In keeping with the Senior GAA move towards group stage matches rather than a straight knock out, Leinster GAA yesterday launched their senior school’s tournament with a similar look.
The Top Oil Leinster Schools Senior A Championship also has a new perpetual trophy named after Brother Bosco Mulhare who was a Patrician brother and a tireless supporter of colleges GAA across the province.
As part of the partnership with Top Oil each of the 240 schools affiliated to Leinster GAA will again receive free football and sports equipment.
Defending champions St Peter’s of Wexford have been drawn in a tough group with Dublin and Westmeath opponents in the battle to retain the title. No college has managed that since Meath’s St Patrick’s College in 2007.
St Peter’s will need to see off the attention of top Dublin school St Benildus College, and also Athlone Community College if they are to advance to the quarter-finals.
Last year’s beaten finalists, Moate CS – who have Dessie Dolan on their teaching and coaching staff, have been drawn in another difficult trio along with St Pat’s and St Mary’s of Knockbeg.
The draw was performed by Kildare senior football star and PwC all-star nominee Daniel Flynn – himself a former Leinster and All-Ireland winner with St Mary’s of Edenderry in 2012.
“This Top Oil Senior A Cup has a long and proud tradition in Leinster GAA,” said Leinster GAA Chairman John Bolger.
“By expanding its format to provide more games at a high-level of competition we believe it can be a crucial tool in the work we are doing to raise standards across the Province.”
“In Brother Bosco we also have someone worthy of recognition. He gave selflessly of his time and was passionate about Gaelic Games and left a positive legacy from his work with the Patrician order in Tullow, Newbridge and Ballyfin.”
“Like the GAA, we are invested in the communities which we are proud to serve,” added Gerard Boylan, CEO of Top Oil.
“We have a long tradition of links to Gaelic Games through our staff and are delighted to sponsor this important competition which develops young talent.
The new format ditches the straight knockout competition of previous years. In addition to the 18 teams in six opening round groups, there are also five combined schools teams representing Drogheda Schools, Dundalk Schools, Louth Schools, Offaly Schools and Wicklow Schools who will play off to reach the quarter-finals.
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