While bad weather forced the postponement of two games in Group A of the Allianz Hurling League Division 1 campaign, leaving two unplayed, there’s less uncertainty in Group B where three of the five rounds have been completed.
Clare are the pace-setters in Group B, winning all three games and opening up a two-point lead over Kilkenny, Wexford and Dublin. If Clare beat Kilkenny, it would almost certainly be enough to guarantee them a place in the knock-out stages (the winners in Groups A and B qualify for the semi-finals, while second and third will reach the quarter-finals)
ALLIANZ HURLING LEAGUE DIVISION 1: GROUP A: MUNSTER CLASH THE BIG ATTRACTION
Cork v Limerick has provided four fascinating contests since Summer 2018, resulting in two wins for the Rebels, one for John Kiely’s men, and one draw. Cork won twice last year (2-21 to 1-21 in the Allianz League, 1-26 to 1-19 in the Munster championship). Limerick won the 2018 All-Ireland semi-final by 3-32 to 2-31 after extra-time; earlier on the Munster ‘round robin’ clash ended level – Cork 1-25 to 0-28.
Both counties are currently on four points in this group, but Limerick have played one match less after their clash with Waterford was called off last Sunday.
Galway v Waterford has also been a very busy rivalry too– in fact they met twice in 2017 and 2019, with two wins apiece.
Galway won both in 2017 (Allianz League Division 1 quarter-final and All-Ireland final) while Waterford beat the Tribesmen twice last season (1-18 to 2-13 Division 1B and 1-18 to 0-19 in the semi-final). Waterford, Limerick and Cork are all on four points in this group, with the first two having played a game fewer than Kieran Kingston’s men. Galway are on two points.
Tipperary (two games) and Westmeath (three games) are both seeking their first points in this year’s League. The last competitive clash between the counties was in 2017 when Tipperary won an All-Ireland qualifier by nine points in Semple Stadium.
Feb 23rd (2.0): Cork v Limerick, Pairc Ui Chaoimh; Waterford v Galway, Walsh Park; Tipperary v Westmeath, Nenagh.
HURLING LEAGUE DIVISION 1: GROUP B: DUBS AND WEXFORD TO CLASH
Dublin and Wexford clashed in the Leinster championship over the last two seasons, with Wexford winning in 2018 (0-22 to 2-14) while last year’s tie was drawn (Dublin 1-22 Wexford 2-19).
After a losing opener against Kilkenny in Nowlan Park Dublin have won their last two games against Laois and Carlow, putting in a strong second half display last Saturday evening to defeat the Barrowsiders, 0-20 to 0-9, in Netwatch Cullen Park.
Played 3, Won 3; no goals conceded; points difference +27. That’s the impressive start Clare have made under new manager, Brian Lohan.
Next up is a big challenge against Kilkenny, who had their unbeaten run ended by Wexford last Sunday.
Clare are seeking a third successive Allianz League victory over Kilkenny, having won by point last year and by three points in 2018. Wexford (4pts) return to Croke Park for the first time since losing to Tipperary in last year’s All-Ireland semi-final to take on Dublin, who are also on four points.
Laois and Carlow have both lost their opening three Allianz League games, leaving them in relegation territory ahead of their meeting in Portlaoise on Saturday (bottom of Group A will play bottom of Group B to decide who drops down to 2A). Carlow and Laois drew in last year’s League. Carlow are by far the lowest scorers in Division 1, having scored a total of 0-32 in three games.
Feb 22nd: Dublin v Wexford, Croke Park, 5.0; Laois v Carlow, O’Moore Park, 7.0; Sunday: Feb 23rd: Kilkenny v Clare, Nowlan Park, 2.0
HURLING LEAGUE DIVISION 2A: KERRY IN IMPRESSIVE PROMOTION PUSH
Having missed out on promotion last year after losing the 2A final to Westmeath, Kerry are giving themselves a great chance again this year. They have won their first three Allianz League games by an average of over eight points. A win over Wicklow on Sunday might even be enough to earn them a place in the final. Wicklow, who were promoted from 2B last year, had their first win in the higher group last weekend when they beat Mayo.
The Offaly-Antrim game was called off, leaving both with a match in hand on Kerry. Offaly travel to Castlebar to take on Mayo, who have yet to win a game in this campaign while Antrim host Meath, whom they beat by a point in last year’s League.
Feb 22nd: Wicklow v Kerry, Arklow, 2.0; Feb 23rd: Antrim v Meath, Loughgiel, 12.30; Mayo v Offaly, Elverys MacHale Park, 2.0
HURLING LEAGUE DIVISION 2B: BIG BATTLE EMERGING BETWEEN TOP FOUR
Kildare, Down, Derry and Roscommon are all on four points. However, Kildare and Derry have played a game less than the others. Derry beat Warwickshire by four points in last year’s Allianz League. London and Warwickshire have yet to pick up a point this season.
Feb 22nd: Derry v Warwickshire, Celtic Park, 1.0; Feb 23rd: Kildare v Roscommon, Newbridge, 12.30; London v Down, McGovern Park, Ruislip, 2.0
ALLIANZ HURLING LEAGUE DIVISION 3A: ARMAGH AND LONGFORD REMAIN UNBEATEN
Armagh and London continue to lead the way at the top of the Allianz League Division 3A table after drawing last weekend. Both are on five points, followed by Donegal and Tyrone, who are both on four points.
Feb 23rd (2.0): Donegal v Monaghan, Letterkenny; Armagh v Louth, Athletic Grounds; Tyrone v Longford, Omagh.
HURLING LEAGUE DIVISION 3B: ALL FIVE ON TWO POINTS
All five counties are on two points in Allianz League Division 3B, but that doesn’t tell the whole story. Sligo have played only one game, whereas Cavan have played three. Leitrim, Lancashire and Fermanagh have each played two games.
Feb 22nd: Lancashire v Fermanagh, Abbottstown, 3.30; Feb 23rd: Sligo v Leitrim, Markievicz Park, 2.0.
2020 ALLIANZ HURLING LEAGUE: RESULTS & FIXTURES
Round 1: Limerick 2-14 Tipperary 0-18; Galway 1-24 Westmeath 0-10; Waterford 1-24 Cork 3-17.
Round 2: Cork 2-24 Tipperary 1-25; Waterford 3-18 Westmeath 1-15; Limerick 1-19 Galway 0-14.
Round 3: Cork 3-12 Westmeath 1-14; Galway v Tipperary – postponed; Limerick v Waterford – postponed.
Round 4: Feb 23: Waterford v Galway; Cork v Limerick; Tipperary v Westmeath.
Round 5: Mar 1: Galway v Cork; Limerick v Westmeath; Tipperary v Waterford.
Round 1: Wexford 2-27 Laois 2-16; Kilkenny 3-21 Dublin 0-18; Clare 1-27 Carlow 0-14.
Round 2: Dublin 4-18 Laois 2-17; Kilkenny 3-21 Carlow 0-9; Clare 0-18 Wexford 0-15.
Round 3: Dublin 0-20 Carlow 0-9; Clare 0-17 Laois 0-9; Wexford 1-16 Kilkenny 1-14.
Round 4: Feb 22: Dublin v Wexford; Laois v Carlow; Feb 23: Kilkenny v Clare.
Round 5: Mar 1: Clare v Dublin; Laois v Kilkenny; Wexford v Carlow.
Mar 7/8: 2nd Group A v 3rd Group B; 2nd Group A v 3rd Group B
6th Group A v 6th Group B
Round 1: Kerry 2-24 Mayo 0-13; Offaly 0-26 Meath 1-21; Antrim 0-20 Wicklow 0-11.
Round 2: Meath 2-24 Wicklow 3-18; Antrim 4-19 Mayo 0-7; Kerry 2-11 Offaly 0-14.
Round 3: Kerry 0-13 Meath 0-8; Wicklow 1-16 Mayo 1-13; Offaly v Antrim- postponed.
Round 4: Feb 22: Wicklow v Kerry; Feb 23: Antrim v Meath; Mayo v Offaly.
Round 5: Mar 1: Meath v Mayo; Kerry v Antrim; Offaly v Wicklow
Final: Mar 7/8
Round 1: Roscommon 2-19 Warwickshire 1-10; Derry 1-19 Down 0-19; Kildare 2-26 London 0-20.
Round 2: Kildare 5-19 Warwickshire 0-1; Down 3-23 Roscommon 0-11; Derry 4-15 London 2-18.
Round 3: Down 3-22 Warwickshire 2-8; Roscommon 0-13 London 0-10; Derry v Kildare - postponed
Round 4: Feb 22: Derry v Warwickshire; February 23: Kildare v Roscommon; London v Down.
Round 5: Mar 1: Down v Kildare; Roscommon v Derry; Warwickshire v London.
Final: Mar 7/8
Round 1: Armagh 2-17 Donegal 0-15; Tyrone 1-21 Louth 1-16; Longford 2-16 Monaghan 0-18;.
Round 2: Longford 1-15 Louth 1-10; Armagh 3-25 Monaghan 1-10; Donegal 2-23 Tyrone 1-15.
Round 3: Longford 0-9 Armagh 0-9; Donegal 2-9 Louth 1-10; Tyrone 2-17 Monaghan 1-7
Round 4: Feb 23: Armagh v Louth; Donegal v Monaghan; Tyrone v Longford.
Round 5: Mar 1: Longford v Donegal; Monaghan v Louth; Armagh v Tyrone.
Final: Mar 7/8
Round 1: Lancashire 0-15 Cavan 0-8; Fermanagh 2-12 Leitrim 1-13.
Round 2: Sligo 3-18 Lancashire 1-15; Cavan 0-17 Fermanagh 0-12.
Round 3: Feb 16: Fermanagh v Sligo – postponed; Leitrim 0-13 Cavan 0-5.
Round 4: Feb 22: Lancashire v Fermanagh; Feb 23: Sligo v Leitrim.
Round 5: Mar 1: Cavan v Sligo; Leitrim v Lancashire.
Final: Mar 7/8