Preview: Weekend's Gaelic Games action
Saturday, December 15
O'BYRNE CUP ROUND 2
Westmeath v Offaly, Athlone, 2pm
Kildare v Carlow, Newbridge, 2pm
Wexford v Laois, Enniscorthy, 2pm
Wicklow v Louth, Bray, 3pm
Meath v Longford, Ashbourne, 5pm
MCKENNA CUP ROUND 1
Fermanagh v UU, Derrygonnelly, 1pm
Meath will be keen to build on their impressive 14-point opening round victory over Laois when they play Longford in Round 2 on Saturday.
Longford are also hunting for two wins in a row after their narrow first-round victory over Wicklow.
It’ll be interesting to see what sort of team Meath pick for this match because they’re in action again on Sunday for the Sean Cox Fundraiser charity match against Dublin, so they may opt to hold some of their more experienced players in reserve for that.
Kildare play their first competitive match of the season against Carlow who were beaten in their first-round match by Westmeath last weekend.
The Lake County will hope to make it two wins in a row against Offaly who, like Kildare, are also playing their first match of the season.
Wexford got their season off to a heartening start last weekend when they outclassed Louth by 0-16 to 1-6 and will fancy their chance of making it two wins from two against a Laois team that struggled last time out against Meath.
After both suffering first-round defeats, Wicklow and Louth have an opportunity to generate some much needed momentum when they play each other in Bray.
There’s also one McKenna Cup round 1 match on Saturday, as Fermanagh host University of Ulster.
Sunday, December 13
WALSH CUP ROUND 2
Dublin v Offaly, Parnell Park, 2pm
Laois v Carlow, O'Moore Park, 2pm
Newly appointed Dublin manager Mattie Kenny will hope to make it two Walsh Cup wins from two when his team host Offaly in Parnell Park on Sunday.
They hurled well in terrible weather conditions when beating Carlow by eight points last weekend, with the contribution of the fit-again Eamonn Dillon a particular source of encouragement.
Offaly had their noses bloodied in the first round by neighbours Laois so will be keen to bounce back from that defeat, but they’ll need to up the ante considerably if they’re to pull off a surprise here.
That win for Laois was the perfect tonic for Eddie Brennan in his first match in charge of Midlanders, and he’ll be keen to build further on that momentum with a home victory over Carlow.
MCKENNA CUP ROUND 1
Armagh v St Marys, Crossmaglen, 1pm
SEAN COX FUNDRAISER SENIOR FOOTBALL CHALLENGE
Meath v Dublin, Pairc Tailteann, 1.30pm
Armagh have had a boost before a ball is even kicked in the new season with the news that key players Jamie Clarke, Stefan Campbell and the O’Neill brothers, Oisin and Rian, have returned to the panel after taking a year out in 2018.
It remains to be seen if any of them will see some action against St. Mary’s in round 1 of the McKenna Cup, but even without them Armagh will fancy their chances of defeating the University side.
A sell-out crowd is expected in Pairc Tailteann on Sunday for the meeting of Meath and Dublin in the Sean Cox charity fundraiser match.
Former Dunboyne GAA club chairman Cox suffered serious injuries during an attack before a Champions League game involving Liverpool and Roma last April.
A fundraising drive to help with Cox's medical and rehabilitation costs has already raised over €400,000 and it’s hoped that this match can raise at least another €100,000.
To buy tickets for Sunday's game or to support the Sean Cox Rehabilitation Trust click here.