With March here it is time again for the Allianz Primary Schools’ hurling competitions.
Cumann na mBunscoileanna is starting its 78th year of competition. By the end of March all 43 teams will have begun their campaigns in search of glory in four divisions and two cup competitions.
By the June Bank Holiday, the destination of the titles will be pretty much decided. The aim is to have all competitions over by early June.
The Cumann-na-mBunscoileanna year began with the AGM in January. This year the ’Board will be led by St Patrick’s de la Salle teacher, Noel Power, who took over from Conor Brennan, Ballyragget.
Noel served as vicechairman last year and will lead the board for the first time.
Long-time member, Tom Duggan (Carrickshock) was elected as vice-chairman, while secretary, Jim Fennelly (Danesfort) and treasurer, Dick O’Neill (Gowran) continue in their roles.
Dermot Dunphy (Urlingford) was elected as PRO, again returning to a position he has held before.
A highlight of the competition draws was the inclusion of a new school, Kilkenny Model School for the first time. The Castlecomer Road school will take part in the Roinn D 13-a-side competition and will play their games in the O’Loughlin Gaels grounds.
The Allianz Roinn A Toymaster Hurling League is the premier division. Teams involved are St Canice’s (defending champs), Gaelscoil Osraí , St Patrick’s de la Salle, St Mary’s NS, Thomastown, Kilmanagh and Gowran (Roinn B champions 2016).
The top two teams will qualify directly for the semi-finals with the other four entering the quarter-finals. Round 1 is fixed for Wednesday, March 15 - Gaelscoil Osraí v Thomastown, St Patrick’s v Kilmanagh, Gowran v St Canice’s.
The Allianz Roinn B Toymaster Hurling League involves 13 teams divided into two groups, North (6) and South (7).
First round draws
The first round fixtures for Wednesday, March 15 are -North, Urlingford v Clara, Tullaroan v Kilkenny CBS, Bennettsbridge v Castlecomer; South, Tullogher-Rosbercon v Piltown, Ballyhale v Mooncoin Schools, Graiguenamanagh-Skeoughvosteen v Bunscoil McAuley-Rice Callan; Glenmore a bye.
The Allianz Roinn C Top Oil Hurling League involves 15 teams. First round fixtures for March 15 - North, St John’s v Freshford, Coon-Muckalee v Conahy, Ballyragget v Clogh-Moneenroe, Lisdowney a bye; South, Rower-Inistioge v Dunnamaggin, Mullinavat v Goresbridge-Paulstown, Windgap v Danesfort, Carrickshock v Kilmacow.
In the Allianz Roinn D Top Oil Hurling League (13-a-side), the Model School will begin their first hurling campaign with the second teams of some of the city schools. St Canice’s will also have a third team.
Last year’s Roinn E 11-a-side champions and runners-up, Johnstown and Galmoy compete at 13-a-side this year and the near neighbours are sure to have a mighty battle again.
Round one draw, Wednesday, March 22 - North, Gaelscoil B v St Canice’s B, Kilkenny Model School v Galmoy, Johnstown a bye; South, Slieverue v Kilkenny CBS B, St Patrick’s B v St Canice’s C.
The Allianz Corn de Bhaldraithe Country Cup will begin for a number of schools on Wednesday, April 5.
The Corn de Bhaldraithe or Country Cup is for all teams in Roinn A and Roinn B outside Kilkenny City.
Fifteen teams in total with the draw completed that each team now knows its prospective path to a final.
The first round threw up some interesting mixes, with a few long journeys and the odd local derby. No north or south division here, purely luck of the draw!
Round 1 - Tullaroan v Mooncoin Schools, Urlingford v Gowran, Bunscoil McAuley Rice Callan v Glenmore, Ballyhale v Castlecomer, Thomastown v Tullogher-Rosbercon, Clara v Graignamanagh-Skeoughvosteen, Piltown v Kilmanagh, Bennettsbridge a bye.
The Tommy O’Brien Cup took all Roinn C teams out of the Corn de Bhaldraithe and into their own competition.
A major difference here is that city schools are not excluded from playing, and most city B squads take part too.
This gives 23 teams in total and a preliminary round will be played to eliminate seven teams. The seven victors go into Round 1.
Like the Corn de Bhaldraithe, the initial draw is complete and follows through to the final stage so teams can see the path ahead.
The draw for the Tommy O’Brien Cup is - preliminary round (April 5) A Danesfort v Dunnamaggin; B Model School v Johnstown; C Kilkenny CBS B v St Patrick’s B; D Conahy v St Canice’s B; E Freshford v Rower-Inistioge; F Gaelscoil Osraí B v Coon-Muckalee; G Ballyragget v Galmoy
Round 1 (April 27) - A v Carrickshock; B v Kilmacow; C v Goresbridge-Paulstown; D v St John’s; E v Mullinavat; F v Lisdowney, G v Slieverue; Windgap v Clogh-Moneenroe.
It is full steam ahead towards the March 15 start!
All league fixtures are now available on the Kilkenny GAA website under Schools Hurling on the competitions link.
The cup fixtures will follow shortly as will the football fixtures for September.
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