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Dooley to manage Leinster as inter-pro series returns

Story by Tom Kelly

Friday, 16th December, 2011 5:31pm

Former Offaly boss Joe Dooley has been appointed as manager of the Leinster hurling team for next February's revived Inter-provincial series.

Dooley, who won three All-Ireland medals as a player with Offaly, will manage the Leinster hurlers in their semi-final against Munster at Nowlan Park.

The Clareen native will be assisted in the role by ex-Wexford and Leinster manager John Conran and former Kilkenny midfield star Derek Lyng, who retired from inter-county hurling last year.

Dooley has managed Ireland in recent hurling/shinty internationals.

Four-time Meath All-Ireland winning boss Sean Boylan will manage the Leinster football team. Boylan, who recently became the Royal County's director of football, will take charge of Leinster in their semi-final against Munster at Parnell Park.

The semi-finals in both football and hurling will take place on the weekend of February 18, with the hurling decider to be played the following weekend and the football final to be played on the first weekend of March.

Meanwhile, Leinster GAA have announced a new partnership with Bord na Móna who will sponsor the O'Byrne Cup and Shield, Walsh Cup and Shield, and Kehoe Cup and Shield.

This new three-year sponsorship deal, beginning in 2012, will see a title sponsor for the first time in the competitions' 57-year history and it 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.

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.

Speaking 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 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," he added.

The Series begins with the O'Byrne Cup for football on January 8 and the Walsh and Kehoe Cups for hurling on January 22.

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