'An important competition' - Offaly hurlers gear up for Joe McDonagh campaign
Offaly goalkeeper Eoghan Cahill represented the county on Thursday as players from the five counties playing in the 2019 Joe McDonagh competition come together to help raise its profile.
Representatives from each of the competing counties also hosted a hurling skills session with U14s and U16s teams from Mc Donagh’s club Ballinderreen.
The Joe McDonagh Cup is named in honour of the former Galway hurler, Joe McDonagh. McDonagh also served as President of the GAA from 1997 to 2000. In 2005, the Irish Independent named him amongst its substitutes in its list of "The Men Who Changed the Face of Galway Hurling."
One of the most iconic moments associated with McDonagh is his rendition of ‘The West’s Awake’ from the Hogan Stand in Croke Park after winning the All Ireland Hurling Final with Galway in 1980.
The launch event was held in Ballinderreen, the home club of Joe McDonagh and his some of his family members and teammates were in attendance. The event aimed to tie the history and culture of the competition to the players who are competing in it today. Ballinderreen GAA Chairman, Mattie Larkin hosted the group on the day and welcomed songs from Mike Burke and a performance from Abbeyknockmoy Scór na nÓg Champions.
Speaking about the event Paul Flynn, CEO at the GPA said, “The GPA have three main pillars player welfare, player development and player representation. Under representation promoting our players and our games is of the upmost importance to us. We are delighted to be working with the teams competing in the Joe McDonagh cup to promote this exciting competition. To have the cup back in Joe’s home club is really special and we look forward to the kick off of the competition this summer.”
Eoghan Cahill of Offaly Hurling said, “I believe the Joe McDonagh Cup is a very important competition for the five teams competing. It is a competition that gives you a chance at silverware and also the chance to get back up competing with the best."
"From a personal point of view, the tiered systems gives counties who are outside the top 10 and competing in the Joe McDonagh cup a great chance to advance to the All-Ireland knock-out stages. You are also guaranteed four games which is good for players as we want to play as many matches as we can.”
This is the final event of a roadshow in the lead-up to the official launch of the Joe McDonagh, Christy Ring, Nicky Rackard and Lory Meagher Cup Competitions. The roadshow saw each of the cups making their first ever visit to their namesake club locations along with the representatives from each team competing in that tier.
The first games of the Joe McDonagh competition kick off with Antrim against Kerry and Offaly against Laois on Saturday, May 11.
The official launch of the Joe McDonagh, Christy Ring, Nicky Rackard and Lory Meagher Cup Competitions will take place on Thursday, May 9 in Croke Park.