HL previews: Deise men head for Thurles

February 02, 2018

Waterford's Austin Gleeson signs autographs for young supporters after his side's Allianz HL defeat to Wexford at Walsh Park.
©INPHO/Ken Sutton.

Here are the previews for Round 2 of the Allianz Hurling League with 17 games taking place around the country and across the water.

 

Saturday, February 3rd

Allianz HL Division 1A round 2

Tipperary v Waterford, Semple Stadium, 7pm - eir sport 2

Both these sides lost out in Round 1 after tough battles and have been given six days to prepare for what will surely be another one tomorrow in Thurles.

Tipperary are 1/2 favourites on their home turf and should start some more familiar faces against Waterford this weekend, with John 'Bubbles' O'Dwyer, Michael Breen, John McGrath, Brendan Maher and Dan McCormack all coming off the bench in last weekend's five-point defeat to Clare.

The good news for Derek McGrath and co is that Seamus Callanan's invaluable services aren't set to be available to the Premier men until the summer while their own marksman Pauric Mahony is in fine form, having landed 0-12 the last day.

The losers here will be fighting an early relegation battle. That provides plenty incentive and hopefully it'll serve up a classic at the home of hurling tomorrow night.

Verdict: Tipperary

Allianz HL Division 1B round 2

Laois v Galway, O'Moore Park, 7pm

Holders Galway survived a scare from Antrim in last weekend's opener at Pearse Stadium and should look a bit more familiar in their line-up when they head for Portlaoise on Saturday.

Micheál O'Donoghue went with just six of the side that started in last year's All-Ireland final victory over Waterford last Sunday, but still managed to finish stronger in Salthill and deny the Saffrons what would have been a huge upset.

Laois were comfortably dealt with by Limerick in Round 1, losing out by double figures at the Gaelic Grounds, and are likely to endure another hefty defeat when the 1/25 Tribesmen come to town.

Verdict: Galway

Allianz HL Division 2A round 2

London v Meath, Ruislip, 1pm

This one could be closer than most think, with Meath having edged victory over Kildare in their opening game thanks to Jack Regan's 1-10 contribution.

London ran into a Kerry haymaker last weekend and should put up a better show on home turf, but the Royals are still fancied to make it two wins from two here.  

Verdict: Meath

Allianz HL Division 3A round 2

Warwickshire v Longford, Pairc na hEireann, 3pm

Warwickshire came through a battle with Tyrone in Dungannon to start life off in Division 3A on a winning note and the Exiles should take both points when Longford come to visit them across the Channel.

Verdict: Warwickshire

 

Sunday, February 4th

Allianz HL Division 1A round 2

Kilkenny v Clare, Nowlan Park, 2pm

Defeat for Kilkenny in this one would spell an early relegation battle and Clare's visit on Sunday afternoon will be sure to provide them with a stern test.

Brian Cody's men went down fighting at Pairc Ui Chaoimh against a fired-up Cork side on opening weekend, but it only provides so much consolation as points are now required quickly by the Cats.

Clare got the perfect start against Tipperary on their own patch with David Reidy's 1-1 contribution putting the Premier men to bed late on in Ennis.

Expect another tight encounter here to provide plenty of entertainment.

Verdict: Kilkenny

Wexford v Cork, Innovate Wexford Park, 2pm - TG4

All has been going according to script so far for Wexford in 2018 and Sunday sees the Slayneysiders presented with another tough task when Cork come to visit.

The Rebels edged one hell of a battle against Kilkenny in their league opener last weekend and must now plot against Davy Fitzgerald's in-form charges, heading south east as narrow favourites.

Conor Lehane, Shane Kingston and Seamus Harnedy came up trumps big time for the men from Leeside last time out and they'll no doubt need to step up to the plate again at Innovate Wexford Park if they're to take home both points.

Sunday's game is a particularly intriguing one for Cork boss John Meyler, who has managed both of these counties.

Verdict: Draw  

Allianz HL Division 1B round 2

Offaly v Limerick, O'Connor Park, 2pm

Offaly eased past Dublin for what was the upset of opening weekend last time out and will carry plenty of confidence with them when Limerick come to visit on Sunday.

The early signs suggest that the Faithful men have made huge strides under Kevin Martin but the Shannonsiders are fancied to bring them back down to earth here.

Treaty boss John Kiely has branded this clash "a massive game for both counties" and it could well end up being a shoot-out between Aaron Gillane, who was again in form for his college side Mary I in mid-week, and the deadly Shane Dooley when all's said and done in Tullamore.

Verdict: Limerick

Antrim v Dublin, Corrigan Park, 2pm

This is a tricky one for the Dubs as they look to rebound from their shock loss to Offaly in Round 1.

Antrim put it up to holders Galway in Salthill in the league opener but the hosts only started six of their All-Ireland winning side for the Glensmen's visit before winning out by three in the end.

Pat Gilroy said that the capital men would have to "look at ourselves and come up with the answers" following their 2-25 to 1-15 trouncing at the hands of the much improved Faithful County. Can they come up with them on Sunday?

Verdict: Dublin

Allianz HL Division 2A round 2

Westmeath v Kildare, TEG Cusack Park, 12.30pm

Westmeath will surely be happy with how they started the league on both the football and hurling fronts and Sunday sees Michael Ryan's team look to ride their momentum when Kildare come to Mullingar.

The Lilywhites may have lost some star names since beating the Lake County at this stage last year but they still put up a brave battle against Meath and this one could well be equally as close.

Verdict: Westmeath

Kerry v Carlow, Austin Stack Park, 2pm

Kerry thrashed London in Round 1 and are set to welcome a much more stern challenge when Carlow come to Tralee.

The Barrowsiders could have taken something from their opener against Westmeath had they not had a late goal controversially disallowed and will surely be eager to cross the white line again as soon as possible.

Verdict: Kerry

Allianz HL Division 2B round 2

Donegal v Derry, Letterkenny, 12.30pm

These two neighbours both came away from opening weekend empty-handed and that should help to add some spice to this Letterkenny derby.

Donegal are newcomers to this division while Derry are still minus the services of numerous members from last year's squad. The Oak Leafers still get the nod here though.

Verdict: Derry

Armagh v Mayo, Athletic Grounds, 2pm

Dual star Keith Higgins has stayed committed to the cause for Mayo's hurlers and they should keep up their good start to the season here.

Armagh were no match for Wicklow first time out and would do well to have denied the Westerners both points by the time the last whistle sounds at the Athletic Grounds.

Verdict: Mayo

Down v Wicklow, Ballycran, 2pm

Wicklow make the trip north this weekend looking to make it two wins from two against a Down side which defeated Derry in their opener.

When these two met in March of last year it was the Garden men that emerged seven-point winners, so it looks like the hosts on Sunday have a bit of ground to make up.

Verdict: Wicklow

Allianz HL Division 3A round 2

Monaghan v Roscommon, Inniskeen, 2pm

This looks a tight one to call but with the Rossies in flying form against Louth the last day, they get the nod to take home the points from the Farney County.

Verdict: Roscommon

Louth v Tyrone, Darver, 2pm

Both these sides came up empty-handed when all was said and done on opening weekend. Tyrone can't afford another slow start like against Warwickshire last week when they trailed by 3-8 to 0-2 early on but still should have enough to beat Louth on Sunday.

Verdict: Tyrone

Allianz HL Division 3B round 2

Leitrim v Lancashire, Ballinamore, 12pm

Lancashire will hope to apply their scoring touch again this weekend after hitting 2-25 against Fermanagh and Leitrim know they'll need to nullify Ronan Crowley's threat in order to book a win in Ballinamore.

Verdict: Lancashire

Cavan v Sligo, Kingspan Breffni, 2pm

Cavan return to league action this weekend after a bye in the first round and it should provide Sligo with an ample opportunity to take home points, having already gotten a game under their belts.

Verdict: Sligo

 

Join us for our Live Match Tracker on Saturday evening and Sunday afternoon when we will be providing full text commentary on the Allianz Hurling Leagues.



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