It says plenty about just how poor Cork were last weekend that they aren’t favourites to win this second round game. When was the last time they weren’t fancied at home aside from playing Kilkenny? Cork have steamrolled teams in Páirc Uí Rinn but if they are to beat Waterford it won’t be by much. Waterford looked settled already and are playing to a plan. The same can’t be said of Cork either in terms of personnel or tactics and Seamus Harnedy will be sorely missed here. Now is not the time to be concentrating too much on style but Cork’s attitude must change and quickly if they are to avoid a relegation battle. Waterford did put much focus on the Kilkenny game but momentum can carry them.
Parnell Park has been a happy home for Dublin and like Cork a reaction will be demanded and expected from the Dublin players. Ramping up the intensity will be essential to thwarting Galway who, it seems, are out to prove a point in every game this year. The return of Liam Rushe will help the Dublin cause but the spine still isn’t close to what it should be and Galway, the last team to beat them in the league at the Donnycarney venue in 2011, will hope to exploit that weakness.
Of all the three teams beaten last weekend, the biggest response is expected from Kilkenny and their opposition is a key factor. Tipperary may have only beaten Kilkenny twice since the 2010 All-Ireland final, both victories coming in the league, but it was the neighbours who consigned them to a relegation play-off last year. Tipperary’s directness will be tested significantly here and having Seamus Callanan available would greatly increase their prospects of picking up another two points. Kilkenny may be lacking preparation but they can squeeze a win through sheer grit.
A family affair in Killarney where uncle, Ciaran Carey, and nephew, Cian Lynch, find themselves in opposite camps. Declining interviews, Kerry management have moved to quell the hype following their opening win over Laois and the challenge presented by Limerick should bring players right back down to ground. Limerick simply must have as close to if not the full complement of points going into the final round against Clare.
Maybe Eamonn Kelly would have wished some of his players channelled their aggression into their hurling rather than some of the unsavoury incidents in Ennis last weekend. They will need to be steeled here so as to avoid any chance of being dragged into a relegation battle. Laois need to bounce back rapidly from their Kerry defeat but Offaly should have enough in their armoury to fend them off.
Including the Walsh Cup final loss, it’s been two pretty dismal back-to-back performances for Wexford and a third here — or even a narrow defeat — would all but dash their promotion hopes. There has to be a sting coming and Clare, who are without a few players, may feel it. A win of any kind would be termed a success for a group of players who won’t need reminding what Wexford did to them in 2014.
A good battle away to Kildare last weekend should have Carlow well tuned-in for this fixture.
Antrim weren’t overly impressive in beating Derry first day out but will be warned here having seen Kildare challenge Carlow.
Score difference could play a big role by the end of this division especially if Antrim, Carlow and Westmeath take points off one another. Westmeath need to keep that in mind.
Armagh can make amends for last weekend’s narrow home defeat to Down.
There could be a lot of punishment coming Wicklow’s way here. Down will challenge Meath for promotion.
Meath’s superior forward line should see them make it two wins out of two.
Tyrone look that more battle-hardened at present.
It has been a tough 2015 for Paula Cunningham and her Monaghan side and things aren’t getting much easier after two heavy defeats. Armagh are on the crest of a wave and will know that a win this weekend will push them very firmly into the play-off picture. Hard to be against Armagh.
Tyrone have lost their opening two games while Galway are desperate to bounce back from a narrow defeat to Mayo last weekend.