After an exciting start to the 2023 Allianz Hurling League last weekend, it’s straight into Round 2 on Saturday and Sunday with 17 games on the packed agenda. It will be followed by a two-week break before Round 3.
DIVISION 1: LIMERICK’S EARLY SEASON WOES CONTINUE
Group 1: Saturday: Limerick v Clare, TUS Gaelic Grounds, 7.0; Sunday: Galway v Cork, Pearse Stadium, 2.0; Westmeath v Wexford, TEG Cusack Park, 2.0.
Limerick have been the dominant force in the championship in recent seasons – winning four of the last five All-Ireland titles – but have found the early rounds of the Allianz League difficult, having won none of six games in the first three rounds in 2021/22. A draw with Tipperary in 2021 was their best result. Otherwise they lost to Galway and Limerick in 2021 and to Wexford, Galway and Cork in 2022.
The pattern continued in the first round of this year’s competition when they were caught by a late Cork surge and lost by a point in Pairc Ui Chaoimh on Saturday night. They’re back in action next Saturday, hosting Clare who had a big win over Westmeath. Clare and Limerick drew in last year’s League (0-18 each) and again in the Munster final before John Kiely’s men took the title with an extra-time win (1-29 to 0-29).
Galway and Cork also met twice last year, with the Rebels winning the League tie (1-26 to 0-23) while Galway won the championship encounter by a point (2-19 to 1-21). Galway beat Cork in the 2021 and 2020 Leagues.
Wexford lost their first round League game for only the second time in seven seasons, going down to Galway last Saturday. They will be aiming at a quick return to winning ways against Westmeath, who found the step up from Division 2A very tough when losing by 25 points to Clare in Ennis.
Group 2: Saturday: Laois v Waterford, Laois Hire O’Moore Park, 5.0; Sunday: Kilkenny v Tipperary, UPMC Nowlan Park, 1.30; Dublin v Antrim, Parnell Park 3.30
Whether in League or Championship, Kilkenny v Tipperary is always a special occasion and with both under new management, supporters will be very keen to see how Sunday’s clash works out. Both got off to winning starts last weekend. Tipperary beat Kilkenny by a point in last year’s League. Dublin beat Antrim by four points in last year’s League and by eight points in the previous year.
Laois were hit for 2-32 in a 20-point defeat by Tipperary last weekend and head straight into another big test against Waterford on Saturday. They lost to Waterford by 33 points (7-31 to 0-19) last year.
DIVISION 2A: OFFALY, KERRY, KILDARE SHOW EARLY FORM
Sunday: Kerry v Carlow, Tralee, 2.0; Kildare v Down, Newbridge, 2.0; Offaly v Derry, Glenisk O’Connor Park, 2.0
Offaly, Kerry and Kildare scored 2-68 between them in impressive first round wins last Sunday and since all three avoid each other in Round 2 they will be hopeful of strengthening their promotion credentials by moving on to four points after two games. Kerry host Carlow, who they beat by seven points in last year’s League.
Offaly host Derry who lost heavily to Kerry last weekend. Kildare, who had 14 points to spare over Carlow, will have home advantage against Down, who lost to Offaly by three points. Kildare beat Down by a point in last year’s League.
DIVISION 2B: GOOD START BY PROMOTED TYRONE
Sunday: London v Donegal, McGovern Park, Ruislip, 1.0; Wicklow v Tyrone, Echelon Park Aughrim, 2.0; Sligo v Meath, Markievicz Park, 2.0.
Having won 3A last year, Tyrone made an impressive start at the higher level, beating London by eight points. It sets them up nicely for the trip to Aughrim to take on Wicklow, who lost to Meath by ten points. Meath, who dropped down from 2A last season, looked very impressive when running out 2-24 to 2-14 winners.
Donegal, who beat Sligo last weekend, will be hoping to repeat last year’s win over London. They won the 2022 clash by 17 points.
DIVISION 3A: ARMAGH PUT DOWN AN EARLY MARKER
Saturday: Armagh v Monaghan, Athletic Grounds, 2.0; Sunday: Roscommon v Louth, Dr.Hyde Park, 2.0; Fermanagh v Mayo, Brewster Park, 2.0;
Armagh, who missed out on promotion when losing last year’s final to Tyrone, gave an early indication that that they will be contention in against this season when beating Louth by eight points in Round 1. They will be at home to Monaghan, who they beat by 21 points last year. Roscommon beat Louth by 13 points last year. Mayo, who were relegated from 2B last year take on Fermanagh, who were promoted from 3B.
DIVISION 3B: CAVAN AND LEITRIM MAKE A GOOD START
Saturday: Cavan v Warwickshire, Kingspan Breffni, 1.0; Leitrim v Lancashire, Avant Money Sean Mac Diarmada, 2.0.
Cavan and Leitrim were first round winners against Longford and Warwickshire respectively and with both having home games in Round 2, they will be confident of enhancing their promotion hopes. Leitrim beat Lancashire by 14 points last year. Cavan and Warwickshire didn’t meet as Warwickshire were in 3A.
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: February 11/12; Limerick v Clare; Galway v Cork; Westmeath v Wexford.
Round 3: February 25: Cork v Westmeath; Wexford v Clare; Galway v Limerick.
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: February 11/12: Laois v Waterford; Kilkenny v Tipperary; Dublin v Antrim
Round 3: February 25/26: Dublin v Tipperary; Waterford v Antrim; Laois v Kilkenny.
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: February 11/12: Kerry v Carlow; Kildare v Down; Offaly v Derry.
Round 3: February 25/26: Kerry v Offaly; Carlow v Down; Derry v Kildare
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: February 11/12; London v Donegal; Wicklow v Tyrone; Sligo v Meath.
Round 3: February 19: Meath v Donegal; February 26: Wicklow v London; Sligo v Tyrone.
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: February 11/12; Fermanagh v Mayo; Roscommon v Louth; Armagh v Monaghan
Round 3: February 26: Monaghan v Louth; Armagh v Mayo; Fermanagh v Roscommon.
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: February 11/12: Cavan v Warwickshire; Leitrim v Lancashire.
Round 3: February 26: Warwickshire v Longford; Lancashire v Cavan.
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,£B semi-final (one in each); Relegation play-offs.
April 1/2: Division 2A,2B,3A,3B finals.
April 8 or 9: Division 1 final