Portlaoise and Portarlington have both been drawn away from home in the first round of the Provincial Towns Cup to second teams from clubs whose first teams are in the All Ireland League.
Leinster players Sean O’Brien and Fergus McFadden drew the teams for the 13 ties and three byes.
Portarlington have a short trip down the road to Offaly to play Tullamore’s second fifteen and will go into the game as strong favourites. After gaining promotion from Division 2A last year, Portarlington have battled hard in Division 1B although they have won just two games so far. They come into the game off the back of a very narrow defeat to league leaders Ashbourne and their form is better than their league position suggests.
Tullamore’s second team have won just two of their games in Division 1B and have conceded two walkovers this year. Tullamore are the defending champions but their first team was promoted to the All Ireland League last year after winning Division 1A of the Leinster League.
Seven times finalists Portlaoise were draw away to Boyne’s second team who are mid table in the Metro League Division 2 with three wins from eight games with a points differential of -111.
Portlaoise ply their trade in Division 2B of the Leinster League and have won just two of their nine games so far this season in the league. However their form has improved of late with a narrow loss to leaders Gorey in their last game which followed on from a good win over Mullingar.
Portlaoise last appeared in the Towns Cup Final in 2004 having last won the prestigious tournament in 2003. In total Portlaoise have appeared in seven finals winning two with their other victory coming in 1982.
Beaten finalists last April Longford will be at home to Division 1B rivals Kilkenny in one of the standout ties of the opening round. Enniscorthy, Rathdrum and Co Carlow got byes in the second round.
First round games will be played on Sunday, January 26 with 2:30 pm kick offs.