Offaly's 2019 O'Byrne and Walsh Cup opponents revealed
The draw has been made for the 2019 O'Byrne and Walsh Cup pre-season competitions.
Offaly have been drawn to face Kildare, Westmeath and Carlow in the O'Byrne Cup in 2019. Last year's O'Byrne Cup provided much optimism for Offaly as they drew with Dublin and hammered Wexford to top their group. Cian Johnson starred against the much-changed Dubs as the Stephen Wallace era began in earnest.
The summer brought less success as Offaly lost to Wicklow in the Leinster Championship, Wallace was axed by the county board and Paul Rouse was tasked with taking charge short-term. He masterminded a win over Antrim and a good performance in defeat against Clare in the qualifiers.
Under new boss John Maughan, Offaly will be hoping to start the year with confidence as they play Westmeath who they beat in last year's Allianz League, Carlow who will be buoyed after another good year, and Kildare who shocked the country by knocking Mayo out of the Championship in 2018.
The line-up for the O'Byrne Cup is as follows:
Group 1: Carlow, Westmeath, Offaly, Kildare
Group 2: Longford, Wicklow, Louth
Group 3: Laois, Meath, Wexford
In the hurling equivalent, the Walsh Cup, Offaly will face off with Carlow, the team that will replace them in the Leinster Championship of 2019, Dublin, the team they beat in the 2018 league, and neighbours Laois.
Offaly hurling boss Kevin Martin will also be hoping for some confidence boosters as he leads his team into 2019 without the prospect of Leinster Championship hurling.
Having struggled in last year's new Leinster format, Offaly were relegated to the Joe McDonagh Cup for 2019 and were replaced by 2018 McDonagh winners Carlow.
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