Wednesday 19 December 2018

Blushes saved as Offaly agree to delay Lilies tie by two weeks

'The other O'Byrne Cup games between Carlow/Westmeath, Longford/Wicklow, Laois/Meath and Louth/Wexford scheduled for December 8 will go ahead as originally planned with winter training bans not affecting any of those counties.' (stock picture)
'The other O'Byrne Cup games between Carlow/Westmeath, Longford/Wicklow, Laois/Meath and Louth/Wexford scheduled for December 8 will go ahead as originally planned with winter training bans not affecting any of those counties.' (stock picture)
Michael Verney

Michael Verney

Common sense has prevailed with Kildare set to avoid the farcical scenario of playing their opening O'Byrne Cup against Offaly on December 8, the same day they are permitted to return from their winter training ban.

The Faithful county have granted a request from Kildare chiefs to have next month's O'Byrne Cup opener delayed by two weeks to buy them some valuable training time ahead of the game.

Having reached this year's All-Ireland 'Super 8s' - which saw them play up until August 4 - Cian O'Neill's side are not allowed to start collective training until December 8, which coincided with their scheduled season opener.

The Leinster Council's decision to bring forward the start of the pre-season competition threw up this unusual situation, with O'Neill joking that his squad "might meet for a cup of tea beforehand".

Their blushes have been saved, however, with Offaly granting Kildare's wish and the fixture being put back to Thursday, December 20, likely to be played under lights in Gracefield GAA club.

The other O'Byrne Cup games between Carlow/Westmeath, Longford/Wicklow, Laois/Meath and Louth/Wexford scheduled for December 8 will go ahead as originally planned with winter training bans not affecting any of those counties.

Commencing 2019 competitions before Christmas has drawn the ire of the GPA with chief executive Paul Flynn worried that "a precedent is being set in scheduling early-season games in the previous calendar year", something which also happened last year.

Leinster GAA have fixed the games for next month, December 8 and 15, with the approval of counties, to alleviate some of the congestion problems that they ran into earlier this year due to adverse weather.

Irish Independent

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