Waterford the fall guys as next year’s top division reveals itself

Wexford’s win in Walsh Park relegates their neighbours while it also looks over for Dublin and Westmeath

One weekend early the top flight of the 2025 Allianz Hurling League has all but revealed itself. The weekend featured critical matches which would go a long way to determine the seven top counties for inclusion in next year’s Division 1A.

The lucky teams are made up of the top three sides in this year’s Division 1A (Limerick, Tipperary and Galway) and 1B (Clare, Kilkenny and Wexford) plus the fourth-placed team with the better record, which is between Cork in 1A and Dublin or Westmeath in 1B – with Cork virtually certain as thanks to a scoring riot against Offaly they have at worst a buffer of about 60 points in scoring difference even if they don’t beat Wexford next week.

The clutch matches on Sunday effectively decided the matter. Galway beat Dublin and Wexford successfully raided neighbours Waterford. Limerick, who beat Tipperary on Saturday evening and Clare, who finished strongly to defeat Kilkenny are guaranteed league semi-final places.

Walsh Park played host to the southeast derby and the home team made the running, leading by three at half time, 0-16 to 1-10.


Wexford manager Keith Rossiter was delighted with the eventual 2-23 to 1-23 win, which puts his team in the top flight next year and relieved that a ragged start had not more seriously undermined them.

“Chatting Davy (Fitzgerald, Waterford manager) there, the biggest thing for them is that they probably should have gone in at half time more comfortable. They sort of let us off the hook. They gave us that little bit of room and we had something to fight for.

“We settled our team down. We got the couple of guys that I thought were doing real damage for Waterford, we got them shackled a little bit. Jamie Barron and Calum Lyons were on way too much ball in the first half. We got the guys to mark those, and we won it back in the second half.”

Fitzgerald, for his part, has been managing a panel of players beset by injury issues and mindful of the need to run in those who will be needed for the imminent – six weeks to go – championship opener against Cork. He was asked about the post-half-time outage that has cost Waterford in previous matches as well as this weekend’s.

“I am trying everything – came out earlier today; we did a different routine before we got going again . . . The good thing was the lads kept trying because we were gone completely out of that game, but they kept trying. Are we going to ship a lot of flak in Waterford? We are. Are they going to be giving out? They are, and rightly so. Can’t say anything about that. But we’ll fight away, and I think it is important to realise that we have to get game-time into the lads.

“There were a few lads and I knew they were tiring but they had to be left there because if I have to get them right for six weeks I have to leave them there.”

Seán Moran

Seán Moran

Seán Moran is GAA Correspondent of The Irish Times