We preview the final round of the Allianz hurling league.
We have put together a preview ahead of round five of the hurling league. 13 games will take place over the course of the weekend with many heavyweight clashes in store.
Allianz Hurling League Division 1B.
Clare vs Kilkenny, Cusack Park, Ennis, 3 pm, Johnny Murphy (Limerick), Eir Sport.
Kilkenny are assured to finish top of division 1B. Brian Cody’s side have won their opening four matches and face a Clare team in a good run of form.
The Banner county have won their last two games and Brian Lohan will be quietly pleased with his county’s recent performances.
Cody has selected a full-strength team for this encounter and the veteran boss takes every match very seriously.
This has the potential to be a brilliant game of hurling and Kilkenny might just edge it.
Wexford hoping to maintain their good record against Dublin.
Wexford vs Dublin, Chadwicks Wexford Park, Wexford, 3 pm, Cathal Mc Allister (Cork), GAAGO.
Dublin have not beaten a top eight team since June 2019. Mattie Kenny’s side have lost their last seven games against teams ranked ahead of them.
Wexford manager Davy Fitzgerald is suspended after being sent to the stand against Antrim in the previous game.
Fitzgerald’s group may be too strong for Dublin and home advantage might swing it for the hosts. Dublin have not beaten Wexford in the league or championship since 2016.
Antrim vs Laois, Corrigan Park, Belfast, 3 pm, John Keenan (Wicklow), GAAGO.
This is really a dead-rubber tie. Antrim’s survival is secured whilst Laois are sure to be in a relegation play-off against Westmeath.
Antrim played very well against Wexford in round four and will hope to carry that form into this match.
Kildare are one win away from promotion.
Mayo vs Kildare, Elverys MacHale Park, Castlebar, 2 pm, Kevin Jordan (Tipperary).
This is a big game with the winner promoted. Kildare have played some outstanding hurling in their first three matches and should seal promotion in Castlebar.
Derry vs Roscommon, Owenbeg, 2 pm, Colum Cunning (Antrim).
Tyrone vs Sligo, Healy Park, Omagh, 2 pm, Kevin Brady (Louth).
Longford vs Monaghan, Glennon Brothers Pearse Park, Longford, 2 pm, Brian Keon (Galway).
Cork vs Galway, Pairc Ui Chaoimh, Cork, 1:45 pm, Paud O’Dwyer (Carlow), TG4 app.
This match could be the best hurling game of the weekend. Both sides could still finish top the group however, it is dependent on results elsewhere. It is one of the harder league hurling ties to preview.
If Cork win and Waterford beat Tipperary then Kieran Kingston’s side will finish top of the table. If Cork win and Waterford and Tipperary draw then scoring difference will come into play.
Galway have to better Tipperary’s result to top the group. Shane O’Neill’s side played brilliantly against Waterford and will look to replicate that performance here.
Cork really struggled against Limerick and were blown out of the water in the opening half. This should be a free-flowing, high-scoring contest and Galway might just shade it.
Waterford have not beaten their local rivals in five years.
Waterford vs Tipperary, Walsh Park, Waterford, 1:45 pm, James Owens (Wexford), GAAGO.
Tipperary’s league faith is in their own hands – if the Premier county defeat Waterford they will top the table.
Liam Sheedy’s side have not won a league title since 2008. This game could be a dress-rehearsal for the Munster championship semi-final as both of these teams will meet there if Waterford overcome Clare in the quarter-final.
Waterford have won two and lost two of their opening four games. The 2019 All-Ireland champions are unbeaten this year and should maintain their good record here.
Waterford have not beaten Tipperary since 2016.
Westmeath vs Limerick, TEG Cusack Park, Mullingar, 1:45 pm, Chris Mooney (Dublin), GAAGO.
Westmeath have really struggled in division 1A and are in a relegation play-off. Further misery is likely to come against a Limerick side who looked back to their best against Cork in round four.
Carlow vs Kerry, Netwatch Cullen Park, Carlow, 1 pm, Nathan Wall (Cork).
Down vs Meath, Ballycran, 1 pm, Thomas Gleeson (Dublin).
Wicklow vs Offaly, Baltinglass, 1 pm, David Hughes (Carlow).