Having won ten and drawn one of their last eleven Allianz Hurling League games in 1B and 1A, Waterford are in a rich vein of form as they prepare to host Dublin on Sunday.
It’s a vital weekend in all Allianz Hurling League Divisions as there will be only one round to come before the various promotion/relegation/quarter-finals places are settled on the following weekend.
Saturday (7pm) : Cork v Kilkenny, Pairc Ui Rinn
Sunday (2pm): Galway v Tipperary, Pearse Stadium; Waterford v Dublin, Walsh Park
Having won their first three games, defending champions, Waterford may already have done enough to qualify for the quarter-finals, ahead of the final two rounds, where they play Dublin and Galway. Derek McGrath’s men have won their last ten Allianz Hurling League games in a superb run.
They drew their first game against Limerick in last year’s Allianz Hurling League so their unbeaten Allianz Hurling League run extends to eleven.
Their last Allianz Hurling League defeat was in the 2014 Allianz Hurling League Division 1A play-of when they lost to Dublin, whom they play on Sunday. Waterford beat Dublin by 2-21 to 1-19 in last year’s All-Ireland quarter-final.
Cork host Kilkenny on Saturday night, hoping to pick up their first Allianz Hurling League points after defeats by Galway, Waterford and Dublin by a combined total of 19 points. It’s a very disappointing start and they now face a huge test against Kilkenny who have won two of three games. Kilkenny beat Cork by 1-22 to 2-17 in last year’s Allianz Hurling League.
Galway and Tipperary served up an epic contest in last year’s All-Ireland semi-final, which adds to the interest in Sunday’s clash in Pearse Stadium. Galway won last August but Tipperary have a good record against the Tribesmen in the Allianz Hurling League in recent times.
After winning in the opening round, both have lost their last two games so Sunday’s game is crucial as the losers could be facing a relegation play-off.
CLARE AND LIMERICK ON COURSE FOR SHOWDOWN
Saturday (5pm) Limerick v Laois, Gaelic Grounds
Sunday (1pm) Wexford v Offaly, Innovate Wexford Park
Sunday (2pm) Clare v Kerry, Ennis
It looks to be heading towards a Clare v Limerick showdown for the promotion prize in the final round. Both have won their opening three games and will be favourites to keep the runs going on home territory next weekend.
Limerick host Laois on Saturday, having already beaten Wexford, Kerry and Offaly. They beat Laois by four points in last year’s Allianz Hurling League.
Clare take on Kerry in Ennis on Sunday, with three wins over Offaly, Wexford and Laois behind them.
Wexford and Offaly are still very much in contention for a quarter-final place, which makes their clash on Sunday very interesting. Wexford beat Offaly in last year’s Allianz Hurling League.
WESTMEATH IN MAJOR PUSH TOWARDS FINAL
Saturday (2pm) Kildare v Westmeath, Newbridge
Sunday (2pm) Antrim v Carlow, Ballycastle
Sunday (1pm) Derry v London, Owenbeg
Westmeath have put themselves in prime position for a place in the final, having won all three games so far. They take on Kildare, who have taken one point from three games.
Sunday’s Antrim v Carlow (both have four points) is crucial in the battle to reach the final. Carlow beat Antrim by 2-18 to 1-11 in last year’s Leinster championship ‘round robin’ series.
MAYO HEAD PROMOTION DRIVE
Armagh v Meath, Athletic Grounds
Mayo v Wicklow, Elverys MacHale Park
Sunday 1.15pm Donegal v Down, Letterkenny
Mayo are the only county in the group with three wins from three games so they can clinch a place in the final if they beat Wicklow on Sunday. Wicklow are still looking for their first win. Meath, Down and Armagh are all on four points.
ROSCOMMON CLOSE IN ON FINAL SLOT
Saturday (2pm) Warwickshire v Roscommon, Pairc na hEireann
Sunday (2pm) Fingal v Monaghan, Swords; Louth v Tyrone, Darver
Roscommon have won all three games, while Fingal and Tyrone have won two of three.
LONGFORD, SLIGO MAKE EARLY SHOW
Leitrim v Sligo, Carrick-on-Shannon; Fermanagh v Longford, Brewster Park
Longford and Sligo got their campaigns off to a winning start last Sunday, with wins over Leitrim and Fermanagh respectively.
ALLIANZ HURLING LEAGUE: FIXTURES AND RESULTS
ALLIANZ HURLING LEAGUE DIVISION 1A
Round 1: Galway 1-27 Cork 1-21; Tipperary 1-23 Dublin 0-12; Waterford 0-14 Kilkenny 0-10.
Round 2: Dublin 1-17 Galway 0-13; Kilkenny 2-17 Tipperary 0-18; Waterford 0-20 Cork 1-14.
Round 3: Dublin 4-21 Cork 2-17; Kilkenny 0-21 Galway 1-14; Waterford 1-18 Tipperary 1-17.
Round 4: March 12: Cork v Kilkenny; March 13: Galway v Tipperary; Waterford v Dublin.
Round 5: March 20: Kilkenny v Dublin; Tipperary v Cork; Waterford v Galway.
ALLIANZ HURLING LEAGUE DIVISON 1B
Round 1: Clare 2-21 Offaly 0-15; Limerick 2-23 Wexford 0-15; Kerry 1-24 Laois 2-14.
Round 2: Limerick 1-19 Kerry 1-15; Offaly 1-17 Laois 0-15; Clare 0-18 Wexford 1-11.
Round 3: Clare 1-21 Laois0-16 Wexford 2-25 Kerry 0-8; Limerick 1-19 Offaly 0-14.
Round 4: March 12: Limerick v Laois; March 13: Wexford v Offaly; Clare v Kerry.
Round 5: March 20: Clare v Limerick; Laois v Wexford; Offaly v Kerry.
April 2/3: Top 1A v 4th 1B; 2nd 1A v 3rd 1B; 3rd 1A v 2nd 1B; 4th 1A v Top 1B.
ALLIANZ HURLING LEAGUE DIVISON DIVISION 2A
Round 1: Antrim 1-21 Derry 2-12; Westmeath 2-16 Louth 0-13; Carlow 2-13 Kildare 0-14.
Round 2: Antrim 3-25 Kildare 3-13; London 5-16 Carlow 1-11; Westmeath 2-11 Derry 0-13.
Round 3: London 1-11 Kildare 0-14; Carlow 2-25 Derry 0-9; Westmeath 2-11 Antrim 0-10
Round 4: March 12: Kildare v Westmeath; March 13: Derry v London; Antrim v Carlow.
Round 5: March 20: Carlow v Westmeath; Kildare v Derry; London v Antrim.
ALLIANZ HURLING LEAGUE DIVISON DIVISION 2B
Round 1: Down 2-16 Armagh 2-14; Mayo 1-14 Donegal 0-13; Meath 0-22 Wicklow 0-13.
Round 2: Armagh 2-14 Donegal 1-8; Down 4-12 Wicklow 0-11; Mayo 0-19 Meath 2-9.
Round 3: Armagh 2-17 Wicklow 2-15; Mayo 0-20 Down 0-16; Meath 2-35 Donegal 0-9.
Round 4: March 13: Armagh v Meath; Mayo v Wicklow; Donegal v Down.
Round 5: March 20: Armagh v Mayo; Down v Meath; Wicklow v Donegal.
ALLIANZ HURLING LEAGUE DIVISON DIVISION 3A
Round 1: Fingal 4-18 Warwickshire 1-6; Roscommon 1-16 Louth 1-14; Tyrone 2-18 Monaghan 2-13.
Round 2: Louth 2-11 Warwickshire 2-10; Roscommon 1-12 Monaghan 0-10; Fingal 4-10 Tyrone 1-17
Round 3: Tyrone 0-17 Warwickshire 1-12; Monaghan 2-19 Louth 1-12; Roscommon 1-14 Fingal 0-16.
Round 4: March 12: Warwickshire v Roscommon; March 13: Fingal v Monaghan; Louth v Tyrone.
Round 5: March 20: Louth v Fingal; Monaghan v Warwickshire; Roscommon v Tyrone.
ALLIANZ HURLING LEAGUE DIVISON DIVISION 3B
Round 1: March 6: Sligo 1-14 Fermanagh 1-9; Longford 3-12 Leitrim 0-13.
Round 2: March 13: Fermanagh v Longford; Leitrim v Sligo.
Round 3: March 20: Leitrim v Fermanagh; Sligo v Longford.