Ryan Byrne/INPHO Offaly are the latest county to pull out of an O'Byrne Cup fixture.
The Faithful Departed

Integrity of competition 'diminished' as Offaly withdraw from O'Byrne Cup semi-final

Faithful County say Louth would not facilitate their request to move fixture back a week.

LAST UPDATE | Jan 13th 2023, 4:14 PM

LEINSTER COUNCIL GAA say that the integrity of the O’Byrne Cup has been “diminished” following Offaly’s decision to withdraw from the competition at the semi-final stage.

The Faithful County said in a statement earlier today that they were pulling out as their opponents Louth were unwilling to change the date of their tie. This comes on the back of several counties failing to fulfil fixtures in this season’s O’Byrne Cup, including Kildare, Carlow and Louth. 

Following on from Offaly’s decision, Leinster Council GAA have also released a statement, instructing counties to consider their fixture schedules before committing to the O’Byrne Cup in future.

“It is with regret that Comhairle Laighean has accepted the decision of Offaly County Committee not to fulfil this weekend’s O’Byrne Cup Semi Final fixture against Louth,” the statement begins.

“On the back of three similar walkovers, and despite counties having been informed of the proposed structure as far back as November, the integrity of the competition has now been diminished. In future, counties will have to give serious consideration to their fixture schedule before committing to participating.”

Earlier today, Offaly said they requested a new date for their semi-final against Louth, and suggested Friday 20 January or Saturday 21 January instead of this Sunday, 15 January. 

“Leinster GAA were willing to explore the idea, however Louth GAA could not facilitate our request,” the statement read.

The statement adds that Offaly has a large number of players involved in the Sigerson Cup next week and added a number of their players are sick or injured as well. They said they did not want to ask players to play a third match in eight days “in current conditions”. 

“Medical and player welfare advice was very much against that happening,” the statement read. 

Offaly manager Liam Kearns questioned the integrity of the O’Byrne Cup in a post-match interview on Wednesday night. Speaking to GAA streaming service Clubber, Kearns was unhappy at fixtures not being fulfilled in the competition.

Earlier this week, Louth opted not to play what would have been a dead rubber with Wexford, having already qualified from the group stage.

Kearns felt this decision handed an unfair advantage to their prospective semi-final opponents after his side had just come through a hard-fought win over Dublin.

“To be honest with you, I wouldn’t mind dropping out of the competition at this stage,” he said.

“We’ve had two hard games in four days. It will be a third game in eight days and our opponents have been sitting at home for the whole week.

“They withdrew from a competition here, they didn’t fulfil their last fixture. That’s the integrity of the competition shot as far as I’m concerned. If you enter a competition, you should have to fulfil your fixtures.” 

Meanwhile, Mayo boss Kevin McStay has named his side for his first competitive game in charge, tomorrow’s FBD League semi-final against Galway.

Some of the emerging players handed the chance to impress include corner-back Jack Coyne, wing-back Fenton Kelly and centre-forward Conor McStay.Midfielder Matthew Ruane captains the team.


1. Rory Byrne (Castlebar Mitchels)

2. Jack Coyne (Ballyhaunis), 3. Rory Brickenden (Westport), 4 Sam Callinan (Ballina Stephenites)

5. Fenton Kelly (Davitts), 6. Stephen Coen (Hollymount/Carramore), 7. Donnacha McHugh (Castlebar Mitchels)

8. Matthew Ruane (Breaffy – captain), 9. Jordan Flynn (Crossmolina Deel Rovers)

10. Fionn McDonagh (Westport), 11. Conor McStay (Ballina Stephenites), 12. Bryan Walsh (Ballintubber)

13. Aiden Orme (Knockmore), 14. James Carr (Ardagh), 15. Paul Towey (Charlestown Sarsfields)




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