Players from 16 counties attended Croke Park on Monday to mark the official launch of this year’s Tailteann Cup with Carlow in the mix again.
Last year’s edition was a straight shootout, Westmeath ultimately seeing off Cavan in the final, while this year’s competition begins with a round robin format underway this coming weekend. Teams have been seeded based on their Allianz League finishing positions and slotted into groups for four.
For Carlow, a fifth-placed finish in Division 4 means they join Wicklow, Limerick and Longford with a trip to Aughrim up first this Sunday.
The top teams in each group automatically advance to the quarter-final knockout stages. The four second placed teams go to preliminary quarter-finals where they are joined by the three best third placed teams along with New York.
“We are confident the Tailteann Cup will grow and grow but we are also not complacent. And as I have said before about being wary of a sophomore slump, we are determined to ensure that we build further on the excellent foundation laid in the Tailteann Cup last summer and see even more progress made this year”, said Uachtarán CLG Larry McCarthy at Monday’s launch.
“That success is built on our commitment to its marketing and promotion, the use of Croke Park, the prominence given to its crucial fixtures in our calendar, as well as a dedicated awards ceremony, a holiday prize fund and the guarantee of a place in the Sam Maguire Cup in 2024 for its champions. These significant gestures will only ever be a supporting cast. The real stars will always be the games and the players on centre stage and what the Tailteann Cup showed was that when teams of equal ability meet, the games are hugely competitive and hugely enjoyable.”
For Carlow’s senior footballers, there’s a shot at redemption in this weekend’s opening round.
“I know the lads were disappointed in themselves with the Leinster championship match against Wicklow in Aughrim”, Carlow GAA chairperson Jim Bolger told KCLR.
“Low and behold, there’s now an opportunity to address that straight away. We’re really looking forward to that one as well. “We have Limerick the following week in Carlow and then a neutral venue, wherever that will be, against Longford.
Ahead of the football though, Carlow’s senior hurlers will be out in force with Offaly making the trip to Netwatch Cullen Park for a 5.30pm throw-in on Saturday. It’s the last leg of the round robin and with Offaly already assured of a place in the final, victory for Carlow would tee up a trip to Croke Park in a fortnight’s time.
Both Carlow v Offaly and Carlow v Wicklow will be live on KCLR this weekend.