Shane Stapleton and Fintan O’Toole preview the National Hurling League clash between Tipperary and Waterford.
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
Hurling League: Three teams that need to win this weekend
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