Outcome of this weekend’s Division 1 games will carry much weight
Hurling league: Both groups in Division 1 will be redrawn for the 2022 and 2023 seasons
Offaly’s Oisín Kelly celebrates scoring the opening goal in the Allianz Hurling League Division 2A game against Meath at Páirc Tailteann on May 9th. Photograph: Brian Reilly-Troy/Inpho
On arguably the lowest-profile final weekend of Allianz NHL games in memory, the outcome of the six Division 1 games across Saturday and Sunday will still carry significant weight.
Both groups in Division 1 will be redrawn for the 2022 and 2023 seasons, with finishing positions on Sunday evening used to decide whether teams play in Group A or B next year.
The reassigning of teams will go down well with counties as the current Group A has largely mirrored the Munster championship, with Group B containing five Leinster championship teams plus Clare.
For 2022 and 2023, the teams that finish 1st, 4th and 5th in Group A this Sunday will remain there. They will be joined by the second and third-placed teams from 1B and the team promoted from Division 2A.
For Group B, the teams placed 1st, 4th and 5th this Sunday will stay there and they will be joined by the second- and third-placed teams from Group A, along with the winner of the Division 1 relegation play-off.
Based on that structure, what we know for certain is that Offaly, already promoted as Division 2A winners regardless of what happens against Wicklow in Aughrim on Sunday, will play in Division 1, Group A next season.
Kilkenny, who are certain to top Group B, will remain in that group and will definitely be joined by the winners of the relegation play-off between Westmeath and Laois.
Based on positions ahead of the final round, Group A for 2022 would comprise Galway, Waterford, Limerick, Wexford, Clare and Offaly while in Group B, Kilkenny would be joined by Tipperary, Cork, Dublin, Antrim and Westmeath or Laois.
The picture will become crystal clear for 11 counties at around 3.15pm on Sunday afternoon following the final round of Group A games, the concluding Group B games taking place on Saturday.
However, the exact makeup of Group B won’t be nailed down until Westmeath play Laois in the relegation play-off on the weekend of August 7th/8th as that game has been twinned with an All-Ireland semi-final.