GAA president Larry McCarthy insists the Tailteann Cup will 'take off' after the first draw for the competition took place this morning.
A total of 16 teams went into the hat with New York set to join at the quarter-final stage. Competition favourites Cavan welcome Down to Kingspan Breffni while London face a trip West to Andy Moran’s Leitrim. Wexford face Offaly in what is a repeat of their Leinster clash that saw the Slaneysiders come out on top while Westmeath and Laois face off in a midlands derby.
Inter-county football has had a troubled relationship with grades, with the Tommy Murphy Cup proving deeply unpopular with participating counties but with the semi-finals and finals to be played in Croke Park and shown live on TV, McCarthy is confident that this format will engage teams and their supporters.
“That it takes off like a meteorite,” McCarthy told RTE radio when asked what his hope was for the competition. “And that it is a great competition and some county grabs it and marches through the summer and has a wonderful occasion in Croke Park when we play the semi finals and final.
"It’s the local rivalries that are going to be manifested by this and rather like the league which is always considered to be a good competition the level of play will be at the same level for teams. It will take off I have no doubt.”
The championship will be played on a knockout, winner on the day basis with teams kept in their ‘Northern’ and ‘Southern’ sections until the semi-final, when there will be an open draw. The final is scheduled for Saturday July 9.
The first round qualifier draw of the All-Ireland series takes place on Monday May 23 with Mayo, Tyrone, Armagh, Cork, Clare, Louth, Meath and Monaghan involved.
Tailteann Cup draw – First named teams at home:
Northern Section Round 1
Longford v Fermanagh
Leitrim v Antrim
Sligo v London
Cavan v Down
Southern Section Preliminary Round
Wexford v Offaly
Southern Section Round 1
Wexford/Offaly v Wicklow/Waterford
Carlow v Tipperary
Laois v Westmeath
*New York receive bye into quarter-finals