Hurling league previews: Throw-in times, TV details and verdicts

Limerick experiment as they look to end poor league campaign on a high against Cork

Saturday

DIVISION 1A
Limerick v Cork, LIT Gaelic Grounds, 7.15 – Live RTÉ 2/Eir Sport 1

An interesting contest between the division's most upwardly mobile county and the misfiring triple champions in that they meet in a few weeks in the Munster semi-final.

On the face of it, a win for Cork would copper-fasten their credentials going into the championship but equally there may be an inclination to keep the powder dry. Limerick have gone slightly experimental, resting Nickie Quaid and with Séamus Flanagan and Kyle Hayes suspended and the injured Gearóid Hegarty and Dan Morrissey rested.

Their title gone, Limerick may wish to lay down a marker before next month but Cork look sharper and more menacing up front, having scored six more goals (14 against eight) over the three fixtures to date this year and against the same opposition, Waterford, Tipperary and Westmeath.

Limerick, however, need a response after their winless overture to the season.

Verdict: Limerick

DIVISION 1B
Antrim v Wexford, Corrigan Park, 3.0 – Live TG4

This has been a fine return to the top flight for Antrim. Competitive in each of the matches even if periods of ascendancy against Kilkenny and Dublin didn't alter the outcome as had been the case against Clare, Darren Gleeson's team are almost certain to stay up. Visitors Wexford were dismal a week ago in Nowlan Park, recovering a little in the second half without threatening Kilkenny's grip. Rory O'Connor played well at times but drifted in and out of the game.

Home venue inspired Antrim against Clare and may work its magic here but Wexford are likely to rebound after last week.

Verdict: Wexford

Dublin v Clare, Parnell Park, 5.15 – Live TG4/Eir Sport 1
It's been a bit of an ordeal for Clare so far between losing in Belfast and the Covid controversy but Brian Lohan should have a near-enough full pick come championship, allowing that Pat O'Connor (ACL) won't make it. Tony Kelly isn't ready yet and David McInerney is just getting back.

This trip to Dublin's compact, backyard should make for a competitive afternoon. Dublin finally got a goal last time out and with Danny Sutcliffe having his best season in a while and Daire Gray pushing up from wing back there was at its best a liveliness to their play but a continuing lack of economy up front.

Clare are expected to rotate a few positions, including John Conlon, who has been rehabbing in the half backs.

Shane O'Donnell was in good from when they beat Laois and Colm Galvin returned to the field.

Verdict: Dublin

Sunday

DIVISION 1A
Westmeath v Tipperary, TEG Cusack Park, 2.0

It hasn't been a great season for Westmeath, who are heading for a relegation playoff. Tipperary will activate the understudies and win well.

Verdict: Tipperary

Galway v Waterford, Pearse Stadium, 3.45 – Live TG4
Waterford put out their championship team – give or take one or two places – to beat Limerick the last day and signs seem to be that Austin Gleeson is the choice to take over from Tadhg de Búrca at centre back, as the latter convalesces his cruciate and one of his possible deputies Iarlaith Daly, is suspended. This represents a loss of scoring up front, as Gleeson despite some patchy displays also put up a handful of big totals.

Galway have played well while mixing up their selections. Losing to Tipp on the last weekend represented a clumsy lapse in focus and they need to get into the habit of seeing out tight matches.

Verdict: Galway

DIVISION 1B
Kilkenny v Laois, UPMC Nowlan Park, 1.45 – Live TG4

Kilkenny won't be fussed that Wexford's non-appearance a week ago somewhat contextualises their big win. The team moved well, the half backs dominated and TJ Reid got decent scoring support from Billy Ryan. Laois' performances haven't been as good as last year but they improved for the recent match against Clare and stayed in touch for the first half before falling away.

Verdict: Kilkenny