O’Byrne Cup gets under way this week

Wicklow Senior Footballers will aim to make a positive start to 2014 this Sunday when they welcome IT Carlow to Ashford for their opening game of the Bord na Móna O’Byrne Cup.

The Garden County last captured silverware in this competition in 1996, thanks to a two-point final win over Wexford at Aughrim.

2014 sees Wicklow in Group C alongside Meath and DIT. All three games will be played at home with Newtownmountkennedy and Aughrim set to play host to fixtures on Wednesday January 8 and Sunday January 12 respectively.

Wicklow’s Senior hurlers will begin their competitive inter-county action for 2014 on Sunday January 19 as they play host to Mayo in the opening round of the Bord na Móna Kehoe Cup.

The prize for the winners is a quarter-final date with Meath or St. Patrick’s College, Drumcondra a week later.

Bord na Móna has once again committed sponsorship for the third year running to the Bord na Móna Leinster GAA Series – the tournaments which assist the Leinster GAA Benevolent Fund, encapsulating the Bord na Móna O’Byrne Cup, Bord na Móna Walsh Cup and Bord na Móna Kehoe Cup competitions.

The O’Byrne Cup is generally seen by managers as a chance for players, officials and supporters alike to shake off the post-Christmas festivities and give emerging talent a chance to stake a claim, while those more established players aim to cement their places on their squad.

The Bord na Móna O’Byrne Cup will be run on a league basis for the second year in a row.

11 counties and 5 college teams will compete for silverware, in a four group competition, which culminates following 27 games with the famed O’Byrne Cup being presented following the decider on January 26, which will be broadcast live on TG4.

The Bord na Móna Walsh Cup and Kehoe Cup hurling competitions have a similar format as last year, with the Walsh Cup starting on January 12 and the Kehoe Cup on January 19.

The Bord na Móna Walsh Cup is a straight knockout competition with Antrim and Galway joining Leinster counties Kilkenny, Wexford, Offaly, Westmeath, Carlow, Laois and Dublin; and college sides UCD, DIT and NUIG.

16 teams will take part in an expanded Bord na Móna Kehoe Cup competition, which sees a Bord na Móna Kehoe Shield competition for those teams knocked out in the first round.

Leinster counties Longford, Meath, Wicklow, Kildare and Louth and Dublin side Fingal are joined by their Ulster counterparts Armagh, Down and Derry; Mayo and Roscommon from Connacht along with college sides St. Pat’s Drumcondra, DCU, Trinity College, Queens University and GMIT.

All Leinster counties, bar Kilkenny, along with reigning Sigerson Cup champions DIT, UCD, DCU, IT Carlow and Athlone IT will set out for Bord na Móna O’Byrne Cup football honours.

Wexford, Laois, Offaly and UCD are paired in Group A; Carlow, Longford, Kildare and Athlone IT. are in Group B. DIT face Meath in Group C, which also includes Wicklow and IT Carlow, while Dublin, Westmeath, Louth and DCUare in Group D.

For the second year running the second round will comprise entirely of floodlit fixtures, with eight games taking place under lights around the province on Wednesday January 8.

This is the third year of Bord na Mona’s sponsorship of the Leinster GAA Series. 2012 was the first time for the competitions to be sponsored, since the inception of the O’Byrne Cup in 1954.

These competitions were established to help provide funds for the Leinster GAA Benevolent fund, which helps players and other GAA members with financial assistance in times of need.

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