side were then beaten by Meath in the final at Pairc Tailteann, Navan.
Following a positive response from supporters it has been decided to maintain the new format for the O’Byrne Cup which will see county and college teams divided into groups and with midweek matches taking place to reach the semi-finals.
The football games will represent the first time that supporters see the newly introduced ‘Mark’ being used while in football and hurling it has been decided to have no limit on the number of substitutes allowed.
Currently preparing for the new season opener away to Kildare in the O’Byrne Cup senior football tournament, Longford will complete their fixtures in Group 2 with home games against Offaly (Wednesday night January 11) and IT Carlow (Sunday January 15) in the battle for a semi-final spot.
The Longford senior hurlers (with Westmeath native Ray Gavin back as manager) will compete once again in the Kehoe Cup with home games against Maynooth University (January 22) and Louth (January 29).
Leinster GAA Chairman John Horan said: “We are delighted to extend our partnership with Bord na Móna for the next three years. They understand the importance of community and the work that we do to enable our clubs and members to be the best they can be.
“The O’Byrne Cup football trophy has been competed for since 1954 and the Tom Walsh Cup has existed since 1956 and Kehoe Cup since 1977.
“Between them they have played a crucial role in Leinster GAA as Accident Tournaments whereby the proceeds generated by attendances is used in a special fund that looks to benefit ordinary GAA people in Leinster who are in dire need of assistance.
“These are special competitions that have a crucial place in the calendar because in both codes they act as a vital dress rehearsal for the start of the National Leagues and provide a warmly welcome outlet for supporters who have been starved of seeing their county play since the summer.”