NHL Division 1B: Malachy Clerkin’s team-by-team guide

Dublin putting together a formidable side with Wexford likely to be there at the end

Mattie Kenny is quietly putting together a formidable Dublin squad. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Mattie Kenny is quietly putting together a formidable Dublin squad. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

 

Carlow

Manager: Colm Bonnar (4th season)
Selector: Adrian Corcoran, Conor Phelan, Martin Byrne
Last good league: 2019 Retained Division One status

They’ve been in leagues before where they were marked out as cannon fodder before a ball was pucked but they drew with Galway and Laois last year and relegated Offaly in the loser-leaves-town finale. Chris Nolan has been flying for Carlow IT in the Fitzgibbon and can cause hassle at full-forward. Away to Laois in round four is the game of games.

Clare

Manager: Brian Lohan (1st season)
Selectors: Ken Ralph, James Moran
Last good league: 2016 Runners-up

Another county that had a fire-and-brimstone winter, with the process of appointing Brian Lohan turning out to be anything but smooth. Now that he is in situ though, they are optimistic for a decent spring. David Reidy has returned full of beans and Colin Gilfoyle looks ready to take the next step. That said, Peter Duggan’s move to Australia is clearly a loss.

Dublin

Manager: Mattie Kenny (2nd season)
Selectors: Eoin Roche, Paul O’Brien, Greg Kennedy,
Last good league: 2019 semi-finals

Kenny is quietly putting together a formidable squad. Mark Schutte, Cian O’Callaghan, Donal Burke and Rian McBride are all back in the mix after spells away for one reason or another. Conal Keaney hasn’t ruled out another year and there is new blood in the shape of in Lorcan McMullen from Down and Marc Howard from Cork. Wouldn’t rule out a run to the latter stages.

Kilkenny

Manager: Brian Cody (22nd season)
Selectors: DJ Carey, James McGarry, Martin Comerford
Last good league: 2018 champions

Cody has freshened up his backroom team with the departures of Mick Dempsey and Derek Lyng, replaced by DJ Carey and Martin Comerford. Inside the lines, Paul Murphy misses the league on army duty but the Ballyhale contingent will be available. Of those, Evan Shefflin must have a serious chance of stepping up to the bigger stage.

Evan Shefflin could be set to make the step up with Kilkenny. Photograph: Ken Sutton/Inpho
Evan Shefflin could be set to make the step up with Kilkenny. Photograph: Ken Sutton/Inpho

Laois

Manager: Eddie Brennan (2nd season)
Selectors: Tommy Fitzgerald, Fran Dowling
Last good league: 2019 quarter-finals

After a big 2019, Eddie Brennan’s main task in this league will be to increase his options ahead of the Leinster Championship. Despite their success, he has lost Charles Dwyer, Joe Phelan, Stephen Maher and Ben Conroy over the winter. James Ryan is back after a year away and goalkeeper Enda Rowlands has been named captain for the year.

Wexford

Manager: Davy Fitzgerald (4th season)
Selectors: Seoirse Bulfin, JJ Doyle, Keith Rossiter, Brendan Bugler
Last good league: 2018 semi-finals

The addition of 2013 All-Ireland winner Brendan Bugler to Davy Fitz’s backroom team is an eye-catching one. Andrew Shore has returned after four years away - this time as an option at full-forward - with Aidan Rochford also rewarded for his part in St Anne’s run to the county final. No reason to imagine they won’t be aiming to be around at the end.

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