Five clashes today in O'Byrne Cup

The O'Byrne Cup gets underway in Leinster today with five clashes down for decision in the opening round.

The O'Byrne Cup gets underway in Leinster today with five clashes down for decision in the opening round.

Louth face DIT in Drogheda, Longford host a fancied UCD side, Athlone IT visit Kilkenny and Leinster finalists Laois play Offaly in Portlaoise.

Hugh Kenny's Wicklow side host Dublin in Aughrim, but the fixture has lost much of its glamour following the Dubs' decision not to enter their senior team.

Instead the Metropolitans will be represented by their U21 side.

U21 manager Paddy Canning is preparing his squad for the U21 championship, which gets underway in March, so the Dubs have named a strong side.

Bryan Cullen, who is still eligible at U21 level, is the only notable absentee. The senior star is away on holiday.

Meanwhile, Laois boss Mick O'Dwyer welcomes back Stephen Kelly to the panel and the twin brother of All Star Tom is expected to feature today.

The attacker took a year out to give himself time to recover from injury after failing to cement a regular starting place in the side.

He could get his chance today as the O'Moore men are missing their Portlaoise players, who are preparing for next month's All-Ireland club semi-final.

Kieran Kelly and Derek Conroy have also returned to the panel.

Offaly could finally put last September's players strike behind them if they overcome Laois today.

Big guns Meath and Kildare are already through to the O'Byrne Cup quarter-finals, where they will play each other and Leinster champions Westmeath have received a bye. They will play the winners of the Longford/UCD clash.

DUBLIN (SF v Wicklow): D Mitchell; A Downes, N McGrath, D McCann; D Reilly, N Cooper, G Brennan; D Dineen, E Fennell; B Phelan, C Moore, G O’Meara; B Brogan, B Kelly, M Vaughan.

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