CRUCIAL WEEKEND AS ALLIANZ HURLING LEAGUE HEADS FOR FINISHING STRETCH
It’s Round 4 weekend in the Allianz Hurling League and while most of the knock-out/promotion/relegation places will be decided in the final round on March 18/19, it’s likely that some slots will be filled after the latest series of games.
DIVISION 1 GROUP A: CORK SEEKING FOURTH SUCCESSIVE WIN
Sunday: Clare v Galway, Ennis, 1.45; Westmeath v Limerick, TEG Cusack Park, 2.0; Cork v Wexford, Pairc Ui Chaoimh, 3.45.
Cork haven’t won the Division 1 title for 25 years but have given every indication that they intend to end that barren run this season with three wins from their first three games with Limerick, Galway and Westmeath.
A win at home to Wexford on Sunday would put them in a strong position to earn a semi-final place heading into the final round where they will play Clare.
Wexford beat Cork by three points in last year’s League. Wexford won all five group games last year but have found it tougher this year, losing two of their first three games.
Limerick (4 pts) are well-positioned as they prepare to face Westmeath who have lost all three games to date. They came up from Division 2A this year and have struggled at the higher level, losing to Clare, Wexford and Cork.
Clare (4pts) v Galway (2pts) clashes are always very intense and no doubt Sunday’s clash will continue that pattern. Galway won by two points in last year’s League. They need to win to have any chance of reaching the semi-finals.
Aidan McCarthy (Clare)………….1-33 (20 frees)
Killian Doyle (Westmeath)……….0-30 (22 frees, 1’65’)
Evan Niland (Galway)…………….0-21 (16 frees, 2 ’65s’)
Shane Kingston (Cork)……………1-14 (0-10 frees)
Micheál Houlihan (Limerick)…….0-16 (12 frees)
Ross Banville (Wexford)………….1-11 (9 frees, 2 ‘65s’)
Conor McDonald (Wexford)……..2-6
Tom Morrissey (Limerick)………..0-12 (3 frees)
Conor Cooney (Galway)………….0-12 (9 frees)
Declan Dalton (Cork)………………1-8 (0-2 frees)
Mark Rodgers (Clare)………………3-2
DIVISION 1 GROUP B: TIPP CLOSE TO SECURING SEMI-FINAL SPOT
Saturday: Tipperary v Waterford, FBD Semple Stadium, 7.15
Sunday: Antrim v Laois, Corrigan Park, 1.0; Kilkenny v Dublin, UPMC Nowlan Park, 1.45
Eight points (Kilkenny) and seven points (Waterford) were enough to earn semi-final places in this group last year. Tipperary (6pts), Waterford (5pts), Kilkenny (4pts) and Dublin (3pts) are all in contention for knock-out places with Tipp guaranteed to take one if they win on Saturday.
They have won their first three games by an average of ten points, leaving them full of confidence as they prepare for the Deise challenge. Waterford are also unbeaten, but dropped a point against Dublin. Waterford beat Tipperary by ten points in last year’s Allianz League and by four points in the Munster championship.
Kilkenny beat Dublin by 13 points in last year’s League and by 17 points in the Leinster championship. Dublin last beat Kilkenny in the League in 2015 but it has been black-and-amber all the way since then. They beat Dublin in the 2016-17-20-21-22 Leagues.
Antrim and Laois have lost their first three games so their clash on Sunday will decide who faces a relegation play-of with the bottom side in Group A. They were in the same position last year, with Laois winning by a point. Antrim subsequently secured Division 1 status by beating Offaly in a relegation play-off.
Donal Burke (Dublin)………………1-32 (16 frees, 1-0 pen, 1’65’)
Billy Drennan (Kilkenny)………….1-29 (0-22 frees, 0-1 ‘65’)
Jason Forde (Tipperary)………….2-25 (0-15 frees, 0-2 ‘65s’, 0-1 s/l))
Conal Cunning (Antrim)…………..0-25 (20 frees, 1’65’)
Stephen Maher (Laois)…………….0-17 (0-14 frees, 0-1 ‘65’)
Gearoid O’Connor (Tipperary)…..0-15 (9 frees, 1’65’)
Austin Gleeson (Waterford)……..0-15 (11 frees)
Stephen Bennett (Waterford)……2-7 (2-0 pens, 0-7 frees)
Martin Keoghan (Kilkenny)……….1-9
Jake Morris (Tipperary)……………2-5
DIVISION 2A: KILDARE, OFFALY, KERRY IN THREE-WAY BATTLE
Saturday: Offaly v Carlow, Glenisk O’Connor Park, 2.0; Kildare v Kerry, Newbridge, 2.0.
Sunday: Down v Derry, Ballycran, 1.0
The battle for the two slots in the final have developed into a three-way contest between Kildare, Offaly (6pts each) and Kerry (4pts). Carlow (2pts) still have an outside chance but in addition to winning their last two games they would need other results to also go their way. Carlow last played Offaly in the League (2A) in 2021, losing by 2-25 to 1-17.
Kildare’s attempt to win a fourth successive game takes place in Newbridge where they meet Kerry, who dropped their first points when losing to Offaly by a point in the last round. Kerry beat Kildare by eight points in last year’s League.
Down v Derry is a bottom-of-the-table clash between two counties who have yet to pick up a point. Derry lost their first three games by an average of 13 points while Down’s average defeat was by seven points.
DIVISION 2B: MEATH AND TYRONE IN TABLE-TOPPING CLASH
Saturday: London v Sligo, McGovern Park, Ruislip, 1.0; Tyrone v Meath, Omagh, 2.0.
Sunday: Donegal v Wicklow, Letterkenny, 1.0.
Tyrone (4pts) v Meath (6pts) is a top-of-the-table clash between two counties who arrived in 2B this season from different directions. Meath were relegated from 2A while Tyrone came up from 3A.
Wicklow (4pts) are also in the promotion hunt and could strengthen their case in Letterkenny against Donegal, who have lost two of three games. Donegal beat Wicklow by five points in last year’s League.
Both London and Sligo are seeking their first points. Sligo beat London by nine points last year.
DIVISION 3A: TOP v BOTTOM AS MONAGHAN TAKE ON MAYO
Sunday: Roscommon v Armagh, Dr, Hyde Park, 2.0; Mayo v Monaghan, Hastings Insurance MacHale Park, 2.0; Louth v Fermanagh, Darver, 2.0
Monaghan lead the way on six points as they prepare to head to Castlebar to take on Mayo, who are bottom-of-the-table with one points. It’s a very disappointing return as they were expected to do well, having been in 2B last year.
Armagh (4pts) take on Roscommon (2pts), who beat them by a point last year. The winners of Fermanagh (3pts) and Louth (2pts) will stay in the promotion race after their first League clash for two years. Louth won by ten points in 2021.
DIVISION 3B: CAVAN v LEITRIM IN TOP CLASH
Saturday: Longford v Lancashire, Glennon Brothers Pearse Park, 2.0; Cavan v Leitrim, Kingspan Breffni, 2.0.
It’s a top-of-the-table clash in Kingspan Breffni as Cavan and Leitrim (both on four points) meet. Cavan have played three games to Leitrim’s two. Leitrim beat Cavan by seven points last year.
Longford and Lancashire are both on two points – Longford won the corresponding tie last year by nine points.
ALLIANZ HURLING LEAGUE 2023 – FIXTURES & RESULTS
Round 1: Galway 0-23 Wexford 0-15; Cork 2-17 Limerick 0-22; Clare 4-27 Westmeath 0-14.
Round 2: Limerick 1-27 Clare 2-18; Cork 4-24 Galway 3-22; Wexford 2-23 Westmeath 1-15.
Round 3: Cork 2-21 Westmeath 0-21; Clare 6-25 Wexford 1-18; Limerick 0-24.Galway 0-19.
Round 4: March 12: Clare v Galway; Westmeath v Limerick; Cork v Wexford.
Round 5: March 19: Clare v Cork; Westmeath v Galway; Limerick v Wexford
Round 1: Kilkenny 1-18 Antrim 0-15; Waterford 2-19 Dublin 3-16; Tipperary 2-32 Laois 0-18.
Round 2: Waterford 2-31 Laois 2-19; Tipperary 2-24 Kilkenny 1-21; Dublin 0-28 Antrim 2-19.
Round 3: Tipperary 2-23 Dublin 0-24; Waterford 1-22 Antrim 0-17; Kilkenny 0-34 Laois 1-18.
Round 4: March 11/12: Tipperary v Waterford; Antrim v Laois; Kilkenny v Dublin.
Round 5: March 19: Antrim v Tipperary; Dublin v Laois; Waterford v Kilkenny.
Round 1: Offaly 0-21 Down 0-18; Kerry 2-22 Derry 0-14; Kildare 0-25 Carlow 0-11.
Round 2: Kerry 0-18 Carlow 1-13; Kildare 1-17 Down 0-19; Offaly 0-33 Derry 1-15.
Round 3: Offaly 0-22 Kerry 1-18; Carlow 5-24 Down 1-19; Kildare 2-23 Derry 0-19.
Round 4: March 11/12: Down v Derry; Kildare v Kerry; Offaly v Carlow
Round 5: March 19: Carlow v Derry; Kerry v Down; Offaly v Kildare.
Round 1: Donegal 1-16 Sligo 0-15; Tyrone 1-26 London 3-18; Meath 2-24 Wicklow 2-14.
Round 2: Donegal 1-18 London 2-13; Wicklow 0-15 Tyrone 0-12; Meath 0-22 Sligo 1-13.
Round 3: Meath 1-23 Donegal 0-16; Wicklow 0-23 London 0-14; Tyrone 2-15 Sligo 0-11.
Round 4: March 11/12: London v Sligo; Tyrone v Meath; Donegal v Wicklow.
Round 5: March 19: Donegal v Tyrone; London v Meath; Sligo v Wicklow.
Round 1: Monaghan 2-13 Fermanagh 1-14; Roscommon 0-17Mayo 0-17 Armagh 3-18 Louth 1-16.
Round 2: Fermanagh 2-18 Mayo 2-16 Louth 2-16 Roscommon 0-15; Monaghan 2-17 Armagh 0-22.
Round 3: Monaghan 1-19 Louth 1-15; Armagh 2-16 Mayo 0-21; Fermanagh 1-14 Roscommon 1-14.
Round 4: March 12: Roscommon v Armagh; Louth v Fermanagh; Mayo v Monaghan.
Round 5: March 18: Armagh v Fermanagh; Monaghan v Roscommon; Louth v Mayo.
Round 1: Cavan 1-13 Longford 0-14; Leitrim 1-21 Warwickshire 3-6
Round 2: Cavan 2-20 Warwickshire 2-9; Leitrim 3-21 Lancashire 3-16.
Round 3: Longford 2-10 Warwickshire 0-6; Lancashire 3-11 Cavan 0-14.
Round 4: March 11: Longford v Sligo; Cavan v Leitrim
Round 5: March 18: Lancashire v Warwickshire; Leitrim v Longford.
March 25/26: Division 1 semi-finals; Division 2A, 2B, 3A, 3B semi-final (one in each); Relegation play-offs.
April 1/2: Division 2A,2B,3A,3B finals.
April 8 or 9: Division 1 final