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National Hurling League: Three teams who need a win this weekend

Ahead of the second round of games in the 2023 National Hurling League, we look at three teams that need a win

Clare hurling

The Hurling League is up and running, and some teams are facing into an important weekend.

Clare (vs Limerick)

Meetings between the Banner and the Treaty lit up the hurling year of 2022.

In their three meetings in the Allianz League, Munster Championship and Munster final, it finished level after 70 minutes on each occasion.

Limerick’s extra-time victory in the provincial decider was a tough pill to swallow for Brian Lohan’s team. And they failed to truly recover in the All-Ireland series.

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For all the talk of the League being a phoney war this year, expect a full-blooded Banner effort at the Gaelic Grounds on Saturday night as they look to get one over on their great rivals.

Regardless of what teams are selected by the managers, an away win over the All-Ireland champions would be highly valuable to Clare.

Dublin (vs Antrim)

The Dubs made a bright start to life under Micheál Donoghue with an away draw against Waterford last Sunday. They will even have been disappointed with not bringing two points home from Dungarvan, after leading the 13-man Déise late in the contest.

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What would have been particularly pleasing for the new management was how Cian O’Sullivan and Alex Considine formed a dangerous partnership in the inside forward line.

They will now be looking to build on the promising start to the year, with Antrim making the trip to Parnell Park on Sunday afternoon.

Darren Gleeson’s charges will fancy their chances of causing an upset on their second trip to the Donnycarney venue in the space of a month.

The Dubs need to lay down a marker ahead of the Leinster Championship, and avoid a potential banana skin in the process to continue their progress under the 2017 All-Ireland winning manager.

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Kildare (vs Down)

The Lilywhites are at home to the Mourne County in Hawkfield on Sunday, hoping to make it two wins from two in Division 2A.

Last year’s Christy Ring Cup champions have made a flying start to the year, winning the Kehoe Cup before opening the League with a thundering 14-point away win over Carlow.

That victory will likely have put the rest of the division on notice that David Herity’s charges are contenders for promotion to the top tier for the first time in the county’s history.

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As they aim to vie with Kerry and Offaly at the top of the table, Kildare will need to take care of business on Down this weekend.

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