National Hurling League opening weekend previews

Seán Moran takes a look at the first fixtures in this year’s hurling leagues

Clare captain Tony Kelly lifts the Munster Senior Hurling League cup with Munster Council Chairman Jerry O’Sullivan after beating Tipperary two weeks ago. Photo: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Clare captain Tony Kelly lifts the Munster Senior Hurling League cup with Munster Council Chairman Jerry O’Sullivan after beating Tipperary two weeks ago. Photo: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

 

Division 1A (all games Sunday, unless stated)

Tipperary v Clare

Throw in: 7pm, Saturday. Venue: Semple Stadium. On TV: Live on Eir Sport.

A swift opportunity for Tipp to avenge the Munster League defeat but they were well off the pace that night. Clare are moving well with some decent infusions of new blood. It is equally a good opportunity for Liam Sheedy’s side to set the record straight quickly but the visitors might just have enough momentum to repeat the dose.

Verdict: Clare

Kilkenny v Cork

Throw in: 2pm. Venue: Nowlan Park.

They opened last season’s league as well with Cork gaining a welcome victory in the fixture. Both are on the lookout for new recruits but the visitors are farther down that road. Kilkenny are also affected by club ties and injury. They usually thrive on the adversity but it would be a surprise if they pulled this off.

Verdict: Cork

Wexford v Limerick

Throw in: 2pm. Venue: Innovate Wexford Park. On TV: TG4 (deferred coverage).

This can be a hard venue for All-Ireland holders. Galway last year in the league and famously, Clare in the 2014 All-Ireland qualifiers came a cropper here. Limerick are coming locked and loaded – 11 of last September’s team – for their first big match as champions. Wexford though were brushed aside by Galway in the Walsh Cup final and will need to raise their game.

Verdict: Limerick

Division 1B (all games Sunday, unless stated)

Dublin v Carlow

Throw in: 7pm, Saturday. Venue: Parnell Park.

Mattie Kenny’s first matches made for a reasonable pre-season campaign but they will need to hit the ground running here. There may be no promotion but Dublin will want to improve last year’s performance. They change half the announced team from last month’s Walsh Cup so it’s as strong as is currently available. Carlow make just three changes to that selection.

Verdict: Dublin

Galway v Laois

Throw in: 12.30pm. Venue: Pearse Stadium.

A satisfactory pre-season for Micheál Donoghue with the Walsh Cup bagged. Laois got their scalp, beating neighbours Offaly but this will be one of those remorseless experiences that counties in the bottom half of this division encounter from time to time.

Verdict: Galway

Waterford v Offaly

Throw in: 2pm. Venue: Semple Stadium

Offaly started last year really well in Croke Park and got a break when Waterford were stripped of home advantage for breaching the training camp rule but that’s as far as it’s likely to stretch against opponents with energised new management.

Verdict: Waterford

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
GO BACK
Error Image
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.
Screen Name Selection

Hello

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.