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Preview and predictions for round four of the hurling league

There are 13 hurling games taking place this weekend.

We have previewed every game ahead of a busy weekend of hurling, with 13 matches set to take place. The action begins at 3pm on Saturday and Limerick vs Cork should be the main attraction.

Hurling preview

Saturday.

Antrim and Wexford will be a very close contest.

Allianz Hurling League Division 1B.

Antrim vs Wexford, Corrigan Park, Belfast, 3 pm, Patrick Murphy (Carlow), TG4.

Antrim have a very good league record against Wexford. The Ulster side beat Wexford in the 2009 and 2012 league campaigns, while Wexford only beat them by one point in 2014 and 2015.

Antrim will have supporters present and Corrigan Park is a small stadium. A smaller crowd will really get behind the team and the atmosphere will be electric in the West Belfast venue.

Wexford were disappointing against Kilkenny and lost by 10 points. They will want to bounce back against Antrim but it is not the ideal game for Davy Fitzgerald’s side.

Antrim overcame Clare in round one and this will have been a game that Darren Gleeson’s side had targeted from before the start of the league.

Wexford might win this but it will be very tight.

Verdict: Wexford.

hurling preview

Dublin hurling game difficult to predict.

Dublin vs Clare, Parnell Park, Dublin, 5:15 pm, Colum Cunning (Antrim), Eir Sport.

Dublin are at a bit of a crossroads in hurling. Mattie Kenny’s side are at the stage where they are better than most teams in Ireland, but cannot buy a victory over any of the top eight teams.

Since losing to Laois in the 2019 Championship, Dublin have not been able to beat a top-eight side in the league or championship.

Parnell Park is usually a fortress for the Dublin hurlers. The absence of supporters diminishes that advantage but this is an ideal opportunity for both Dublin and Clare.

Clare started the league very badly with two losses but bounced back with a win over Laois to ease relegation fears.

Dublin have two league games left against Wexford and Clare. If Kenny’s charges win one or both of those games it will give them a lot of confidence ahead of the championship.

Verdict: Dublin.

hurling preview

Clash of the titans in Gaelic Grounds on Saturday.

Division 1A.

Limerick vs Cork, LIT Gaelic Grounds, Limerick, 7:15 pm, Alan Kelly (Galway), RTE and Eir Sport.

Limerick need a win here after failing to win any of their opening three matches. Cork beat Limerick in the 2019 Munster championship and Kieran Kingston’s side are unbeaten after three league games.

This is a dress rehearsal for the Munster championship semi-final and Limerick might be keen to not give too much away.

Cork have some fine hurlers available for selection and have brought through a lot of strong younger players. Limerick were relentless in 2020, winning all 13 of their competitive matches.

The fact that they’ve failed to win their last three games will irk John Kiely, and the All-Ireland champion’s last round clash against Westmeath could be a relegation semi-final if Cork win this encounter.

Cork are the side with momentum at the moment and Limerick will be without the services of Seamus Flanagan and Kyle Hayes.

This is a great opportunity for Cork to get one over their fierce rivals.

Verdict: Cork.

Division 2A.

Kerry vs Wicklow, Austin Stack Park, Tralee, 4pm, Kevin Jordan (Tipperary)

Kerry have won two of their first three league games while Wicklow have lost their last four matches. Shane Conway was back in action for Kerry against Meath and his side should have too much for relegation bound Wicklow.

Verdict: Kerry

hurling preview

Sunday.

Kilkenny should maintain winning form against Laois.

Division 1B.

Kilkenny vs Laois, UPMC Nowlan Park, Kilkenny, 1:45 pm, Rory McGann (Clare), TG4.

Kilkenny are unbeaten in seven of their last eight games and are going quietly under the radar. Brian Cody’s side looked excellent against Wexford in their last match.

Kilkenny face a Laois side who have lost their last six matches. Kilkenny should win this game comfortably.

Verdict: Kilkenny.

Division 1A.

Westmeath vs Tipperary, TEG Cusack Park, Mullingar, 2pm, Liam Gordon (Galway), TG4 app

Tipperary remain undefeated after three rounds of the league. The 2019 All-Ireland champions are in great form and should have far too much for a Westmeath side who have lost their opening three matches by a combined total of 66 points.

Verdict: Westmeath.

hurling preview

Repeat of 2017 All-Ireland final in Galway on Sunday.

Galway vs Waterford, Pearse Stadium, Galway, 3:45pm, Fergal Horgan (Tipperary), TG4.

Galway played some excellent hurling in their opening two league games before losing to Tipperary in round three.

This game is a repeat of the 2017 All-Ireland final which Galway won, though Waterford have emerged victorious when the sides met in the 2019 and 2020 league campaigns. It’s definitely a tricky hurling tie to preview.

Waterford are on a high after beating Limerick in their previous match and certainly will not fear Galway. Shane O’Neill’s side might just be a small bit too strong for them on this occasion.

Verdict: Galway.

Offaly will be on a revenge mission against Down.

Division 2A.

Offaly vs Down, Bord Na Mona O’Connor Park, Tullamore, 2pm, Shane Hynes (Galway).

This is a repeat of the 2020 Christy Ring Cup semi-final where Down stunned Offaly. Ronan Sheehan is doing a very good job with Down and they’ve won their last two matches against Carlow and Wicklow respectively.

Offaly will all but secure promotion back to division one if they win this encounter. Michael Fennelly is making progress with the team and the Midlands side might just have too much for an improving Down outfit.

Verdict: Offaly.

Meath vs Carlow, Pairc Tailteann, Navan, 2pm, Richie Fitzsimons (Offaly).

This match is really about preparation for the Joe McDonagh Cup as both sides are effectively safe from relegation and neither can be promoted. Carlow might edge it.

Verdict: Carlow.

Kildare should continue excellent progress against Roscommon.

Division 2B.

Roscommon vs Kildare, Dr Hyde Park, Roscommon, 2pm, Kevin Brady (Louth)

Kildare are a county going places in hurling. The reigning Christy Ring Cup champions have won their opening two matches by a combined total of 42 points and are on course for promotion. David Herity’s charges should be far too strong for Roscommon.

Verdict: Kildare.

Derry vs Donegal, Ballinascreen, 2pm, James Clarke (Cavan),

Derry lost the league finals in 2019 and 2020 but their target now is purely survival after losing their opening two games. Donegal are effectively safe having won two of their opening three matches.

Using the logic that Mayo beat Derry and Donegal beat Mayo by 17 points, you’d say that Donegal are in a better position to win this match.

Derry are at home however and will have supporters present so the Oak Leafers might do enough to win this game and ease relegation worries.

Verdict: Derry,

Division 3B.

Leitrim vs Cavan, Avant Money Pairc Sean Mac Diarmada, Carrick on Shannon, 2pm, Michael Kennedy (Tipperary),

Verdict: Leitrim

Louth vs Fermanagh, Darver, 2pm, Caymon Flynn (Westmeath).

Verdict: Fermanagh,

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