HL previews: Huge clashes in Ennis and Waterford

February 17, 2017

Cork v Dublin, Clare v Kilkenny and Waterford v Tipperary are the Allianz HL Division 1A round 2 fixtures on this weekend.
©INPHO/Ryan Byrne.

Here are our previous for this weekend's round two fixtures in the Allianz Hurling League taking place across the country.

 

Saturday, February 18th

Allianz HL Division 1A round 2
Cork v Dublin,
Pairc Ui Rinn, 7pm - eir Sport

The Rebels have been red-hot during the first six weeks of 2017 and last weekend's 0-21 to 1-11 victory over Clare was the perfect start to their league campaign.

Saturday night's game at Pairc Ui Rinn sees Kieran Kingston's side as 1/5 favourites against a Dublin side which were demolished by Tipperary in round one, with the All-Ireland champions taking home a 16-point victory from Croke Park.

The depleted Dubs face another tall order for their journey south this weekend, lining-out without their Cuala contingent once more, and will be looking to improve considerably on the 1-8 tally they posted against the Premier men last time out.

Cork's forwards have been firing on all cylinders thus far this year, with Shane Kingston and Alan Cadogan particularly impressing in the half-forward line, and it's hard to see them being curtailed on home turf against Ger Cunningham's charges on Saturday.

The hosts should earn themselves another comfortable win in this one.

Verdict: Cork

Allianz HL Division 1B round 2

Laois v Offaly, O'Moore Park, 7pm - eir Sport

Both these sides will have been disappointed with the outcome of their respective first round games last weekend.

Laois let a six-point lead slip in the final 12 minutes in Tralee last Sunday, giving Kerry both points, while Offaly were completely trounced by Galway with the final score-line in Tullamore reading 6-23 to 1-12 in favour of the visitors.

You can be sure that the Faithful men will be out to bounce back from that hammering and interestingly they're coming up against a side managed by the man over them last season in Eamonn Kelly.

There won't be much to separate these two after the 70 minutes.

Verdict: Offaly

Allianz HL Division 3B round 2

Fermanagh v Warwickshire, Brewster Park, 2.30pm

The Exiles came from five points down to spring an upset against Sligo last weekend and should ride their momentum against the Ernesiders, who took a beating from Longford in round one.

Verdict: Warwickshire

Join us for our Live Match Tracker on Saturday evening when we will be providing full text commentary on Cork v Dublin and Laois v Offaly.

 

Sunday, February 19th

Allianz HL Division 1A round 2

Clare v Kilkenny, Cusack Park, 2pm

Sunday sees Clare welcoming the Leinster champions to Ennis, where both sides will be vying for their first win of the campaign.

The Banner men were second best to a fired-up Cork side last weekend, while Kilkenny were beaten by Jamie Barron's late winner in Nowlan Park, making this round two meeting all the more crucial.

The Cats were without Michael Fennelly, Lester Ryan, Kevin Kelly, Colin Fennelly and new captain Mark Bergin for the Waterford loss and Pat Lyng's participation for this weekend is unclear after sustaining a knee injury against the Deise men. Nonetheless Brian Cody's men are still strongly fancied by the bookmakers at 1/2.

After the Cork defeat, Clare legend Ger Loughnane expressed his concerns over his native county's prospects for 2017, writing in his Irish Daily Star column: "There is no rhythm or cohesion to Clare up front. But what is the biggest worry is that, if they're to go for this more direct style of play, they need ball-winners in their forwards. They had no ball-winners against Cork."

Kilkenny look good for both points here.

Verdict: Kilkenny

Waterford v Tipperary, Walsh Park, 2pm - TG4

These two rivals enjoyed brilliant starts to their campaign last weekend and collide at Walsh Park this Sunday for a repeat of last year's Munster final.

Tipperary annihilated the Dubs last Saturday night in Croke Park but face a different proposition in the Deise men, whom should have 2016 'Hurler of the Year' Austin Gleeson starting in their defence after the Mount Sion sensation came off the bench in their victory over Kilkenny.

Waterford defender Noel Connors praised his team mates for the "incredible amount of steel" they demonstrated in the victory over the Cats and they'll need every bit of it again for the All-Ireland champions' visit this weekend.

Target man Seamus Callanan (0-8), Jason Forde (1-3) and league debutant Aidan McCormack (0-5) were the ones to do the most damage for Tipp last time out and will need to have a curbed influence if their neighbours are to pull off a 6/5 upset.  

Verdict: Tipperary

Allianz HL Division 1B round 2

Galway v Wexford, Pearse Stadium, 2pm

Galway laid down a huge maker in round one after crushing Offaly and Wexford face a tall order in trying to halt the Tribesmen's charge on Sunday.

Jason Flynn was in imperious form for Micheál Donoghue's charges in Tullamore last weekend, while Conor Whelan also weighed in with a pair of goals, and the Slayneysiders, who downed Limerick by a goal in round one, will want to stop the hosts on Sunday from raising the umpire's green flag early on in order to prevent an onslaught.

Bookmakers see a wide enough margin between these two sides (Galway are priced at 1/3 and Wexford at 13/5), and it's hard to envisage Davy Fitzgerald gaining some revenge for last year's All-Ireland quarter-final defeat with Clare against the west siders on this occasion.

Verdict: Galway

Limerick v Kerry, Gaelic Grounds, 2pm

A late Conor McDonald goal proved Limerick's undoing last Sunday but they're likely to make up for that defeat to Wexford when Kerry come to the Gaelic Grounds this weekend.

The Kingdom upset Laois with a late comeback in Tralee last weekend but are facing into a daunting task this time round against the Shannonsiders, who are 1/100 to secure their first win of the campaign on Sunday.

Treaty boss John Kiely was critical of referee Diarmuid Kirwan after Wexford's comeback but he's likely to be overseeing a routine win for his side in round two.

Verdict: Limerick

Allianz HL Division 2A round 2

Armagh v London, Athletic Grounds, 1pm

Armagh fell to a three-point defeat at the Atheltic Grounds against a new-look Kildare outfit last weekend and will be gunning to put things right against London on the same turf Sunday.

The Exiles were second best to Antrim throughout round one and look like being inflicted with a second defeat with this weekend's visit to the Orchard County.

Verdict: Armagh

Carlow v Antrim, Netwatch Cullen Park, 2pm

This one should be an intriguing encounter after both sides came through last weekend with victory and one would expect that there won't be much separating them at the final whistle.

Carlow had a hard fought win over Leinster rivals Westmeath in their opening round, while Antrim avenged last year's shock defeat to London by having seven points to spare over them last Sunday.

The Barrowsiders should have just enough to shade a second win here.

Verdict: Carlow

Kildare v Westmeath, Newbridge, 2pm

Westmeath boss Michael Ryan has pledged that his players "will come out fighting" in Newbridge on Sunday after last weekend's narrow defeat to Carlow.

The Lake County endured a massive shock in mid-week with the sudden death of Castlepollard hurler Donal Devine and with his nephew Allan a key member of the squad, his team mates will be keen to win this one for him.

Kildare's new-look side under Joe Quaid looked good in their win over Armagh last weekend but are set to be up against it here.

Verdict: Westmeath

Allianz HL Division 2B round 2

Down v Roscommon, Ballycran, 12.30pm

Down may have been routed by Meath last weekend but the Mourne men should have enough to see off a Roscommon side, which were crushed by Wicklow, when they come to visit Ballycran.

Verdict: Down

Meath v Derry, Pairc Tailteann, 2pm

The Christy Ring Cup champions made a spectacular start to their league campaign, smashing four goals past Down in a 20-point hammering, and it means Derry have a huge battle on their hands in trying to derail them this Sunday in Navan.

Verdict: Meath

Wicklow v Mayo, Aughrim, 2pm

Wicklow impressed in a 16-point win over Roscommon, while Mayo's couldn't fight back to earn a result against Derry in round one. It all points to a second win for the Garden men.

Verdict: Wicklow

Allianz HL Division 3A round 2

Monaghan v Donegal, Castleblayney, 2pm

It's an Ulster derby in 'Blayney and with both these sides having gotten off to a flying start in round one, Sunday's showdown at St Mary's Park should be a close battle.

Verdict: Donegal

Louth v Tyrone, Darver, 2pm

Both sides will be looking to bounce back after being inflicted with heavy beatings in the first round and the Red Hands get the nod to do so here.

Verdict: Tyrone

Allianz HL Division 3B round 2

Leitrim v Longford, Pairc Sean MacDiarmada, 2pm

Longford cruised past Fermanagh in a 2-13 to 0-7 win last weekend and their neighbours shouldn't halt them from moving into pole position in the bottom tier.

Verdict: Longford

Join us for our Live Match Tracker on Sunday afternoon when we will be providing full text commentary on all games.



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