As the new year approaches, intercounty footballers are gearing up for the Leinster pre-season competition the O’Byrne Cup.
The 2024 edition sees a return to the knockout format for the O’Byrne Cup after several counties opted out of the round-robin competition earlier in the season. The decision was also influenced by Offaly’s walkover to Louth in the semi-final, prompting a reevaluation of the competition structure.
One team to keep an eye on is Carlow, who will be entering the tournament with optimism after a strong showing in the Tailteann Cup last year.
Carlow’s First Game in Focus
The first round of the O’Byrne Cup on Wednesday, January 3, will witness Carlow, under the guidance of manager Niall Carew, facing off against Kildare. After a promising end to the Tailteann Cup, Carlow will be looking to carry the momentum into the O’Byrne Cup and make a statement in the opening fixture.
The knockout nature of the competition adds an extra layer of intensity, making every match crucial. For teams facing an early exit, there’s a silver lining as those defeated in their first game will get another chance in the newly introduced Shield competition.
Key Dates for Your Calendar
- O’Byrne Cup Round 1: Wednesday, January 3
- Wexford vs. Wicklow
- Carlow vs. Kildare
- Laois vs. Offaly
- O’Byrne Cup Quarter-finals: Saturday, January 6
- Winner 1 vs. Winner 2
- Winner 3 vs. Dublin
- Meath vs. Louth
- Longford vs. Westmeath
- O’Byrne Cup Semi-finals: Saturday, January 13
- Winner 5 vs. Winner 4
- Winner 6 vs. Winner 7
- O’Byrne Cup Final: Winner 8 vs. Winner 9
See also: Kilkenny Set to Kick Off 2024 Walsh Cup Campaign Against Carlow