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National League: Three teams that need a win this weekend

Ahead of the weekend’s National League action in hurling and football, we look at the teams in desperate need of two points

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The group stages of the Allianz Hurling League conclude this weekend, while it is a crucial round of games in football. But what teams need two points?

Dublin footballers (vs Meath)

The Dubs travel to a sold-out Páirc Tailteann on Saturday looking to get back on track after defeat in Derry.

The Leinster champions picked up four wins from their opening four games, and a one-point loss to a genuine All-Ireland contender is no cause for panic just yet.

However, they were far from convincing against Cork and Clare in previous weeks.

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Defeat in Navan would be a significant dent to their promotion hopes, with the Rebels and Louth snapping at their heels.

Victory over the Royals would set things straight, and they could even be promoted this weekend if other results go their way.

Donegal footballers (vs Mayo)

Donegal find themselves at the foot of the Division 1 table once more, after Tyrone’s home victory over Kerry two weeks ago.

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All is not well off the field in Donegal GAA circles, and Paddy Carr’s team would dearly love a victory with league leaders Mayo coming to town.

Tír Chonaill are the only team left on three points, with Kerry, Tyrone and Monaghan all one point ahead of them.

The relegation battle promises to go right down to the wire, but if Donegal taste defeat in round six, they will have a mountain to climb on the final weekend with a trip to Roscommon.

Delivering a result on Sunday is crucial to their survival hopes.

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Kilkenny hurlers (vs Waterford)

With the Division 1 relegation play-off set between Westmeath and Laois, and Cork and Tipperary already having sealed top spots in the groups, the main thing down for decision on the final weekend of the Hurling League is the semi-final berths.

Limerick, Galway and Clare are vying for second place in Division 1A, while Kilkenny host Waterford in a de facto quarter-final on the other side.

One suspects Davy Fitzgerald would not be heartbroken if the Déise fell short in their title defence. For Derek Lyng, however, at least one more game would do no harm whatsoever as the Cats prepare for the championship.

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The Nore-siders have always held the league in high regard, and they have welcomed back more front-liners with each passing week this season.

A win on Sunday would set up a meeting with the Rebels in the last four, and Kilkenny could do with another outing in the springtime to gather momentum.

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