Tuesday 20 February 2018

O'Byrne Cup round-robin format draws in the crowds

Martin Breheny

Martin Breheny

LEINSTER are pleased with the reaction to the experiment of extending the O'Byrne Cup into a round-robin event and playing one series of games midweek, but won't decide on whether to persist with it next year until a full review is undertaken at the conclusion of the competition.

Dublin, Louth, Offaly and Kildare have qualified for the semi-finals after three rounds were played off in eight days.

"There was a positive reaction generally to the midweek games, with good crowds turning up. One or two counties suggested playing two rounds over the one weekend but that wouldn't be fair to everybody as they're all dealing from different numbers," said Leinster Council secretary Michael Delaney.

The winners of the Louth-Dublin game in Drogheda on Sunday will have home advantage in the final against Offaly or Kildare the following weekend.

If Louth are in the final, it will be played in Drogheda on Sunday week; if Dublin qualify, they will host the decider at Parnell Park on the Saturday evening.

A Dublin-Kildare final would be the biggest draw for a competition where the proceeds go towards providing assistance to members of the GAA in Leinster who have fallen on hard times.

The new format has boosted attendances considerably this year and with three games remaining, the final return is expected to be the best for a long time.

The success of the midweek programme will re-open the debate as to whether some senior championship games could be played on Thursday or Friday nights in summer. Leinster considered playing one game on a Friday night this year but couldn't find a suitable pairing.

Kenny completes his transfer to Tipperary

KILDARE have lost one of their leading hurlers to Tipperary following confirmation that Conor Kenny has completed his transfer to the Premier County.

Kenny's club switch was approved last week and he will now link up with north Tipperary club side Borris-Ileigh, having severed ties with Celbridge.

Kenny, who scored 1-7 when Kildare lost the All-Ireland U-21 'B' final against Roscommon last year, also indicated in documentation that he wishes to declare for Tipperary as an inter-county player.

The news of Kenny's switch has come as a huge disappointment to Kildare, who regarded him as one of their brightest talents.

But the forward has strong links with Tipperary as his father Philip played on the Borris-Ileigh team that won the 1987 All-Ireland club final against Wexford outfit Rathnure.

Irish Independent

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