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Dublin: 11 °C Monday 22 December, 2014

It’s back: The inter-county GAA season returns this weekend

The 2013 campaign begins with the pre-season Gaelic Football fare across the four provinces this weekend.

Fitzgerald Stadium will host tomorrow's meeting of Kerry and IT Tralee.
Fitzgerald Stadium will host tomorrow's meeting of Kerry and IT Tralee.
Image: INPHO/Donall Farmer

FREEZING SUNDAY AFTERNOONS.

Empty county grounds.

Experimental team line-ups.

It can only mean the pre-season fare that hails another year of inter-county GAA action.

The Christmas celebrations have just concluded but all around the country this weekend, football sides will begin to shake off the winter cobwebs and begin their 2013 competitive campaigns.

Across the four provinces there will be 24 counties and 12 third-level outfits in action in their opening games of the New Year. The action kicks off in Munster tomorrow afternoon with new Kerry boss Eamonn Fitzmaurice sending his team into action against IT Tralee in the McGrath Cup.

On Sunday then, there are three games in Connacht in the FBD League, eight games in Leinster in the Bord Na Móna O’Byrne Cup, two games in Munster in the McGrath Cup and four games in Ulster in the Power NI Dr McKenna Cup.

Here’s the lowdown on the fixture details for this weekend’s action.

CONNACHT
Sunday January 6th
FBD League Round 1
Section A: Sligo v IT Sligo, Ballinode, Sligo, 1.30pm, (Ref: Eamonn O’Grady, Leitrim); Galway v NUI Galway, Tuam, 2pm, (Ref: John Molloy, Galway).
Section B: Roscommon v Leitrim, Elphin, 2pm, (Ref: Liam Devenney, Mayo).

LEINSTER
Sunday January 6th
Bord Na Móna O’Byrne Cup
Group A: Longford v Meath, Ballymahon, 2pm, (Ref: Paul Kneel, Louth); Louth v UCD, Drogheda, 2pm, (Ref: Joe Curley, Meath).
Group B: Carlow v Dublin, Carlow, 2pm, (Ref: Fergal Barry, Kildare); Wicklow v DCU, Greystones, 2pm, (Ref: John Hickey, Carlow).
Group C: Offaly v Laois, Tullamore, 2pm, (Ref: Brian O’Shea, Dublin); Westmeath v Athlone IT, Páirc Ciarán, Athlone, 2pm, (Ref: Damien Brazil, Offaly).
Group D: Wexford v Dublin IT, Bellefield, Enniscorthy, 2pm, (Ref: Brendan Cawley, Kildare); Kildare v Carlow IT, Newbridge, 2pm, (Ref: David Gough, Meath).

MUNSTER
Saturday January 5th
McGrath Cup Preliminary Round:
Kerry v IT Tralee, Fitzgerald Stadium, Killarney, 2pm, (Ref: Keith O’Brien, Tipperary).
Sunday January 6th
McGrath Cup Preliminary Round:
Cork v Cork IT, Cork IT Grounds, 2pm, (Ref: Eddie Walsh, Kerry); Clare v Limerick IT, Milltown-Malbay, 2pm, (Ref: James Bermingham, Cork).

ULSTER
Sunday January 6th
Power NI Dr McKenna Cup
Section A: Monaghan v St Mary’s, Clones, 2pm, (Ref: Eamon McHugh, Tyrone).
Section B:
Cavan v Down, Kingspan Breffni Park, 2pm, (Ref: Niall Cullen, Fermanagh).
Section C: Antrim v UUJ, Casement Park, 2pm, (Ref: Con Reynolds, Down); Tyrone v Derry, Healy Park, Omagh, 2pm, (Ref: Martin McNally, Monaghan).

Dessie Dolan returns to Westmeath team

Damien Cahalane included in Cork football side for 2013 opener

Moroney replaces Fitzgerald as acting CEO of Munster GAA

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