Allianz National Hurling League: Weekend previews

Meyler hoping to begin new Cork reign by claiming Kilkenny’s scalp

Brian Cody watches from the stand having been sent off by the referee during last week’s  Walsh Cup final against Wexford at Nowlan Park.  Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Brian Cody watches from the stand having been sent off by the referee during last week’s Walsh Cup final against Wexford at Nowlan Park. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

 

SATURDAY

Allianz HL Division 1A round 1

Cork v Kilkenny, Páirc Uí Chaoimh, 7.0 (eir sport 1).

Brian Cody doesn’t do transition. So choose your own word to describe the team Cody brings to Cork, the latest amputation of which is Michael Fennelly: for any other team that might be considered centrally transitional. What they will bring is plenty of Cody fury, freshly topped up after last weekend’s rousing Walsh Cup final against Wexford (which they lost on the free-taking shoot-out). With TJ Reid and Richie Hogan out injured they’ll need all that against a stable Cork team inherited by new manager John Meyler, further boosted by the return of Eoin Cadogan, named at full back. Verdict: Cork

Allianz HL Division 1B round 1

Dublin v Offaly, Croke Park, 5.0 (eir sport 1)

The beginning again of two teams, and for Dublin manager Pat Gilroy that dream of achieving the impossible. Gilroy has already made his mark, using 46 players in three Walsh Cup games (three teams worth), going for a physical and youthful presence too with Tomás Connolly (brother of Diarmuid), Fergal Whitely and Paul Winters, with Johnny McCaffrey back to throw his weight around too. New manager Kevin Martin played in Offaly’s last league game in Croke Park in 1994 and is of that ilk: skill and fitness the raw essentials. Dublin have a little more to play right and with that should prevail. Verdict: Dublin

SUNDAY

Allianz HL Division 1A round 1

Clare v Tipperary, Cusack Park, 2.0 (TG4):

This time last year Tipp looked irrepressible, beating Dublin with one hand tied behind their backs and seemingly poised to end that back-to-back All-Ireland wait. Things soon flatlined, and the first thing Michael Ryan wants is more consistency. Séamus Callanan is out injured, Cathal Barrett is back from exile.  Clare have had some notable retirements and injuries too but the mood remains good, beginning it seemed with their Super-11s victory in Boston in November. In Cusack Park they’re always hard to beat. Verdict: Clare  

Waterford v Wexford, Walsh Park, 2.0:

These two teams have a tendency to bring out the best in each other. Davy Fitzgerald will want less of the “pathetic” start of their Walsh Cup last Saturday, which they later won on frees, and truth is he’s not far off his championship team right now. Waterford are bound to be still a little hungover, the home venue possibly compensating, and already there’s a sense his players will be giving their all for Derek McGrath in this his last year. Verdict: Waterford

Allianz HL Division 1B round 1

Galway v Antrim, Pearse Stadium, 1.0: 

So last year Galway became the third successive 1B team to win the league outright, even without promotion, and that didn’t do their All-Ireland prospects any harm either. Manager Micheál Donoghue has named just six of that All Ireland starting 15, including Joseph Cooney and Conor Cooney up front, plus substitutes Niall Burke and Jason Flynn. But no Joe Canning or captain David Burke. Antrim come with odds of 20/1 and even with a few bright moments in the Walsh Cup are nowhere near Galway’s pace yet. Verdict: Galway

Limerick v Laois, Gaelic Grounds, 2.0:

Winning the Munster Hurling League for the first time won’t mean much to Limerick manager John Kiely, but it’s a good start nonetheless for a team with arguably the most potential in Munster, given the underage success. That feeding of underage players continues, and Limerick won’t undo their chances of promotion. Eamonn Kelly, in his second year as Laois manager, is without Stephen Maher and Ross King: Verdict: Limerick

Allianz HL Division 2A round 1

London v Kerry, Ruislip, 1.0; Kildare v Meath, Newbridge, 2.0;

Carlow v Westmeath, Netwatch Cullen Park, 2.0

Allianz HL Division 2B round 1

Derry v Down, Celtic Park, 12.30; Wicklow v Armagh, Bray, 1.0;

Mayo v Donegal, Ballina, 2.0 

Allianz HL Division 3A round 1

Roscommon v Louth, Hyde Park, 12.30; Tyrone v Warwickshire, Healy Park, 1.0; Longford v Monaghan, Pearse Park, 2.0 

Allianz HL Division 3B round 1

Lancashire v Fermanagh, Randalstown, 1.0; Sligo v Leitrim, Markievicz Park, 2.0

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