OFFALY U-20 footballers will begin their championship countdown tonight (Wednesday) when they play Limerick in the new development league, the Liam O'Connor Cup, in Bord na Mona O'Connor Park at 7.30pm.
Named for the late Walsh Island hero, Liam O'Connor, full back on the 1982 All-Ireland senior football champions, the competition will provide invaluable games for Offaly as they begin to focus on the coming championship campaign – Offaly travel to Aughrim to face Wicklow on Saturday.
Manager Declan Kelly (Kilclonfert) and selectors, David Connolly (Bracknagh), Ken Furlong (Tullamore) and Ger Rafferty (St Rynagh's) have named a strong team for the first game.
It includes some of Offaly's most promising up and coming players. Rory Egan, an outstanding minor, is wing back and there are two exciting attacking prospects in the two Cian's, Farrell and Johnson with Farrell anchoring the attack at centre half forward and Johnson, a lethally accurate finisher, in the corner.
The squad have worked hard in recent months and these games will give management a chance to observe players in games that will be more competitive than challenges.
Offaly are away to Carlow in the first round of the Leinster championship on June 22 and if they win here, they will travel to Meath on July 2.
OFFALY: Jack Cullinan (Ferbane); Jack O'Brien (Durrow), Adam Bolger (Daingean), Cloive Keena (Ballycumber); Ciaran Donnelly (Bracknagh), Ed Bennett (Clonbullogue), Rory Egan (Edenderry); Jack McEvoy (Clonbullogue), Cathal Donoghue (Kilcormac/Killoughey); Seanie Farrell (Tubber), Cian Farrell (Edenderry), Shane O'Toole-Greene (Shamrocks); Cian Johnson (Ferbane), Jack Bryant (Shamrocks), Kevin McDermott (Durrow).