GAA weekend previews: Throw-in times, TV details, predictions

Seán Moran looks ahead to this weekend’s Tailteann Cup and hurling fixtures

SATURDAY

Tailteann Cup SFC, preliminary round

Wicklow v Waterford, Aughrim, 3.0 - Wicklow had a respectable championship, beating Laois for the first time in over 20 years and sticking in there against Meath after conceding a goal within 10 seconds. Waterford captain Dylan Guiry hopes to be back after missing the Tipp defeat with a broken finger. Verdict: Wicklow

Leinster SHC, round 5

Galway v Dublin, Pearse Stadium, 6.0 (Live, GAAGO) - There's a strange triangular relationship in Leinster. Galway have beaten Kilkenny in all three years of the round-robin and Kilkenny always defeat Dublin but Galway have a poor record against Dublin. Despite that, Henry Shefflin's team lead the Leinster group and on form have far too much for Dublin.

Mattie Kenny is two from two against his own county but although Dublin's defence was competitive the last day, the forwards steadily evaporated and the ball was flying back in the opposite direction twice as quickly. Since dropping the point in Wexford, Galway have strode on and barring systems failure (as happened last year) have too much firepower. Verdict: Galway

Laois v Westmeath, O'Moore Park, 6.0 - Leinster Council kept this fixture until last as it was obviously going to be a de facto relegation play-off and for one team to lose it early in the campaign would be demoralising. Westmeath have defied expectations by coming out of Division 2 and last week taking a point off Wexford, the top side in Division 1.

Laois continue to be bedevilled by injuries and despite Séamus Plunkett's great record in winning this sort of winner-takes-all contest, the team is just so depleted that it's unlikely they can overturn the better form of Westmeath in nearly all of the matches to date. Verdict: Westmeath

Kilkenny v Wexford, Nowlan Park, 6.0 (Live, Sky Sports Arena) - The dropped point against Westmeath further depressed Wexford's standing and leaves them with a mountain to climb this evening. The only team they've beaten is Laois whereas Kilkenny in the consensus view showed a significant step-up in swatting an admittedly feeble Dublin challenge last week.

The latest centrefield pairing of Adrian Mullen and Alan Murphy gave a great display and Cian Kenny on his return to the team, at wing forward, was also terrific. Darragh Egan was lamenting Wexford’s difficulties in converting chances - 21 wides against Westmeath - and if he is to get the performance he is convinced is in his team, that will need to improve. Injuries aren’t helping either with Lee Chin and Liam Ryan doubtful but Dee O’Keeffe is recovered.

Conor McDonald makes his 100th appearance for Wexford at full forward but regular sparring partner, Kilkenny full back Huw Lawlor remains out with a broken hand. Verdict: Kilkenny

SUNDAY

Tailteann Cup SFC, preliminary round

Wexford v Offaly, Enniscorthy 2.0 - Bad luck on Wexford to draw the team they unexpectedly put out of the championship, especially as the visitors are in a position to field a much stronger team with the McNamees, Niall and Ruairi, returning to bolster the attack. Verdict: Offaly

Munster SHC, round 5

Tipperary v Cork, Semple Stadium, 4.0 (Live, RTE One) - Amazingly, for a side that has lost all their matches to date, Tipperary have a sort of momentum coming into this in that their most impressive display was the most recent, against Limerick where they tussled all the way up to the final minutes. The same applies to the heavily favoured visitors, who reared up on Waterford and won pulling away.

This is no fixture for favourites, however, and Cork’s two wins in the past 11 matches have come when they were outsiders, not odds-on. Their spine was strong in Walsh Park: Ciarán Joyce excellent at centre back, Darragh Fitzgibbon and the recalled Luke Meade dominant at centrefield, while at centre forward Séamus Harnedy had his best performance in a while.

Tipp too, with Noel McGrath conducting, worked the middle surprisingly effectively against Limerick and with Séamus Callanan back in training, a reappearance from the former HOTY is a possibility. Cork's rediscovered sense of purpose though will surely not fizzle out in a week. Verdict: Cork

Clare v Waterford, Cusack Park, Ennis, 4.0 (RTE2) - This is a very hard task for Waterford. The county hasn't won a championship match in Ennis and know that their fate is primarily in Cork's hands even if they win. Their faltering performances have left them staring into the abyss of there potentially being no future for Liam Cahill's project.

The drive and energy of the league have dissipated and form with them. The one bright spot is that Clare don’t need anything from this and Brian Lohan is likely to rest some front liners after the fire and fury of last week’s neighbourhood clash, which brought to a halt Limerick’s nine-match winning gallop through Munster going back to 2019.

The outcome will depend on how successfully the visitors can focus knowing that even the most impressive win may well not be enough - and Clare won't be set up to let anything go easily. Verdict: Waterford

All-Ireland Under-20 hurling final

Kilkenny v Limerick, Semple Stadium, 1.30 (Live, TG4) - Limerick's run in Munster saw victory over all the other counties but also the loss of Cathal O'Neill, who became ineligible because of selection for the seniors.

Kilkenny made heavy weather of Wexford in the Leinster final but this cohort heavily defeated Limerick in the 2019 minor championship although surprisingly few have graduated. Verdict: Limerick