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Saint & Verney midterm hurling report

Shane Stapleton and Michael Verney give their midterm reports for the National Hurling Division 1 A and B teams

Shane and Michael give their midterm reports for the National Hurling Division 1 teams.

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.

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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.

Top Scorers
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

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DIVISION 1 GROUP B: TIPP CLOSE TO SECURING SEMI-FINAL SPOT
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.

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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.

Top Scorers
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

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