IT'S getting to the business end of the Allianz Hurling League with Round 4 (of five) to be played next weekend, prior to the completion of the group games on the following weekend.
ALLIANZ HURLING LEAGUE DIVISION 1 GROUP A (ROUND 4): TABLE-TOPPING CORK TO ADD TO LIMERICK’S WOES?
Saturday: Limerick v Cork, LIT Gaelic Grounds, 7.15; Sunday: Westmeath v Tipperary, TEG Cusack Park, 2.0; Galway v Waterford, Pearse Stadium 3.45.
Limerick v Cork is a real glamour tie as the reigning Allianz League and All-Ireland champions host the table-topping Rebels (5 pts). Having taken only one point from a possible six, Limerick can’t retain the League title and are in urgent need of a morale-boosting win against opposition they will meet again in the Munster semi-final on July 3.
Limerick beat Cork by two points in last year’s League, while the Rebels won by three points in 2019. Cork scored a total of 14-65 in their first three games this year against Waterford, Tipperary and Westmeath.
Galway, Tipperary and Waterford (all on four points) will be hoping for wins and a Cork slip-up to give themselves a chance of leading the table heading into the final round. Tipperary look well-placed to maintain their unbeaten run away to Westmeath, who have lost all three games so far by a combined total of 66 points.
Waterford have done well against Galway in recent times, beating them in their last three League meetings as follows: 2019: Waterford 1-18 Galway 2-13 (Group game); Waterford 1-18 Galway 0-19 ( semi-final); 2020: Waterford 0-17 Galway 0-16 (Group game).
ALLIANZ HURLING LEAGUE DIVISION 1 GROUP B (ROUND 4): KILKENNY TAKE CONTROL
Saturday: Antrim v Wexford, Corrigan Park; Dublin v Clare, Parnell Park, 5.15; Sunday: Kilkenny v Laois, UPMC Nowlan Park, 1.45.
Kilkenny’s win over Wexford on Sunday took them to the head of the table, having won all three games, a run they will be fancied to extend when they host Laois, who lost their first three games. Kilkenny, the only team in Division 1 to have won their first three games, beat Laois by nine points in last year’s League.
Wexford (4 pts) head to Belfast to take on Antrim (2pts) in what will the first League clash between the counties since 2015 when the Model men won by a point. Clare (one win from three games) will be away to Dublin (two wins). The Banner men beat Dublin by nine points in last year’s League.
ALLIANZ HURLING LEAGUE DIVISION 2A (ROUND 4) OFFALY CLOSING IN ON PROMOTION
Saturday: Kerry v Wicklow, Austin Stack Park, 4.0; Sunday: Offaly v Down, Bord Na Mona O’Connor Park, 2.0; Meath v Carlow, Pairc Tailteann, 2.0
Having won their first three games by a combined total of 48 points, Offaly (6pts) have their promotion fate in their own hands heading into the last two rounds. A win over Down would ensure they stayed at the top of the table ahead of their last game against Wicklow. Kerry (4pts) are still in the promotion hunt and look in a good position to maintain it against a Wicklow team, who have yet to pick up a point. Kerry beat Wicklow by eight points in last year’s League.
Offaly and Down didn’t meet in the 2020 League but the Mourne men pulled off a famous victory in the Christy Ring Cup, winning on penalties when the game ended level after extra-time.
It has been a disappointing campaign for Carlow, who started the season with high hopes of returning to Division 1 at the first attempt. However, after beating Wicklow, they lost to beat Down and Offaly and are effectively out of the promotion race. Meath have also won one and lost two.
ALLIANZ HURLING LEAGUE DIVISION 2B (ROUND 4): LILYWHITES HAVE THE EDIGE IN PROMIOTION RACE
Sunday: Roscommon v Kildare, Dr. Hyde Park, 2.0; Derry v Donegal, Celtic Park, 2.0
Kildare, Mayo and Donegal are all on four points but the Lilywhites have played only two games whereas the others have played three each. Kildare have a scoring difference of +42, underlining the excellent form they displayed against Donegal and Derry.
They will fancy their chances of maintaining a promotion push against Roscommon, who have lost their two opening games. Kildare beat Roscommon by 5-21 to 2-12 last year.
Donegal will fancy their chances of staying in the promotion race against a Derry team that has lost their opening two games by a total of 17 points.
ALLIANZ HURLING LEAGUE DIVISION 3B (ROUND 3) LOUTH AND FERMANAGH IN PROMOTION SHOOT-OUT
Sunday: Leitrim v Cavan, Avant Money Pairc Sean Mac Diarmada, 2.0; Louth v Fermanagh, Darver, 2.0.
Louth (4pts) host Fermanagh (3pts) in what is a divisional decider as Cavan (1pt) and Leitrim (0pt) are out of contention. Louth were relegated from 3A last year and are hoping for a quick return while Fermanagh are on a much better run this year, having finished bottom of 3B in 2020.
ALLIANZ HURLING LEAGUE DIVISION 1
Donal Burke (Dublin)............0-32 (0-24 frees, 0-3 ‘65s’)
Jason Forde (Tipperary).........1-29 (0-25 frees, 0-1 ‘65’)
Patrick Horgan (Cork)............3-22 (0-15 frees, 0-3 ‘65s’)
Evan Niland (Galway)..............0-30 (0-26 frees)
TJ Reid (Kilkenny)....................1-25 (0-20 frees, 0-2 ‘65s’)
Aidan McCarthy (Clare).........1-22 (0-16 frees, 0-1 ‘65’)
Ciaran Clarke (Antrim)..........2-17 (0-15 frees, 0-1 ‘65’)
Stephen Bennett (Waterford)..1-20 (0-12 frees, 0-3 ‘65s’)
PJ Scully (Laois)........................0-22 (0-18 frees, 0-2 ‘65s’)
ALLIANZ HURLING LEAGUE: RESULTS & FIXTURES
DIVISION 1 GROUP A
Round 1: Galway 5-34 Westmeath 1-16; Limerick 0-20 Tipperary 0-20; Cork 5-22 Waterford 1-27.
Round 2: Tipperary 0-22 Cork 2-16; Waterford 1-22 Westmeath 1-19; Galway 0-26 Limerick 1-17.
Round 3: Tipperary 2-19 Galway 0-20; Cork 7-27 Westmeath 0-15; Waterford 1-22 Limerick 0-21.
Round 4: June 5: Limerick v Cork; June 6: Westmeath v Tipperary; Galway v Waterford.
Round 5: June 13: Westmeath v Limerick; Waterford v Tipperary; Cork v Galway.
DIVISION 1 GROUP B
Round 1: Kilkenny 1-20 Dublin 0-18; Antrim 1-21 Clare 0-22; Wexford 4-17 Laois 0-10.
Round 2: Dublin 0-30 Laois 1-19; Wexford 2-19 Clare 1-21; Kilkenny 1-28 Antrim 3-15.
Round 3: Dublin 1-26 Antrim 1-18; Kilkenny v Wexford - postponed; Clare 2-27 Laois 1-17.
Round 4: June 5: Antrim v Wexford; Dublin v Clare; June 6: Kilkenny v Laois.
Round 5: June 12: Antrim v Laois; Clare v Kilkenny; Wexford v Dublin.
Round 1: Kerry 4-18 Down 0-19; Offaly 3-25 Meath 3-9; Carlow 3-19 Wicklow 0-17.
Round 2: Meath 0-20 Wicklow 0-11; Down 3-20 Carlow 3-18; Offaly 2-28 Kerry 0-13.
Round 3: Kerry 1-24 Meath 0-24; Offaly 2-25 Carlow 1-17; Down 3-26 Wicklow 0-14.
Round 4: June 5: Kerry v Wicklow; June 6: Offaly v Down; Meath v Carlow.
Round 5: June 13: Wicklow v Offaly; Down v Meath; Carlow v Kerry.
Round 1: Donegal 1-13 Roscommon 1-11; Mayo 0-21 Derry 1-16.
Round 2: Kildare 4-29 Donegal 0-14; Mayo 1-20 Roscommon 1-9.
Round 3: Donegal 4-18 Mayo 0-13; Kildare 5-17 Derry 1-14.
Round 4: June 6: Roscommon v Kildare; Derry v Donegal.
Round 5: June 12: Mayo v Kildare; Derry v Roscommon.
Round 1: Armagh 2-21 Longford 0-16; Tyrone 1-25 Monaghan 2-13
Round 2: Sligo 2-24 Armagh 1-18; Longford 2-22 Tyrone 2-22.
Round 3: May 29: Sligo v Longford; May 30: Monaghan v Armagh.
Round 4: June 12: Tyrone v Sligo; Longford v Monaghan.
Round 5: June 19: Monaghan v Sligo; Armagh v Tyrone.
Round 1: Cavan 1-19 Fermanagh 2-16; Louth1-16 Leitrim 2-11.
Round 2: Fermanagh 1-19 Leitrim 1-11; Louth 0-19 Cavan 2-12.
Round 3: June 6: Leitrim v Cavan; Louth v Fermanagh.