THE draws for the Offaly GAA adult championships in 2019 were made last week at Bord na Mona O'Connor Park.
Sponsors Donal Molloy of Molloy Environmental Systems and Philip O'Brien of the Tullamore Court Hotel made the draws for all adult championships except U-20 hurling and intermediate football – the U-20 hurling does not start until later in the year while the Intermediate Football Championship draw was put off until the March meeting of the County Board. The draws for the junior B and C championships in both codes will also be made later.
In football, a new format has been adopted for the main championships with two groups of four and each group criss crossing – i.e. teams from group A play teams from group B in a move that is designed to provide four rather than three games in the league stages of the championship. That format was approved for the Senior and Senior B Football Championships at the February County Board meeting, however, it is understood that it was not in the fine print for the intermediate draw and they need to get this formally approved at the March meeting.
The Senior, Senior B and Intermediate Hurling Championships stay as one group of eight but the fixtures for the first round were made last week. Those championships will start on the weekend of March 31 and a second round will be played in April before a long gap as the focus turns to inter-county action.
The main football championships won't start until July and will run off until their conclusion while junior hurling and football will commence in April and it is planned to have them completed earlier than normal by mid Summer.
In the hurling groups of eight, the top two teams qualify for the semi-finals with the next two playing off in two quarter-finals and the bottom two in a relegation play off while in football, the top team in each group of four goes into the semi-final, the next two into the quarter-finals and the bottom side into the relegation showdown. In intermediate football, it is planned to relegate two clubs to reduce the number of teams from nine to eight.
The U-20 Football Championship started last weekend with Tullamore holding on for a 1-12 to 1-11 win over Shamrocks and this Sunday, three games are down for decision: Kilcormac/Killoughey v St Michael's, Shannon Gaels v Gracefield and St Manchan's v Durrow.
The draws are:
Senior Hurling Championship
1 group of 8. 1st round: Kilcormac/Killoughey v Shinrone, Coolderry v Birr, Kinnitty v St Rynagh's, Belmont v Ballinamere. Games on weekend of March 31
Senior B Hurling Championship
1 group of 8. 1st round: Seir Kieran v Kilcormac/Killoughey, Tullamore v Lusmagh, Drumcullen v Carrig and Riverstown, Shamrocks v Clodiagh Gaels. Games on weekend of March 31
Intermediate Hurling Championship
1 group of 8. 1st round draw: Shinrone v Coolderry, Birr v Clara, Brosna Gaels v St Rynagh's, Seir Kieran v Ballinamere. Games on weekend of March 31.
Junior Hurling Championship
Group A - Ballyskenagh/Killavilla, Kinnitty, Gracefield, Clodiagh Gaels, Coolderry, Shamrocks. Group B - Tullamore, Kilcormac/Killoughey, Belmont, St Rynagh's, Crinkle. 1st round in April.
Senior Football Championship
Group A Ferbane, Tullamore, Edenderry, Shamrocks; Group B Rhode, Clara, Gracefield, Cappincur. Groups criss cross - i.e teams in group A play the teams in group B. 1st round in July
Senior B Football Championship
Group A Durrow, Ballycumber, Raheen, Walsh Island; Group B Tubber, Erin Rovers, Bracknagh, Ferbane. Groups criss cross - i.e teams in group A play the teams in group B. 1st round in July
Intermediate Football Championship
The draw won't take place until County Board meeting in March as clarification has to be sought at that meeting on whether the criss cross system applies for it.
Junior Football Championship
Group A Doon, Rhode, Ballinagar, Birr, Durrow; Group B Kilclonfert, Clara, Edenderry, Clonmore Harps and Ballyfore. 1st round in April and plan is to run this championship through to an earlier than normal summer conclusion