2024 Electric Ireland Celtic Challenge ready for lift-off:

The 2024 Electric Ireland Celtic Challenge competition gets underway on Saturday 6th April with 37 teams from all 32 counties taking part in one of the most innovative and developmental initiatives within the GAA calendar.

The Electric Ireland Celtic Challenge has played an integral role in expanding the games programme for top tier and developing counties since 2016. The group format provides teams with the opportunity to play three group games over the space of three weekends.

Quarter-Final pairings are performance based with counties playing up to six games in the competition. Counties have the opportunity to enter multiple teams with the success of this model clearly evidenced in 2023 as there was success right across the tiers as East Cork and Wicklow Blue joined Tipperary, Antrim and Westmeath in claiming honours.

Cork, who have again entered four sides in the Celtic Challenge, along with one team in the All-Ireland Minor Championship, can only select U17 players and are providing a great opportunity for the players in their pathway.

Sides such as Tipperary and Kildare have also entered second teams to ensure that participation of players across their respective counties remains high.

The Electric Ireland Celtic Challenge is named in recognition of the original juvenile hurling club known as ‘Celtic’. The Divisional trophies are named in memory of 6 of the 14 civilians who were shot dead in Croke Park on Bloody Sunday, 21st November

Michael Hogan [aged 24], Tom Hogan [aged 21], John William Scott [aged 14], William Robinson [aged 11], Jerome O’Leary [aged 10] and Michael Feery.

Uachtarán CLG Jarlath Burns said: “The Electric Ireland Celtic Challenge is one of the most innovative competitions in the GAA. “For our developing counties it provides an opportunity to face teams they would otherwise not have the chance to play against. Our traditionally stronger counties get to ensure that the player pathway is extended for those ambitious players who want to represent their counties but who may not make their Minor Championship panel.

“Across all grades we are seeing senior Inter-county panels which are littered with players who have played in previous Celtic Challenge competitions since its inception in 2016 and it provides opportunities for players to achieve success across different levels.

“We are delighted that all 32 counties will be involved again this year, and I would like to thank Electric Ireland for their continued support of the Celtic Challenge”.

Director of Coaching & Games Shane Flanagan said: “The Celtic Challenge since its inception has shone a light on the benefits of proper developmental competitions for this age cohort, and supports young players to make the transition to play senior Inter-county.

Equally, we see plenty of evidence of where their experiences have ensured hurling has remained a key part of their lives in committing to and sustaining the Club game in many of the non-traditional areas.

It’s great to have all counties involved once more and our aim should be in the next number of years to increase the number of teams.”

Speaking at the launch, Aiste Petraityte, Brand & Sponsorship Manager for Electric Ireland, said: “At Electric Ireland, supporting the development of Gaelic Games players is our passion, so we are thrilled to be lending our support again to this year’s Electric Ireland Celtic Challenge Cup.

“We appreciate the significance of this competition for young players and know just how important these games are for those involved, in helping them to develop and thrive, on and off the field of play. We wish everyone taking part the best of luck in this season’s matches.”