Weekend hurling previews: Throw-in times, TV details and verdicts

Seán Moran looks at the final round of league fixtures in the Allianz League

Walter Walsh is set to return for Kilkenny in the game against Clare at Cusack Park on Saturday. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Walter Walsh is set to return for Kilkenny in the game against Clare at Cusack Park on Saturday. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

 

Saturday

Division 1B

Clare v Kilkenny, Cusack Park, 3.0 – Live Eir Sports
Kilkenny have already topped the table but without stretching themselves. They welcome back Walter Walsh for this, having looked sporadically impressive in swatting Wexford but it was a non-contest. Clare have had a tough old campaign between getting caught in Antrim on the first day to the close contacts saga. Last week’s performance was encouraging though, putting a big score on Dublin in Parnell Park and with Tony Kelly back scoring incontinently. Verdict: Clare

Antrim v Laois, Corrigan Park, 3.0 – Live GAAGo
This had ‘relegation eliminator’ written all over as soon as the schedules were published but Antrim’s fine campaign has left them safe with plenty in hand. A trip to Fortress Corrigan is a daunting assignment for struggling Laois. Verdict: Antrim

Wexford v Dublin, Chadwicks Wexford Park, 3.0 – Live GAAGo
Dublin have been all right without suggesting that a step change is coming but Mattie Kenny has made good use of the league in running the rule over his panel. Wexford have been below-par, struggling in matches and not hitting top gear. Manager David Fitzgerald lamented last week’s shooting inefficiencies that cost a point in Belfast. Suspended for the game – as is Matt O’Hanlon – he’ll have impressed on the team the need to pick it up with the championship coming. Verdict: Wexford

Sunday

Division 1A

Westmeath v Limerick, TEG Cusack Park, 1.45 – Live GAAGo
Poor old Westmeath have spent the campaign like a sparring partner in a particularly cranky gym and for the sign-off they have a newly awoken Limerick, who put an indifferent league behind them with a signature thrashing of under-strength Cork. Offer it up and get ready for the playoff against Laois. Verdict: Limerick

Cork v Galway, Páirc Uí Chaoimh, 1.45 – Live TG4 Player
Cork’s approach to last week appeared to be that whatever we have to do to beat Limerick in the championship, won’t work twice. So they took it easy and accepted the walloping. You’d imagine Cork will respond here. Galway are a good rehearsal for Limerick with their size and forward strength. Shane O’Neill’s men got up the gears eventually against Waterford and their forwards were excellent. Kieran Kingston’s team are fast and attacking but whether they have the defence to cope is more questionable. Galway can take advantage if Tipp slip in Walsh Park. Verdict: Galway

Waterford v Tipperary, Walsh Park, 1.45 – Live GAAGo
All in Tipperary’s hands, as a win puts them top of the table. They’ve been sharpening up in recent weeks but Waterford have been impressive despite the results that saw them beaten by both Galway and Cork. The opening quarter in Pearse Stadium was good, especially up front with the prodigal Shane Bennett showing very well but their defence was pulled out of shape a bit too easily, which makes you imagine that the visitors have an edge. Of course the imminence of a potential championship meeting in three weeks’ time might affect attitudes. Verdict: Tipperary

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