There were plenty of talking points from the opening weekend of the Allianz Hurling League that add to the narrative ahead of this weekend’s fixtures.
The biggest game of the weekend takes place on Saturday as All Ireland champions, Limerick, welcome Tipperary to the Gaelic Grounds for their Round 2 clash. Liam Sheedy’s men recorded a first-round victory over Clare last weekend, revenge for their Munster League final loss, however, even the Tipperary manager admitted that they were flattered by the controversial second-half dismissal of Tony Kelly.
John Kiely has been open about the fact that he wants to use the Allianz Hurling League to blood new players, although it would seem that he is also desperate for results. Limerick have, for the second week in a row, named 11 All Ireland starters in their team with one player, Conor Boylan, set to make his Allianz League debut.
Clare will have to make do without Tony Kelly as they host Kilkenny in Ennis on Sunday. His one-match ban was upheld by the CHC and will not feature until the Cork game. It is a blow for the Banner County who will feel they need a win in order to keep their title hopes alive.
The reigning Allianz League Division 1 champions, Kilkenny, will be hoping to make it two-from-two following their opening round win over Cork. The Rebel county will surprisingly poor in that 2-18 to 0-17 point win, relying heavily on the free-taking ability of Patrick Horgan. They will have a chance to redeem themselves against Wexford in Pairc Ui Chaoimh on Sunday.
In Division 1B, there should be comfortable wins for Waterford, Galway and Dublin as they face off against Laois, Carlow and Offaly respectively. The Faithful county found themselves on the receiving end of a 27-point hammering by Waterford last week and Dublin won’t prove an easier challenge as they hit three goals past Carlow last Saturday.
Limerick v Tipperary on Saturday night is the opening fixture of RTE’s live Allianz League coverage. The Saturday Game Live begins at 6.30pm.
TG4 will be providing live coverage of Clare v Kilkenny on Sunday beginning at 1.30pm. There will also be deferred of Cork v Wexford later in the day.
Saturday, February 2
Hurling League Division 1A: Limerick v Tipperary, Gaelic Grounds, 7pm
Hurling League Division 2B: Kildare v Warwickshire, Newbridge, 1.30pm
Sunday, February 3
Hurling League Division 1A: Clare v Kilkenny, Cusack Park, 2pm
Hurling League Division 1A: Cork v Wexford, Pairc Ui Chaoimh, 3pm
Hurling League Division 1B: Laois v Waterford, Portlaoise, 2pm
Hurling League Division 1B: Carlow v Galway, Netwatch Cullen Park, 2pm
Hurling League Division 1B: Offaly v Dublin, Bord Na Mona O’Connor Park, 2pm
Hurling League Division 2A: London v Mayo, McGovern Park, Ruislip, 12.30pm
Hurling League Division 2A: Kerry v Westmeath, Austin Stack Park, 2pm
Hurling League Division 2A: Meath v Antrim, Trim, 2pm
Hurling League Division 2B: Wicklow v Down, Aughrim, 12.30pm
Hurling League Division 2B: Derry v Donegal, Owenbeg, 2.30pm
Hurling League Division 3A: Tyrone v Lough, Healy Park, 12.30pm
Hurling League Division 3A: Roscommon v Monaghan, Dr Hyde Park, 12.30pm
Hurling League Division 3A: Armagh v Lancashire, Crossmaglen, 2.30pm
Hurling League Division 3B: Leitrim v Sligo, Leitrim Centre of Excellence, Annaduff, 2pm
Hurling League Division 3B: Fermanagh v Longford, Brewster Park, 2pm