The Henry Shefflin era will get underway for the Galway hurlers in Ballinasloe in January, with the Kilkenny great squaring off against his clubmate Michael Fennelly.

The Ballyhale men offer the most eye-catching fixture of the opening round of the Walsh Cup, as the Tribemen welcome Fennelly's Offaly to east Galway on 9 January.

Shefflin's appointment electrified the hurling scene in the county and his first competitive game will be against another man who would be considered a potential successor to Brian Cody, when the legendary Cats manager finally calls time on his record-breaking spell as Kilkenny manager.

Antrim and Dublin are the other counties in Group A, with Cody's Kilkenny, Darragh Egan's Wexford and Laois making up the three-team Group B.

The winners of the two groups meet in a decider on 30 January,

In the O'Byrne Cup, Tomas Ó Sé's first coaching outing in senior inter-county will be preparing John Maughan's Offaly for a Group A encounter with Dublin.

Louth and Longford make up the rest of the group, with Wexford, Wicklow, Meath and Laois in Group B, while Kildare, Westmeath and Carlow make up Group C.

The winners of Group A go straight to the final on 22 January, with the winners of Group B and Group C meeting in a semi-final.