As last year’s winners, Westmeath prepare to take their chance in the same group as Galway, Tyrone and the Ulster Final losers in the Sam Maguire Cup. The battle to replace them as Tailteann Cup winners begins this weekend with eight first round games.
SATURDAY: DOWN v WATERFORD, PAIRC ESLER (Time tbc)
Waterford were eliminated from the Tailteann Cup in the preliminary round last year, beaten by Wicklow 3-16 to 1-10. They lost to Tipperary in this year’s Munster championship. Down were knocked out of the Tailteann Cup by Cavan in the first round last year. They beat Donegal and lost to Armagh in this year’s Ulster championship.
SATURDAY: CAVAN v LAOIS, KINGSPAN BREFFNI, 4.45PM
Cavan beat Down, Fermanagh and Offaly to reach last year’s Tailteann Cup final where they lost by four points to Westmeath. Laois lost their first round game to Westmeath by a point. Cavan lost to Armagh in this year’s Ulster quarter-final; Laois beat Wexford and lost to Dublin in Leinster.
SATURDAY: LIMERICK v LONGFORD, TUS GAELIC GROUNDS, 4.45PM
Limerick, who qualified for the All-Ireland qualifiers last year as Munster runners-up, are in the Tailteann Cup for the first time. Longford lost to Fermanagh by three points in their first game last year. Fermanagh lost to Derry in this year’s Ulster championship while Longford lost to Offaly in the Leinster first round.
SATURDAY: MEATH v TIPPERARY, PAIRC TAILTEANN, 6.30PM
Meath are in the Tailteann Cup for the first time; Tipperary lost to Carlow in their opening game last year. Meath lost to Offaly in this year’s Leinster championship; Tipperary beat Waterford and lost to Kerry in Munster.
SUNDAY: WICKLOW v CARLOW, ECHELON PARK, 4.00PM
They meet for the third time this year, having previously clashed in Allianz League Division 4 (2-10 each) and in the first round of the Leinster championship when Wicklow won by 2-12 to 0-10 in Aughrim.
SUNDAY: ANTRIM v LEITRIM. CORRIGAN PARK, 1.00PM
They meet for a second successive year in the Tailteann Cup. Leitrim won by 2-14 to 1-12 last year. They lost the next round to Sligo in extra-time. Leitrim lost to New York in this year’s Connacht championship; Antrim lost to Armagh in the Ulster championship.
SUNDAY: OFFALY v LONDON, GLENISK O’CONNOR PARK, 2.00PM
Offaly reached the Tailteann Cup last four last year, beating Wexford, Wicklow and New York before losing to Westmeath in the semi-final. They beat Longford and Meath in this year’s Leinster championship before losing the semi-final to Louth. London lost to Sligo (extra-time) in the Tailteann Cup first round last year and were eliminated from this year’s Connacht championship by Sligo.
SUNDAY: FERMANAGH v WEXFORD, BREWSTER PARK, 1.00PM
Fermanagh beat Longford and lost to Cavan in last year’s Tailteann Cup. They lost to Derry in this year’s Ulster championship. Wexford lost to Offaly in last year’s Tailteann Cup preliminary round and were eliminated