Leinster GAA joins forces with Bord na Móna to boost hardship fund

Bord na Móna will be the title sponsor of the new Leinster GAA Series incorporating O’Byrne, Walsh and Kehoe Cups. The 3 Year deal will be major boost to Leinster GAA fund helping players, families and officials facing difficult times.

Bord na Móna and Leinster GAA are today (Monday 5th December) pleased to announce a new partnership with Bord na Móna sponsoring the O’Byrne Cup and Shield, Walsh Cup and Shield, and Kehoe Cup and Shield, to be known as the Bord na Móna Leinster GAA Series.  This exciting, new three-year sponsorship deal, beginning in 2012, will see a title sponsor for the first time in the competitions’ 57-year history and the multi-year deal will help finance the Leinster GAA’s hardship fund.   The Leinster GAA hardship fund is the only one of its kind offered by a provincial GAA council and has been in existence since the founding of the O’Byrne and Walsh Cups in 1954.  Previous assistance that helped local communities, families and players has included financing for medical bills, rebuilding family homes lost through tragic circumstances and financial payments to assist disabled players.  Bord na Móna’s sponsorship of the Leinster GAA Series gives a further boost to this fund in helping the wider Leinster GAA family.

Commenting on the new sponsorship, Gabriel D’Arcy, CEO Bord na Móna, said, “In these tough economic times it is especially pleasing that Bord na Móna’s sponsorship of the Leinster GAA series will be assisting the Leinster GAA in their tremendous work helping GAA families in difficult times. Bord na Móna has a long-standing presence and involvement with the people of Leinster in every county through its workers and customers; sponsorship of these competitions is a natural and engaging relationship that we are delighted to be starting in 2012.”

The O’Byrne Cup and Shield, Walsh Cup and Shield, and Kehoe Cup and Shield will become known as the Bord na Móna Leinster GAA Series and will feature 49 matches played between January and February.   Commenting at the launch, Martin Skelly, Chairman Leinster Council GAA, said, “The traditional start to the Leinster GAA inter-county year has received a significant boost with the Bord na Móna sponsorship. January is always an exciting time of year for the GAA teams and fans as they get ready for inter-county action once again.   Summing up the importance for the Kilkenny hurlers, manager, Brian Cody, once said, ‘Kilkenny’s first goal each year is to win the Walsh Cup’ and the Bord na Móna Leinster GAA Series is a great opportunity for managers to try out new players and for fans to get close-up to their heroes. But most importantly, the Bord na Móna sponsorship will help fund the Leinster GAA’s efforts in alleviating hardship among players, mentors and families (past and present) who are in financial difficulties.  In these tough times it is needed now more than ever before and Bord na Móna’s sponsorship of the Leinster GAA Series will contribute greatly to that.”

The Series begins with the O’Byrne Cup for football on 8th January and the Walsh and Kehoe Cups for hurling on 22nd January with the football and hurling finals on 29th January and 12th February respectively.  National broadcaster, TG4, will be broadcasting both live and deferred transmission games throughout the duration of the competitions.

About Leinster GAA

Leinster GAA is the largest provincial unit within the GAA, administering the 12 Leinster counties including Dublin.  The Province boasts a total of 567 clubs, ranging from the smallest rural club serving low population communities, to super-clubs embedded in high population urban areas. The province currently includes the two Senior All-Ireland champions, Kilkenny 2011 Senior Hurling All-Ireland Champions and Dublin, 2011 Senior All-Ireland Hurling Champions.

About the Bord na Móna Leinster GAA Series

The purpose of the O’Byrne, Walsh and Kehoe Cups was to raise funds to supplement the Players Injury Scheme.  Nowadays the funds generated are used to alleviate hardship among players / mentors / families (past and present) who are in financial difficulties.  The funds are administered through the twelve counties of the province. Apart from this, these Competitions provide an excellent opportunity for counties to prepare for the upcoming Leagues and Championships.  Also involved are the Colleges teams who are preparing for their upcoming Sigerson and Fitzgibbon Cup Competitions.

O BYRNE CUP S.F.

This trophy is named after Matt O Byrne, a GAA Official in Wicklow during the thirties and forties.  It was first competed for in 1954. Offaly were the first winners of the trophy  -  Kildare are the current holders.  All Leinster counties (except Kilkenny) have won this trophy at least once.  It has also been won by DCU, in 2010. Kildare top the winners’ list, having won the title on nine occasions.

WALSH CUP S.H.

This Competition was also inaugurated in 1954.  The Cup is named after Tom Walsh (Kilkenny). He was Chairman of the Leinster Council GAA from 1948 to 1950.  Mr. Walsh also served as Minister for Agriculture in the de Valera government of the early fifties. The Walsh Cup was first won by Wexford while the current holders are Dublin.  Kilkenny top the honours list with 17 titles while all Leinster Counties except Louth, Longford and Kildare have won it at least once.  The trophy was also also won by UCD (2004), Antrim (2008) and Galway (2010).

KEHOE CUP S.H.

This Competition was added to the fixtures calendar in 1977.  The trophy commemorates Michael Kehoe (Wexford) who was Leinster Council Chairman (1942 – 1944) and President of the GAA (1949 – 1952). Wexford won the first final in this competition while the trophy is currently held by Meath.  Westmeath tops the honours list with seven titles.  Eight other Leinster counties have also won this trophy while DIT (2007) and London (1987, 1988) were also victorious in the Competition.

SHIELD COMPETITIONS

The Shield Competitions, for first round losers in the three main competitions, were introduced in 2006.  The current holders of these trophies are:

O’ Byrne Shield: Dublin

Walsh Shield: Offaly

Kehoe Shield: Trinity College