Round 2 sees 17 games down for decision in the Allianz Hurling League and here we make our predictions for the clashes taking place in all six sections.
Saturday, February 2nd
Allianz HL Division 1A round 2
Limerick v Tipperary, Gaelic Grounds, 7pm - eir sport 2/RTÉ2
Round 2 in Division 1A kicks in on Saturday night and this one really whets the appetite as the All-Ireland champions welcome an in-form Tipperary side to the Gaelic Grounds.
Liam Sheedy’s second coming with the Premier men has gone very much according to script so far, having cruised to victory over 14-man Clare in the end last time out but this weekend’s assignment promises to be a much closer affair.
New Tipp captain Seamus Callanan was in imperious form against the Banner men while Aaron Gillane had a fine outing himself with 1-5 against Wexford in Round 1.
Expect both men to keep up the sharpshooting on Saturday night in a thriller that could well go right down to the wire.
Allianz HL Division 2B round 2
Kildare v Warwickshire, Newbridge, 1.30pm
Kildare got their league campaign off to a winning start against Donegal under new manager David Herity and have welcomed back the likes of Brian Waters, Cathal Dowling, John Gorman, Mark Delaney and Jack Travers this week, making them strong favourites for Warwickshire’s visit to Newbridge.
Sunday, February 3rd
Allianz HL Division 1A round 2
Clare v Kilkenny, Cusack Park, 2pm - TG4
Many Clare supporters will feel their team was wronged by Tony Kelly’s sending off against Tipperary the last day when the 2013 'Hurler of the Year' received his marching orders following an incident with Padraic Maher during their defeat to the Premier men.
The Banner men could certainly do with their experienced Ballyea ace for Kilkenny’s visit to Ennis on Sunday after the Cats’ impressive second-half display against Cork dismantled the Rebels at Nowlan Park, handing them a seven-point win, however, Kelly has had his ban upheld and will miss the round 2 clash.
Goals from substitute Richie Leahy and late call-up Billy Ryan will see those two give Brian Cody some food for thought in his team selection for this one, as the holders look to avenge last year’s three-point defeat to this opposition on their own patch.
Cork v Wexford, Páirc Uí Chaoimh, 3pm - TG4 (deferred coverage)
Davy Fitzgerald’s Wexford side head south this weekend as 9/4 underdogs against a Cork outfit which largely fell flat against Kilkenny in the second-half of their league opener.
The Slaneysiders were without ace attackers Lee Chin and Rory O’Connor during their first round loss to Limerick last weekend and Fitzgerald has stated this week that it’s unclear if either of them will be back for the trip to Leeside.
O’Connor did feature as a substitute in a recent Fitzgibbon Cup clash for DCU but dual star Chin has been sidelined for the past four weeks with a hamstring problem, leaving the latter’s involvement for this weekend to look unlikely.
Cork captain Seamus Harnedy hopes to play some part on Sunday as John Meyler’s men get their first run out of 2019 at Páirc Uí Chaoimh.
Allianz HL Division 1B round 2
Carlow v Galway, Netwatch Cullen Park, 2pm
It was no real surprise to see Galway in cruise control against Laois in Round 1, having led the O’Moore men by 12 points at the break before recording a 1-27 to 2-15 victory.
Joe Canning contributed another double tally score to the win for the Leinster champions and it’s safe enough to assume that the Portumna man will torment the opposition again this weekend if the Tribesmen are to keep things to script.
Carlow looked good for long spells against Dublin in Round 1, with marksman Martin Kavanagh weighing in with 0-12 over the hour, but crumbled in the second-half nonetheless and will be welcoming the 2017 All-Ireland winners as 10/1 underdogs on Sunday.
Laois v Waterford, O'Moore Park, 2pm
New Waterford boss Paraic Fanning said he was pleased with his side’s workrate after their 27-point hammering of Offaly in the opening round last weekend.
Shane Bennett managed 0-16 over the 70 minutes and will hope to keep up that fine shooting form when the Deise men arrive in Portlaoise on Sunday.
Laois had a tough outing against Galway in Round 1 and it doesn’t look like getting any easier for the O’Moore men here as Fanning’s charges bid to keep the heat on the Tribesmen.
Offaly v Dublin, O'Connor Park, 2pm
Donal Burke’s scoring display off the bench worked the oracle for Dublin last time out against a fired-up Carlow outfit and Mattie Kenny’s men will be aiming for a better start in Tullamore this weekend.
The Dubs are 1/20 favourites for the trip to the midlands, with Danny Sutcliffe and Oisin O'Rorke also pushing hard for a place in Kenny’s starting 15 after the last day.
Offaly were thrashed by 27 points against Waterford and face another big ask on Sunday afternoon.
Allianz HL Division 2A round 2
London v Mayo, McGovern Park, 12.30pm
Mayo make the trip across the water here looking to build on their drawn encounter with Meath on opening weekend.
The Westerners are 7/4 outsiders to get the win over London in Ruislip and while some will fancy the visitors’ chances, it’s the Exiles that get the nod to bounce back from their loss to Westmeath on home soil here.
Kerry v Westmeath, Austin Stack Park, 2pm
This is a close one to call after both teams registered solid wins in the first round.
Westmeath are slight favourites with the bookmakers but, with home advantage in their favour, Kerry will be keen to keep tabs on their Lake County counterparts at the top of the Division 2A table.
Meath v Antrim, Trim, 2pm
Antrim paid the price after Nicky McKeague’s early sending off against Kerry the last day, as they fell to a 1-21 to 2-16 defeat at the hands of the Kingdom in Belfast.
The Saffrons will need to get things back on track quickly when they visit Loman's Park on Sunday and, provided their discipline improves, they should have the firepower to do so.
Allianz HL Division 2B round 2
Wicklow v Down, Aughrim, 12.30pm
Wicklow were relentless in their 15-point hammering of Warwickshire last time out and should make it two wins from two when Down come to visit.
Derry v Donegal, Ballinascreen, 2.30pm
Alan Grant’s second-half goal led Derry to victory over Down in Round 1 and John McEvoy's side will be out to edge another Ulster derby against neighbours Donegal this weekend.
Allianz HL Division 3A round 2
Roscommon v Monaghan, Dr Hyde Park, 12.30pm
The Rossies welcome Monaghan on Sunday after crushing Louth by 3-18 to 1-12 last weekend and should edge the Farney men in a much tighter affair here.
Tyrone v Louth, Healy Park, 12.30pm
Tyrone were mightily impressive in their 13-point dismantling of Lancashire in Round 1 and will be tipped to see off Louth’s challenge in Omagh in the early throw-in on Sunday.
Armagh v Lancashire, Crossmaglen, 2.30pm
Armagh are top of the table on score difference after opening weekend and look a shoo-in to keep their early promotion push strong against Lancashire when all’s said and done at St Oliver Plunkett Park.
Allianz HL Division 3B round 2
Fermanagh v Longford, Brewster Park, 2pm
Leitrim v Sligo, Pairc Sean MacDiarmada, 2pm
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