Na Piarsaigh have capacity to improve to seal replay win over Cuala

Weekend hurling previews: Tipperary and Wexford set to progress in the Division One quarter-finals

 

SATURDAY

AIB All-Ireland club SHC final replay
Cuala (Dublin) v Na Piarsaigh (Limerick), O’Moore Park, 5.30 [Live, TG4]
Na Piarsaigh were easily the more disappointed of the finalists not to have won but they also have room to improve. The return of Conor Boylan and Tommy Grimes from suspension gives them bench options – they brought no-one on in ordinary time last week – and they need to target the poor start they’ve made to their last two matches.

Cuala are probably equally disappointed but more with their performance. Defence has been a key unit for the Dublin club but they struggled as the match wore on after a very impressive first quarter. The Treacys kept the show on the road – David with his 100 per cent free taking and Seán lively and accurate from centrefield. Up front Con O’Callaghan was well marshalled by Mike Casey and springing that trap will be crucial to Cuala’s prospects. Na Piarsaigh’s room for improvement however looks more spacious.

Verdict: Na Piarsaigh

Allianz HL Division One quarter-final
Wexford v Galway, Wexford Park, 3.0 [Live,TG4]
This is where it all started for Galway a year ago. A dramatic comeback in the league quarter-final against Waterford set Micheál Donoghue’s team on course for three trophies. To date they don’t look at that pitch this season and Joe Canning has yet to start a match for the champions. He came on in the disappointingly limp loss of initiative against Limerick.

Wexford have had a fine campaign on their return to Division 1A and the extra week, courtesy of the cold snap, has given Lee Chin and Aidan Nolan a shot at returning, which would strengthen David Fitzgerald’s team’s ball winning capacity against opponents, who out-muscled and outlasted them in last July’s Leinster final. On available form, it’s hard to back against the home side even if Galway are bookies’ favourites. Verdict: Wexford

AHL Division 2A final
Westmeath v Carlow, O’Moore Park, 3.30
Carlow lost last season’s final to Antrim and the previous season’s to this weekend’s opponents despite having finished top of the table both years. Limerick finally put similar frustrations behind them in 1B two weeks ago. Can Carlow? They have already lost to Westmeath this season so maybe not. Verdict: Westmeath

SUNDAY

Allianz HL Division One quarter-final
Dublin v Tipperary, Croke Park, 1.0 [Live, TG4]
Dublin look to be in the category of a team not suited by the week’s postponement, as whatever chance they had of doing a number on Tipp in Parnell Park becomes more remote on Jones’s Road even with the footballers on the bill. It’s three years since Dublin beat Tipperary in the league and with Jason Forde showing serious shooting form that gap is unlikely to be bridged even if Pat Gilroy’s team have steadied themselves in the regulation campaign. Verdict: Tipperary.

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