A WELL-ATTENDED February executive meeting had grading of senior and intermediate players, plus championship draws and formats, highest on its agenda.
The game’s flagship competitions will command much of the limelight from March to August with the greater urgency at the moment focused on the intermediate grade.
After grading adjustments were decided on, a total of 18 players will vie for the 2015 intermediate championship.
New inclusions are the Murphy cousins – Sean, automatically up as county junior A champion and, Kieran, Templemartin – and also Raymond Ryan and Trevor O’Meara, both down from senior ranks, the latter indeed a former two-time intermediate champion.
Dropping down to junior level from last year’s list are major figures from former years, Bill Daly and Eamonn Bowen (Sen), and also Liam O’Sullivan, Jimmy O’Donoghue. For the first time, the intermediate championship will have a round-robin format to determine the quarterfinal qualifiers.
It’s 18 contenders are divided into two of groups of five and two of four all of which will test the resources of estimable fixtures secretary, Harry Jennings, whose task it is to co-ordinate 32 group-stage scores within a limited time frame given the All-Ireland final in the grade is scheduled for Lyre in mid-July.
The groupings are as follows: A, Wayne Callanan, Gavin Twohig, Donal O’Riordan, Sean Murphy, Kieran Murphy; B, Willie O’Donovan, Nicholas Carey, Michael Bohane, John Shorten, Pat Butler; C, Patrick O’Driscoll, Trevor O’Meara, Patrick O’Donoghue, PJ Cooney; D, Denis O’Driscoll, David Fitzgerald, Raymond Ryan, Andrew O’Leary.
Venues for all scores have been allocated and dates will beannounced shortly. An early March start is envisaged and all players will be notified of their schedule. Their cooperation, of course, is vital to the success of the competition.
A few stand-out fixtures may have a bearing on the make-up of the last eight. In Group A, Gavin Twohig and Donal O’Riordan meet at Rosscarbery, Wayne Callanan and Gavin Twohig clash at Templemartin while the Murphys, Sean and Kieran, go head to head at Newcestown.
Group B has an enticing battle at Ardcahan between Michael Bohane and John Shorten while former seniors Nicholas Carey and Pat Butler meet at Doneraile.
Trevor O’Meara’s meeting with PJ Cooney at Carrignavar will have a big bearing on the qualifiers form Group C while the Marsh Road clash of Raymond Ryan and Denis O’Driscoll will catch the eye in Group D.
In senior ranks, 12 contenders will make their bid. The only newcomer here is last year’s intermediate champion Seamus Sexton. They have allocated four groups of three with two from each coming through to the quarter-final knock-out rounds.
Again a whole series of interesting match-ups await although venues and dates will not be announced until the March executive meeting.
The groupings are as follows: A, Gary Daly, David Murphy, Edmund Sexton; B, James O’Donovan, Killian Kingston and defending champion, Aidan Murphy; C, John Creedon, Brian Wilmot, James Buckley; D, Seamus Sexton, Martin Coppinger, Christy Mullins.