THE KERRY HURLERS have been drawn in a group with Meath and Down in this year’s Joe McDonagh Cup as they bid to bounce back from last year’s final defeat.

Kerry hurling captain Daniel Collins

Source: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

The GAA have announced the draws for the lower-level hurling competitions this evening with Kerry taking on the Royals and the Mourne County in Group B in the second tier. Kerry lost out to Antrim in last December’s final in Croke Park, which was played as a curtain-raiser to the All-Ireland decider.

Group A will be contested by Kildare, the Christy Ring Cup champions from last year, along with Carlow and Westmeath.

Kildare players celebrate after their Christy Ring Cup final win last year.

Source: Lorraine O’Sullivan/INPHO

Each team plays one home and one away game with the top side in each group advancing to the final. The winners there are promoted to the Leinster senior hurling championship for 2022.

The bottom team in each group will clash in a relegation play-off.

In the Christy Ring Cup, Offaly have been pitted against Sligo in a two-team Group B. Wicklow, Roscommon and Derry will contest Group A.

Offaly hurling boss Michael Fennelly.

Source: Tom O’Hanlon/INPHO

A round-robin format is in place with the top two sides in Group A and the winners of Group B advancing directly to the semi-finals. The third-placed team in Group A and the second-placed side in Group B will be pitted against each other in a quarter-final.

The winner of the Christy Ring Cup final is promoted with the quarter-final loser relegated.

In the Nickey Rackard Cup it will be Donegal, Mayo and Leitrim in one group while Armagh and Tyrone are in the other. It follows the same format as the Christy Ring Cup.

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Finally in the Lory Meagher Cup it will be Longford, Louth and Monaghan in the first group while Fermanagh will take on Cavan in the other group.

The action starts in all the groups on the weekend of 26-27 June.

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