Weekend hurling previews: Limerick out to answer a few questions against Clare

Henry Shefflin’s Galway will be looking to make no mistake against Kilkenny on his return to Nowlan Park


Leinster SHC round two: Dublin v Westmeath, Parnell Park, 6.0 – After last week in Corrigan Park, Dublin are somewhat fortunate not to be still trying to get off the mark. They had to settle for a draw but will hope the scale of the inaccuracies – most atypically from Dónal Burke – that effectively derailed the possibility of winning can be brought back under control. It has been remarked on that Joe Fortune probably knows the Dublin players better than Micheál Donoghue but he is still coping with a reduced hand and although his defence worked hard last week and Noel Conaty saved a penalty, the forwards will continue to struggle in the championship. Verdict: Dublin

Wexford v Antrim, Chadwicks Wexford Park, 6.0 – Contrasting outings for the teams last week. Antrim started fast and stayed with it to cause a near shock against Dublin, although you imagine that no one will have an easy run in Corrigan Park if Antrim can stay in the championship. Wexford also started well in Salthill but the two early goals could only carry them so far. Lee Chin and Damien Reck, who missed last week, are both named in the panel and their leadership was sorely missed. Antrim will be in fine fettle for this and Wexford need to rediscover themselves, as the anaemic second-half resistance offered to Galway won’t fly at home either. The consequences of not winning may focus the mind. Verdict: Wexford

Munster SHC round two: Limerick v Clare, TUS Gaelic Grounds, 7.0 (Live GAAGO) – It’s a long way from last year’s furious rivalry that culminated in the Munster final shoot-out but in many ways more vital. Limerick weren’t at the pitch most assumed of them in last week’s Thurles roughhouse and were uncharacteristically sloppy. Aaron Gillane missed a penalty and otherwise the team was out of sync. It’s worth emphasising the disciplinary aspect, as it was so noticeable and despite his post-match bluster, John Kiely will be aware of that. Was it an indication that the champions are seizing up slightly or just having an off day?

Clare have addressed the obvious by switching goalkeepers after Eamonn Foudy’s unfortunate debut and welcome back David Fitzgerald in place of Ryan Taylor. Can anything be done to revive Tony Kelly’s old menace – effective as Cathal Barrett’s marking was a week ago? Weekly expectations that you are going to shoot the lights out are a burden for any player and Limerick’s full backs are scarcely more hospitable than Tipp’s. Clare didn’t crash and burn despite the difficulties but pressure now mounts against a likely refocused Limerick. A major collision awaits. Verdict: Limerick



Leinster SHC round two: Kilkenny v Galway, UPMC Nowlan Park, 2.0 (Live RTÉ 2) – Galway got the job done despite a worrying start and will travel with some confidence. News of the week was the dazzling display of Evan Niland, previously another of those knacky forwards that Galway always seem to dispense with in the championship. No stranger to big numbers in brackets because of his dead-ball acumen, he also threw in 0-7 from play. It will be manager Henry Shefflin’s first visit home as opposing manager and although there promises to be a thaw on the sideline, Derek Lyng’s team will be wound up for the contest with TJ Reid run in along with his clubmates after last week. Last year Galway should have won. This year they might well. Verdict: Galway

Munster SHC round two: Cork v Waterford, Páirc Uí Chaoimh, 4.0 (Live RTÉ 2) – Cork become the last team to enter the lists after being idle on opening weekend. Opinions vary as to whether a rest and a good look at the opposition is preferable to match practice but Waterford lost a key player in Tadhg de Búrca. Positives included a return to form for Stephen Bennett and the reintroduction of Austin Gleeson. The visitors will be well motivated and forewarned after last year’s raid by Cork on Walsh Park. They lacked accuracy however and otherwise would have beaten the champions. Cork were mostly good in the league until the semi-final but field a stronger team this weekend. Pat Ryan will want a high work rate to compete. Verdict: Cork

Seán Moran

Seán Moran

Seán Moran is GAA Correspondent of The Irish Times