Sunday 16 December 2018

Leinster stick with plans for O'Byrne Cup in Portlaoise

DKIT had 11 points to spare in the end
DKIT had 11 points to spare in the end
Colm Keys

Colm Keys

Leinster Council will not be rescheduling the Bord na Móna O'Byrne Cup final between Westmeath and Meath for Mullingar or Navan and will stick with their original plan for a 4.0 throw-in at Portlaoise on Sunday.

The match will be televised by TG4 and will follow the All-Ireland intermediate club semi-final between Kerry and Munster champions An Ghaeltacht and Tyrone and Ulster champions Moy, which the broadcaster is also covering live.

Supporters in both counties have questioned the logic of Portlaoise as a venue when a coin toss could determine whether Cusack Park or Páirc Tailteann would host it and boost footfall significantly.

But Leinster Council's commercial and marketing manager Cian Murphy explained that notice of the venue was sent out on January 4 without complaint at that time.

"TG4 have first call on January competitions. They submitted a request asking to cover it if it was fixed for Portlaoise as they would already have cameras there for the An Ghaeltacht/Moy match," he said.

When Meath and Westmeath met in a corresponding O'Byrne Cup final in 2004 the crowd was estimated at being in the region of 15,000 in Cusack Park at the end of January.


Páidí Ó Sé had just taken over as Westmeath manager and interest in the county's football affairs had surged.

With Meath still among the top football teams at the time they too carried a big support in a decade where the pre-season competitions attracted bigger crowds.

In Mullingar or Navan, organisers could anticipate around 4,000 but Portlaoise at 4.0, with the match already showing live, would be considerably lower than that.

Meanwhile, the Dr McKenna Cup final between Tyrone and Armagh or Donegal has been fixed for 4.30 on Sunday evening at a venue to be decided.

Tyrone reached their eighth successive Dr McKenna Cup final with a semi-final win over Fermanagh at the weekend with Donegal and Armagh qualifying for the other semi-final which will be played tomorrow night in Ballybofey after Donegal won a coin toss for home venue.

Connacht GAA are pressing ahead with Galway and Roscommon's game in their provincial league this weekend despite the fact that both counties have won their way through to the final.

Roscommon manager Kevin McStay had appealed for the game to be played on Friday night to avoid a clash with Michael Glavey's All-Ireland intermediate club semi-final but the Connacht League final will go ahead on the weekend of February 17 as planned.

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