NHL Division 1A: Malachy Clerkin’s team-by-team guide
Limerick could have a point to prove after New York, Tipp likely to keep powder dry
Liam Sheedy’s Tipperary are the defending All-Ireland champions. Photograph: Tommy Dickson/Inpho
Manager: Kieran Kingston (1st season, 2nd stint)
Selectors: Diarmuid O’Sullivan, Ger Cunningham
Last good league: 2015 runners-up
Cork have been a feeble league team recently, winning just eight games in the past four seasons - comfortably the fewest of any of the main counties. Daniel Kearney will be missed and Kingston won’t have Alan Cadogan, Christopher Joyce, Mark Ellis or Colm Spillane for a while. Look for the likes of Declan Dalton, Niall O’Leary and Billy Hennessy to get a spin or two.
Manager: Shane O’Neill (1st season)
Selectors: John Fitzgerald, Fergal Healy, David Forde
Last good league: 2019 semi-finals
Shane O’Neill must still be chasing his tail to some extent, a mere 10 weeks after his appointment. Colm Callanan has moved into the backroom team and both Johnny Glynn and Joseph Cooney are based abroad for the minute with no clarity yet on their intentions for the year. Tadhg Haran and Sean Bleahane have been making pre-season waves and will hope to kick on.
Manager: John Kiely (4th season)
Selectors: Alan Cunningham, Paul Kinnerk, Brian Geary, Aonghus O’Brien, Joe O’Connor
Last good league: 2019 champions
The winter was going fine and then New York happened. John Kiely has understandably pulled down the shutters in the aftermath of StreetFighterGate and it would be no surprise if Limerick hurled the lugs off everyone to make it up to him. Pat Ryan and Shane Dowling will be missing for a while, Barry Nash, Conor Boylan and Adrian Breen will look to step up.
Manager: Liam Sheedy (2nd season, 2nd stint)
Selectors: Tommy Dunne, Eamon O’Shea, Darren Gleeson
Last good league: 2018 Runners-up
Here’s a strange one - none of the current Tipp panel have a league medal to their name. they’ve played in five finals since they last won it in 2008 and lost all five. If they end up changing that this time around, it will probably be more by accident than design. Hard to see Sheedy scaring the horses this side of Easter, given Tipp’s age profile.
Manager: Liam Cahill (1st season)
Selectors: Stephen Frampton, Stephen Molumphy, Michael Bevans
Last good league: 2019 runners-up
The team most in need of a good league. Cahill has lost Brick Walsh, Philip Mahony and Brian O’Halloran to retirement and won’t have Shane Bennett available to him in the short-to-medium term either. With Noel Connors and Maurice Shanahan dropped and Jake Dillon back on the scene, there has been significant player turnover. Job One is to lift morale off the floor.
Manager: Shane O’Brien (1st season)
Selectors: Paudie O’Neill, Brendan Murtagh, Alan Kerins, Paul Greville
Last good league: 2019 Division 2A champions
After the highs of last year’s league, the removal of Joe Quaid didn’t seem to make a lot of sense. Here they are, all the same, ready to test themselves against the premium teams. Beating Carlow in the Walsh Cup was no bad start for Shane O’Brien and Aongus Clarke and Robbie Greville will carry the fight. But let’s not gild the lily - any point will be a triumph