PREDICTIONS: Who will come out on top in Division 1A?

John Fogarty sees Kilkenny and Tipperary renewing rivalries at the head of a competitive Division 1A

PREDICTIONS: Who will come out on top in Division 1A?

CORK

Manager: Kieran Kingston (1st season)

Captain: Stephen McDonnell (1st season)

What they want:

Much like the footballers, performances are the priority, not exactly results although avoiding a relegation play-off will be a must

What they fear:

We don’t expect to see a style manifest itself just yet but Cork can’t afford to be muddled between tactics as they were midway through last year’s championship

On the rise: Cathal Cormack, William Leahy

On the mend: Aidan Walsh

2015 AHL in one word: Flattering

2015 AHL top scorer: Pat Horgan (2-80)

Fixtures:

Feb 14: v Galway (a); Feb 20: v Waterford (h); Mar 5: v Dublin (a); Mar 12: v Kilkenny (h); Mar 20: v Cork (a)

Prediction: Knockout stages (4th)

DUBLIN

Manager: Ger Cunningham (2nd season)

Captain: Peter Kelly/Liam Rushe (2nd season)

Peter Kelly
Peter Kelly

What they want:

But for an awful finish to their semi-final against Cork last year, Dublin would have made the final. To make the last four with Cunningham having taken a broom to the group would be an achievement

What they fear:

Without established players like Michael Carton, Simon Lambert, and Danny Sutcliffe, Dublin are lacking experience and they also quite light in size. In heavy spring conditions, that may catch them out

On the rise: Chris Bennett, Fionn Ó Riann Broin

On the mend: Niall Corcoran, Ryan O’Dwyer, Peter Kelly, Paul Schutte

Ryan O’Dwyer
Ryan O’Dwyer

2015 AHL in one word: Satisfactory

2015 AHL top scorer: David Treacy (0-35)

Fixtures:

Feb 13: v Tipperary (a); Feb 20: v Galway (h); Mar 5: v Cork (h); Mar 13: v Waterford (a); Mar 20: v Kilkenny (a).

Prediction: Relegation

GALWAY

Manager: Micheál Donoghue (1st season)

Captain: David Burke (1st season)

What they want:

Results are the only way of distancing themselves from the controversy over the winter. At the same time, Donoghue will need a little room to experiment.

What they fear:

A run of defeats and there will be plenty on the players’ backs after their heave against Anthony Cunningham. Such negativity is the last thing Donoghue needs.

On the rise: Shane Maloney, Conor Whelan

On the mend: Conor Cooney, Dean Higgins

Conor Cooney
Conor Cooney

2015 AHL in one word: Dreary

2015 AHL top scorer: Jason Flynn (0-29)

Fixtures:

Feb 14: v Cork (h); Feb 21: v Dublin (a); Mar 6: v Kilkenny (a); Mar 13: v Tipperary (h); Mar 20: v Waterford (a).

Prediction:

Relegation play-off

KILKENNY

Manager: Brian Cody (18th season)

Captain: Shane Prendergast (1st season)

What they want:

The knockout stages. They bridged the yawning gap between a relegation play-off and a Leinster semi-final last year but a repeat wouldn’t be welcome.

What they fear:

Defence and midfield options look fairly sound but the absence of Ger Aylward, Eoin Larkin, and Richie Power will impact on their attacking choices and any more injuries would cause an issue or two.

On the rise: Robert Lennon, James Maher

On the mend: Ger Aylward, Joe Lyng

Ger Aylward
Ger Aylward

2015 AHL in one word: Deceiving

2015 AHL top scorer: Richie Hogan (1-43)

Fixtures:

Feb 14: v Waterford (a); Feb 21: v Tipperary (h); Mar 6: v Galway (h); Mar 12: v Cork (a); Mar 20: v Dublin (h)

Prediction: Champions (1st)

TIPPERARY

Manager: Michael Ryan (1st season)

Captain: Brendan Maher (3rd season)

What they want:

A couple of bouts with Kilkenny would be welcome providing they win at least one. Were they to beat the Cats the weekend after next, it would be the first time they have managed back-to-back victories over the neighbours in league or championship since 2008.

What they fear:

Another poor start to the league and they could find themselves behind the eight ball going into March. Three home games should ensure they avoid too much trouble.

On the mend: Kieran Bergin, Seamus Callanan, Sean Curran, Conor O’Brien.

Conor O’Brien
Conor O’Brien

2015 AHL in one word: Patchy

2015 AHL top scorer: Seamus Callanan (3-45)

Seamus Callanan
Seamus Callanan

Fixtures:

Feb 13: v Dublin (h); Feb 21: v Kilkenny (a); Mar 6: v Waterford (h); Mar 13: v Galway (a); Mar 20: v Cork (h)

Prediction: Knockout stages (2nd)

WATERFORD

Manager: Derek McGrath (3rd season)

Captain: Kevin Moran (3rd season, 2nd consecutive)

[timg]Exam21032014GAA2KevinMoranWaterford_large.jpg/timg[]

What they want:

They’ve already shown they can contend with and beat most of this top flight crop but a second successive spring full of promise would indicate they’re here to stick around.

What they fear:

That they will struggle now that the surprise element of last year is gone. Teams have had time to size up Waterford but then they will have anticipated that too.

On the rise: Kieran Bennett, Patrick Curran

On the mend: Stephen Bennett, Pauric Mahony, Tadhg de Burca

Tadhg de Burca
Tadhg de Burca

2015 AHL in one word: Terrific

2015 AHL top scorer: Pauric Mahony (1-79)

Fixtures:

Feb 14: v Kilkenny (a); Feb 20: v Cork (a); Mar 6: v Tipperary (a); Mar 13: v Dublin (h); Mar 20: v Galway (h).

Prediction: Knockout stages (3rd)

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