GAA weekend previews

A look ahead to the weekend’s action...
GAA weekend previews

(all 2pm unless stated)

TOMORROW

Allianz Hurling League, Round 5.

Division 1A.

Kilkenny v Dublin, Nowlan Park (J Keenan, Wicklow).

An opportunity for out-of-favour/fringe players to impress although a win here for either team would likely guarantee an easier quarter-final. Kilkenny looked good at home this spring and their comeback win in Cork can only give them more momentum.

Verdict:

Kilkenny.

Tipperary v Cork, Semple Stadium (P O’Dwyer, Carlow) Deferred TG4.

Pointless Cork can’t afford not to take any game lightly although it may be a consideration for them that if they beat Tipperary here it could help trigger the first of three meetings with their age-old rivals in the space of nine weeks. Such familiarity could work in Cork’s favour in turning around their season but they will need to prime themselves as they did against Kilkenny if they are to match the eagerness of Tipperary. The hosts know a win will likely secure them a tasty quarter-final against Clare or Limerick.

Verdict:

Tipperary.

Waterford v Galway, Walsh Park (B Gavin, Offaly).

The word on the street was Waterford trained harder than usual in the days prior to the visit of Dublin to Walsh Park. Their focus should return for this encounter where anything less than a win could see them facing a quarter-final against Clare or Limerick. Galway will arrive knowing they can only win and hope that Tipperary don’t do the same in Thurles.

Verdict:

Galway.

Division 1B.

Clare v Limerick, Cusack Park (F Horgan, Tipperary) Live TG4.

Obviously, it’s a massive game for both counties but even more significant in Limerick considering how eager the board are to return to Division 1A for the sake of their finances. Limerick should be heartened that they haven’t shed points without their Na Piarsaigh men. In their stead, the starlets have impressed. They face a Clare team that boast a 100% record this spring without a number of key men. Clare have been extremely business-like in the campaign yet have played well within themselves. Tomorrow may be the day they unleash what they’ve been working on.

Verdict:

Clare.

Laois v Wexford, O’Moore Park (S Cleere, Kilkenny).

Wexford’s fine summer of 2014 couldn’t be more removed from the dismal effort put in last weekend in defeat to Offaly. There must surely be a reaction but Laois will smell blood. Wexford can just about scrape themselves off the floor and into the last quarter-final spot.

Verdict:

Wexford.

Offaly v Kerry, St Brendan’s Park, Birr (J Keane, Galway).

Currently in third, a win tomorrow in their spiritual home will keep Offaly there, confirming an improvement on last season. Eamonn Kelly’s work, as it was in Kerry, will be done and should be measured in increments. His old charges will be keen to strike a blow against him in the hope they can avoid a relegation play-off. But there are too many factors in the Faithful’s favour.

Verdict:

Offaly.

Division 2A.

Carlow v Westmeath, Netwatch Cullen Park (J Ryan, Tipperary).

It will be interesting to see how Westmeath approach this one. Do they relax and hope to catch Carlow when it really matters in a final or do they go all out for the win assuming it could play a large part in London making the decider? Carlow’s thought process is clearer.

Verdict:

Carlow.

Kildare v Derry, St Conleth’s Park (J Heffernan, Wexford).

A game of little consequence considering they will face one another in a relegation play-off. Kildare at home will hope to land a psychological blow at least.

Verdict:

Kildare.

London v Antrim, Irish TV Grounds Ruislip (E Hassan, Derry).

Antrim’s promotion hopes went out the window losing to Carlow at home last weekend. London’s, though, remain very much alive.

Verdict:

London.

Division 2B.

Armagh v Mayo, Athletic Grounds (G McGrath, Wexford).

Armagh can see themselves into the final with a win here.

Verdict: A

rmagh.

Down v Meath, McKenna Park, Ballycran (C Cunning, Antrim).

Meath have yet to concede a goal but that record may be broken here against table-toppers Down who are looking to secure their final place.

Verdict:

Down.

Wicklow v Donegal, Aughrim (P Burke, Kilkenny).

A case of playing it again Sam for this pair in a relegation play-off. Home advantage to count here.

Verdict:

Wicklow.

Division 3A.

Louth v Fingal, Darver (G Quilty, Kilkenny).

Louth will find Fingal’s firepower too hot to handle.

Verdict:

Fingal.

Monaghan v Warwickshire, Castleblayney (K Brady, Louth).

Monaghan need to pile on the points here to be in the hunt for making the decider.

Verdict:

Monaghan.

Roscommon v Tyrone, Athleague (J Murphy, Limerick).

Roscommon’s 100% record will be most under threat here as Tyrone aim to join them in the final but they can see them off.

Verdict:

Roscommon.

Division 3B, Round 3.

Leitrim v Fermanagh, Páirc Seán Mac Diarmada (K McGeeney, Roscommon).

Verdict:

Leitrim.

Sligo v Longford, Markievicz Park (M Murtagh, Westmeath).

Verdict:

Sligo.

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