Saturday 20 January 2018

Tough start to season for Louth

Sean Wall

LOUTH will start their 2014 competitive year with an opening round O'Byrne Cup game against DCU in Drogheda on January 5th.

Aidan O'Rourke's charges will probably need to hit the ground running if they are to make the knockout stages of the competition for as well as the students, winners of the competition twice in the past three years, All-Ireland champions Dublin, as well as Westmeath are included in Louth's Group D section.

The group stages of the competition will be played over an eight day period, and the Wee County travel to Parnell Park to take on the Dubs on the following Wednesday night.

The final round matches are on the following Sunday, with Louth having home advantage against Westmeath.

Two college teams, DIT and IT Carlow, are included in Meath's section, with Wicklow completing the quartet in Group C.

The Royals host DIT in Navan on the first Sunday of the year and also have home advantage against IT Carlow three days later. Their third game is a trip to Aughrim on January 12th.

The semi-finals of the competition take place on January 19th with the final the following Sunday.

Meanwhile there will be a Louth versus Meath clash in next years U-21 championship. Both Boyneside teams have a first round bye and will meet in a quarter final tie on Wednesday, March 5th, at a Louth venue.

The counties also locked horns in the U-21 championship last February and Meath emerged easy winners, 3-13 to 1-7.

The winners meet Kildare/Wexford/Offaly in a semi-final.

Seven counties, including Cavan will take part in the Leinster JFC in 2014. Louth have home advantage in their first outing of the campaign, a quarter final meeting against Kildare, in Drogheda on Wednesday, May 28th.

If the Wee County overcome that hurdle they play either Cavan or Wexford in a semi-final in what would be another home tie.

Meath travel to Aughrim to take on Wicklow in their opening game on the same date and if they win that one they will be on the road again against Longford in the semi-final.

Both counties will have home advantage in the opening round of the provincial MFC. Meath host Wicklow in Navan on Saturday, April 19th while on the same day Wexford will be the visitors to Drogheda.

All teams defeated in the opening round have a second chance to make the last eight, if the successfully negotiate the losers section.

In the Leinster U-21A hurling championship Meath play Kildare at Newbridge on July 16th, while the other semi-final between Wicklow and Louth will be in Arklow on the same day.

Meanwhile, Louth's opening round Leinster SFC match against Westmeath has been confirmed for Cusack Park, Mullingar, on Saturday, May 17th. The winners of that tie take on Kildare in a quarter final at Croke Park on Sunday, June 8th. Meath's assault on the Leinster championship will start in Dr Cullen Park against Carlow on Sunday, June 15th.

Drogheda Independent

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