Offaly's hurling and football league fixtures confirmed
Offaly will begin their Allianz Hurling League Division 2A campaign away to Meath on Sunday, May 9.
This will be followed by games against Kerry (home), Carlow (away), Down (home) and Wicklow (away).
The meeting of Offaly and Down will take place at St Brendan's Park, Birr on June 6, while the clash with Kerry will be in played in Tullamore (see fixtures below).
When the league campaign is completed, Offaly will play Sligo in the Christy Ring Cup - a competition Michael Fennelly's charges will be widely expected to win this year.
The winner of the Offaly v Sligo game (due to be played on the weekend of July 3/4) will advance to the semi-finals of the five-team competition which has a rather unusual format.
Wicklow, Roscommon and Derry play in a round robin format in Group A, where each team will have one home and one away game. The top two teams in this group will qualify for the semi-finals and the third placed team will play a quarter-final against the loser of the Offaly v Sligo game.
The quarter-final will double up as a relegation play-off, with the loser dropping down to the Nicky Rackard Cup.
The winner of the Christy Ring Cup will be promoted to the Joe McDonagh Cup for 2022.
Meanwhile, the Offaly footballers will travel to Aughrim to play Wicklow in their first league game on Sunday, May 16.
Offaly will be at home in two of their three games in Division 3 South of the Allianz Football League. John Maughan's side are scheduled to play Limerick on May 22 and they will face Munster champions Tipperary on May 29 (see fixtures below).
In this condensed league format, the top two teams in Division 3 South and Division 3 North will meet in the semi-finals. The bottom two in each section will meet in two relegation semi-finals, and the losers of both those games will be relegated to Division 4 for 2022.
League finals will only be played on June 19/20 if the counties involved are not playing in the championship the following weekend. If they are in championship action the following weekend, joint winners will be declared.
Offaly have been drawn against Louth in the first round of this year's Leinster SFC.
The meeting with Offaly will be Mickey Harte's first championship game in charge of Louth. The former Tyrone supremo was appointed as Louth manager last year, in what was seen as a major coup by the Wee County.
The winners of the Offaly v Louth clash will progress to a quarter-final clash with Kildare. If Offaly get through, it would mean a repeat of last year's quarter-final against Kildare. The Lilywhites won an entertaining 2020 encounter by four points, after Offaly had defeated Carlow in a high-scoring opening round game.
The dates and venues for the Leinster SFC fixtures have yet to be confirmed. The Offaly v Louth match is almost certain to be played in a neutral venue.
2021 Allianz Hurling League Division 2A
Round 1 (May 9) Páirc Tailteann, Navan (2pm) Meath v Offaly
Round 2 (May 16) Bord Na Mona O’Connor Park, Tullamore (2pm) Offaly v Kerry
Round 3 (May 23) Netwatch Cullen Park, Carlow (2pm) Carlow v Offaly
Round 4 (June 6) St. Brendan's Park, Birr (2pm) Offaly v Down
Round 5 (June 13) County Grounds, Aughrim (1pm) Wicklow v Offaly.
2021 Allianz Football League Division 3 South
Round 1 (May 16) County Grounds, Aughrim (2pm) Wicklow v Offaly
Round 2 (May 22) Bord Na Mona O’Connor Park (3pm) Offaly v Limerick
Round 3 (May 29) Bord Na Mona O'Connor Park (3pm) Offaly v Tipperary.