The GAA today launched the 2019 McDonagh, Ring, Rackard and Meagher Cups at Croke Park in the company of players from all 25 counties competing in these senior hurling competitions.
The Joe McDonagh Cup begins this weekend with the meetings of Antrim and Kerry, and Offaly and Laois, while Westmeath will get their campaign underway next weekend.
Also this weekend, the Christy Ring and Nicky Rackard Cups commence. Down, Derry, Donegal, Wicklow, Roscommon, Kildare, Meath and London all have round one Ring Cup action, while Armagh, Monaghan, Louth, Sligo, Longford, Warwickshire, Tyrone and Mayo get the Rackard Cup up and running.
Fermanagh, Cavan, Lancashire and Leitrim get the Lory Meagher Cup off to a start on Saturday May 18.
This year’s competitions will also see an enhanced level of coverage on GAA.ie, with more match previews, player interviews, match reports and features each week.
All four finalists will be played at Croke Park with the Ring, Rackard and Meagher Finals scheduled for an action-packed afternoon on June 22, with the Joe McDonagh Cup final acting as the curtain raiser to the Leinster senior hurling final at Croke Park on June 30.
Furthermore, games from Round 3B of the Joe McDonagh Cup will be streamed live on GAANOW, the GAA’s own OTT platform. Details on the coverage of the Final will follow.
Children under the age of 16 are free into all group stage games in each competition.
Uachtarán CLG John Horan said: “I am delighted to formally launch the 2019 editions of the McDonagh, Ring, Rackard and Meagher Cups and extend best wishes to the 25 teams who will take part in the coming weeks of hurling action.
“These competitions honour the memory and legacy of hurling heroes who were icons of the great game.
“They also offer a real pathway for progress for the teams taking part and we’ve seen that through the inspirational progress of Carlow’s 2017 Christy Ring cup triumph and then their 2018 Joe McDonagh Cup success to give them a place in the Liam MacCarthy Cup.
“I look forward to seeing the competition unfold and am delighted that a major programme of promotion is in place to showcase these stars.”
Today’s event was organised in conjunction with the Gaelic Players’ Association.
GPA CEO Paul Flynn 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 and we’re delighted to be working with the GAA on this launch. We’re delighted to see such a great turnout from our members today to kick off the Joe McDonagh, Christy Ring, Nicky Rackard and Lory Meagher competitions. We’re looking forward to an exciting summer of hurling starting this weekend.”