This Sunday, 8th January, sees the first GAA inter-county action of the year with the opening round of games in the Bord na Mona Leinster GAA Football Series. This is the first year of sponsorship of the football (O’Byrne Cup and Shield) and hurling (Walsh and Kehoe Cup and Shields) competitions and 2012 promises to be another exciting year for Leinster GAA fans.
The post-Christmas festivities and turn of the New Year means only one thing for Leinster GAA fans, players and managers alike and that is the first chance to glimpse the leading counties and colleges in action, including the first appearances of the All Ireland football and hurling champions, Dublin and Kilkenny.
The Bord na Mona Leinster GAA Series is an important time for counties as they prepare for the upcoming All Ireland Championships and they will be using the opportunities in January and February to blood new players, ease players back from injury, and try out new tactics and positional changes.
Can Kieran McGeeney’s Kildare men hold onto their crown? Will Pat Gilroy’s Dublin continue on from their glory of last September? And will Brian Cody’s Kilkenny be as hungry as ever and reclaim the hurling cup from Dublin?
There will be six trophies up for grabs over 49 matches beginning on Sunday 8th January with the football finals on Sunday 29th January and the hurling finals on Sunday 12th February.
Bord na Mona CEO, Gabriel D’Arcy, believes the sponsorship of the Leinster GAA Series will help raise interest in the New Year tournaments which will in turn go towards the Leinster GAA benevolent fund which assists GAA players and officials in times of hardship.
Gabriel D’Arcy said,
“GAA fans are hungry for inter-county action once more and where better to see it than the Bord na Mona Leinster GAA Series with the All Ireland champions in both football and hurling in action in the first few weeks of January.”
“Most important of all, Bord na Mona’s sponsorship of the Leinster GAA Series will go towards the Leinster GAA benevolent fund ensuring those in the Leinster GAA family that are facing hardship will find some help from this important fund.”
Martin Skelly, Chairman of Leinster Council GAA, has welcomed Bord na Mona’s new sponsorship and says it augurs well for the tournaments in 2012,
“Like the GAA, Bord na Mona is also an important part of many Leinster villages and communities providing employment and resources throughout the province. Their sponsorship of the Leinster GAA Series will assist those being helped by the Leinster GAA benevolent fund and will also ensure that GAA fans will be looking forward to an exciting New Year of inter-county action in football and hurling.”