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Offaly Boss Slams Integrity Of O'Byrne Cup After Louth Withdrawal

Offaly Boss Slams Integrity Of O'Byrne Cup After Louth Withdrawal
By Eoin Harrington
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Offaly took an impressive win in round two of the O'Byrne Cup on Wednesday night, coming out on top against Dublin in Parnell Park.

Liam Kearns' Offaly side took an 0-11 to 0-08 victory away to the defending champions, helping them into the semi-finals this weekend.

Kearns was not pleased at the conclusion of the game, however, when he learned of Offaly's semi-final opponents.

Offaly will face Louth in the semi-finals of the competition, despite the Wee County having failed to fulfil their Wednesday night assignment against Wexford.

Louth reportedly pulled out of the game due to an issue with squad availability, but were guaranteed to progress to the semi-finals despite the withdrawal.


Speaking after Offaly's win in Dublin on Wednesday night, Kearns was deeply unhappy with the format of the competition allowing teams to gain an advantage by withdrawing from fixtures, and said that his team were now on the back foot. He went so far as to question the integrity of the O'Byrne Cup as a whole.

Offaly v Louth in contentious O'Byrne Cup semi-final

Offaly manager Liam Kearns spoke to Clubber TV after his team claimed an excellent three-point victory over Dublin in the O'Byrne Cup on Wednesday night. The win at Parnell Park sets up a contentious semi-final against Louth, and Kearns was fuming with the situation his team find themselves in.



Kearns said that Louth's decision to withdraw from the game against Wexford had given them ample rest time to come into the weekend's semi-final fresher than Offaly, and said that it brought the integrity of the O'Byrne Cup into question.

He would even threaten to pull Offaly out of the competition in protest:

To be honest with you, I wouldn't mind dropping out of the competition now at this stage. We've had two hard games in four days, and they're putting us out again in a third game in eight days.

Our opponents have been sitting at home for the whole week - they withdrew from the competition. 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.

They're going to have a week of rest, and we've had a really hard game here. Four days later, we've to go out and play them - and in Louth, as well.

The integrity of the competition is that everybody should be treated the same. If Louth went ahead and played a match tonight wherever they were supposed to play it, then fair enough. We'd both be going out in four days time, having played a hard game in tough conditions. But they didn't. And that means now that all of the advantages are with Louth.

Kearns' comments cast doubt on Offaly's continued participation in this year's O'Byrne Cup, with their semi-final against Louth only days away. The frustration of the Offaly manager was plain to see, and no doubt it is shared by his squad.

The winners of this weekend's Offaly v Louth fixture - if it does go ahead - will face Longford in the final of the O'Byrne Cup, after their draw with Meath on Wednesday night.

SEE ALSO: University Of Galway And UL Lay Down Marker In Opening Round Of Sigerson Cup


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