HL previews: Tipp to end decade-long wait

February 23, 2018

Tipperary haven't beaten Kilkenny away in 10 years.

Things really start to heat up now in the Allianz Hurling League as 34 teams get set to embark on Round 4 of the competition this weekend.

 

Saturday, February 24th

Allianz HL Division 3A round 4

Warwickshire v Monaghan, Pairc na hEireann, 2.30pm

Warwickshire are currently level on points with first-placed Roscommon and the Exiles should continue their winning ways when they welcome Monaghan and put some distance between themselves and the Farney men in the table.

Verdict: Warwickshire

Allianz HL Division 3B round 4

Sligo v Lancashire, Markievicz Park, 12pm

Lancashire take on Sligo at noon on Saturday looking to make it four wins from as many outings and they should do so with their talisman Ronan Crowley in splendid scoring form again this season.

Verdict: Lancashire

 

Sunday, February 25th

Allianz HL Division 1A round 4

Kilkenny v Tipperary, Nowlan Park, 2pm - TG4

Tipperary haven't picked up a win in Nowlan Park since 2008 but they will feel that they are primed to detonate this weekend.

With Jason Forde in deadly form, having bagged 3-28 in three matches, they have been installed as 7/2 favourites to win the title with Brian Cody's men, unusually, well down the pecking order at 17/2.

However, Forde is expected to miss this clash as is John McGrath due to their Fitzgibbon Cup final commitments with UL on Saturday.

Kilkenny lost by a goal to both Cork and Clare but bounced back with a comfortable away win against Waterford, with TJ Reid top-scoring on 1-11.

A close one is in store - the Cats, defiant to the last, will be determined to extend their record at the venue against their neighbours but on the bare form, it appears they have it all to do.

Verdict: Tipperary

Wexford v Clare, Innovate Wexford Park, 2pm

The build-up to any meeting of these teams is usually dominated by the Davy factor but now that the novelty has worn off, it will be strictly business this weekend.

Despite them sitting third of the six teams in the division, only Waterford have conceded more than the Slaneysiders so far and that may be instructive. 

The Banner were excellent in their 0-23 to 0-19 win over Cork last weekend. Goals are hard to come by in this league for some reason but whichever side grabs one or two will probably come out on top here.

Wexford need to tighten up a little at the back but in the line of form through the Rebels, there will be nothing between them.

Verdict: Draw

Cork v Waterford, Pairc Ui Chaoimh, 3pm

Cork are one of only two sides (the other is Limerick) in all four divisions who have yet to concede a goal in this campaign.

The sides are at different stages in their development but there is a suspicion that the Rebels are gaining ground on their neighbours to the east.

It's difficult to know exactly how teams have been approaching this league given that the new championship structures are hurtling down the tracks soon but Cork may have a stronger desire to land a league title (half of the last 20 league champions have followed up with the Liam McCarthy) and that, and recent form, could tip the scales.

Verdict: Cork

Allianz HL Division 1B round 4

Offaly v Laois, O'Connor Park, 12.30pm

After the highs of their opening round win over Dublin in Croke Park (scoring an eye-catching 2-25), Kevin Martins' troops have misfired of late, racking up just 0-10 and 0-14 respectively in heavy subsequent defeats against Limerick and Galway.

Laois are coming off the back of a good win against Antrim but Martin will have targeted this one and home advantage should swing it the way of the Faithful.

Verdict: Offaly

Dublin v Galway, Parnell Park, 2pm

Dublin were like "startled earwigs", to use Pat Gilroy's own famous description from his time as football boss, in their opener against Offaly at Croker but although they bounced back with a gritty one-point away win over Antrim, Limerick were much too good next time.

Galway, albeit seasonally adjusted perhaps, will represent yet another step up in class for the capital men.

The All-Ireland champions will take all the beating and anything other than a win for the Tribesmen would be a seismic upset.

Verdict: Galway

Antrim v Limerick, Cushendall, 2pm

Antrim started superbly and were unlucky not to get something from the Galway game.

At home against Dublin, the Glensmen left it too late and were pipped on the finish line after a rousing late comeback while away against Laois, they slipped up. There has been an improvement in Antrim's stickwork and speed of striking but they have a way to go yet while Limerick are purring, conceding just 0-18, 0-17 and 0-10 in their three matches to date.

They are comfortably clear on points difference at the top and will expect to make it four from four.

Verdict: Limerick

Allianz HL Division 2A round 4

London v Westmeath, Ruislip, 12.30pm

London are rooted to the bottom of the table and, in a nutshell, they have been leaking too many scores - 2-30, 1-24 and 3-23 to date.

Westmeath have three wins from three, most recently a one-point away win against Meath, and should have too much for the Exiles on Sunday.

Verdict: Westmeath

Kerry v Meath, Austin Stack Park, 12.30pm

Apart from the slip-up against Carlow, Kerry have been motoring quite well, with the 1-23 to 0-10 win in Newbridge last time out catching the eye.

Meath, for their part, have lost just once, by a point last time and in Jack Regan, have the highest scorer in the division (2-32). There will be very little in this one.

Verdict: Kerry

Carlow v Kildare, Netwatch Cullen Park, 2pm

Kildare have yet to pick up a win while Carlow beat Kerry - who easily brushed the Lilywhites aside - by seven. Based on that, Carlow should take the points here.

Verdict: Carlow

Allianz HL Division 2B round 4

Derry v Armagh, Celtic Park, 2pm

Neither of the Ulster sides have picked up a win yet. Derry may just have enough to get themselves off the mark.

Verdict: Derry

Donegal v Down, Letterkenny, 2pm

The Tír Chonnail men had a big win against Derry but were well beaten by Wicklow and Mayo. Down sit top of the table, with Paul Sheehan their go-to man up front with a tally of 1-21.

Verdict: Down

Mayo v Wicklow, Ballina Stephenites, 2pm

Andy O'Brien remains the deadliest attacker in this division and he has contributed 2-28 of Wicklow's 6-57 total.

If Mayo can keep him in check, they will be halfway there but that won't be easy even with home advantage over the Garden men on Sunday.

Verdict: Wicklow

Allianz HL Division 3A round 4

Longford v Louth, Pearse Park, 12.30pm

This all-Leinster affair sees Longford needing a win to lift themselves off the foot of the table and with Louth having secured an important draw the last day, they should take home two more points from Pearse Park on Sunday.

Verdict: Louth

Tyrone v Roscommon, Dungannon, 2pm

The Rossies have been in flying form during their first three outings of the competition and should make the push closer towards promotion when they visit the Eoghan Ruadh club grounds this weekend.

Verdict: Roscommon

Allianz HL Division 3B round 4

Cavan v Fermanagh, Kingspan Breffni, 2pm

The Breffni men, in their return to the league, shipped a heavy defeat against Sligo but performed creditably when losing to Lancashire.

They did, however, beat Fermanagh last year in the Lory Meagher and will hope to land another rare win.

Verdict: Cavan

 

Keep up to date with the latest scores from the Allianz Hurling League on Sunday afternoon with the hoganstand.com Live Match Tracker.



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