Tipperary can open their account after sluggish first outing

AHL will begin to take shape after this weekend's second round of matches

Clare’s Ian Galvin, Shane O’Donnell and John Conlon with Ronan Maher of Tipperary in last week’s Allianz Hurling League match at Cusack Park in Ennis. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Clare’s Ian Galvin, Shane O’Donnell and John Conlon with Ronan Maher of Tipperary in last week’s Allianz Hurling League match at Cusack Park in Ennis. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

 

SATURDAY

 (Matches at 7.0 unless stated)

Allianz HL Division 1A

Tipperary v Waterford 

Semple Stadium (Live, Eir Sport 2)

Although Tipp stayed in the contest with Clare until the very end, there was a listlessness to the display that Michael Ryan will want to see eliminated this evening. There is every chance that they will recover, as Waterford are just inching back into action after a delayed return, and Derek McGrath is juggling a sizeable Fitzgibbon contingent.

Verdict: Tipperary

Allianz HL Division 1B 

Laois v Galway

O’Moore Park

Galway’s decision to ease themselves back into the league with an experimental line-up nearly came hideously unstuck after a spirited visit from Antrim. The All-Ireland champions’ campaign is back-loaded and they’ll be expected to win this. Laois were injury-hit against Limerick and lost Lee Cleere, who had been playing well, before half-time and won’t be back to full strength for this.

Verdict: Galway

David Dunne of Wexford in action against Conor Gleeson of Waterford at last weekend’s Allianz Hurling League clash at Waterford’s Walsh Park. Photograph: Ken Sutton/Inpho
David Dunne of Wexford in action against Conor Gleeson of Waterford at last weekend’s Allianz Hurling League clash at Waterford’s Walsh Park. Photograph: Ken Sutton/Inpho

SUNDAY

(Matches at 2.0 unless stated)

Allianz HL Division 1A 

Kilkenny v Clare

Nowlan Park

Recent history between the counties has been evenly divided, with three wins each in the past five seasons. Kilkenny were their familiar, combative selves in Cork and Cillian Buckley not getting the bang and better free-taking might well have won it. Clare looked sharp against Tipperary and there were signs that Tony Kelly has regained sharpness. Tight margins.

Verdict: Kilkenny

Wexford v Cork 

Innovate Wexford Park (Live, TG4)

Both won on the opening weekend, and impressively: Cork for a first over Kilkenny in six years, whereas Wexford outlasted a flagging Waterford to continue a great start to 2018. The team’s energy and drive were complemented by David Dunne’s pace and finishing. This will be a challenge against former manager John Meyler, who introduced some useful new talent last week.

Verdict: Wexford

Allianz HL Division 1B 

Offaly v Limerick

O’Connor Park

Offaly were the story of the first weekend, raiding Croke Park for a first win there in 13 years and overwhelming Dublin in the process with a fine display of long-range shooting. This will be a sterner test. Limerick have started the year well and John Kiely has evolved the team further but the win over Laois was patchy. Improvement needed.

Verdict: Limerick

Antrim v Dublin

Corrigan Park

Two opening defeats but worlds apart. Antrim gave a great account of themselves in narrowly losing to the All-Ireland champions, leading well into the last quarter, whereas Dublin went down by 13 against Offaly. Injuries aren’t helping Pat Gilroy and this is suddenly daunting. They should get a reaction from last week but it’s not guaranteed against a buoyant home side.

Verdict: Dublin

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