A number of teams getting into championship gear this weekend...
Christy Ring Cup (Round 1).
Antrim v Kildare, Parnell Park, 1pm (S Cleere, Kilkenny)
It will be interesting to see how Antrim will react after all their recent difficulties. The interim management team are full of men who gave their all for the county. They’ll expect the same from their charges here but Kildare aren’t pushovers.
Down v London, Ballycran, 2pm (G McGrath, Wexford)
London were surprise package in Division 2A this spring, taking a couple of decent scalps. Down know what’s coming but that may not be enough.
Meath v Wicklow, Trim, 3.30pm (J O’Brien, Tipperary)
Meath were nine-point winners back in February but each county’s Division 2B campaigns petered out. The advantage is still with the Royals.
Roscommon v Derry, Athleague, 3.30pm (J Keane, Galway)
An awful spring for Derry but they should be a little too strong for Roscommon.
Nicky Rackard Cup (Round 1).
Fermanagh v Monaghan, Brewster Park 3.30pm (C Cunning, Antrim)
Tyrone v Mayo, Carrickmore, 3.30pm (J Clarke, Cavan)
Fingal v Longford, Swords, 3.30pm (J Murphy, Limerick)
Armagh v Donegal, Athletic Grounds Armagh, 3.30pm (E Hassan, Derry). Verdict:
Lory Meagher Cup (Round 1).
Leitrim v Warwickshire, Ballinamore, 2pm (K McGeeney, Roscommon)
Louth v Sligo, Louth Centre of Excellence, 2.30pm (M Murtagh, Westmeath)
Electric Ireland Munster MHC semi-final play-off 1, Waterford v Tipperary, Walsh Park, 2pm
A first outing for Tipperary as the new changes to the minor championship system are evidenced, with the winners here advancing to the semi-finals and the losers playing Clare. Waterford led 1-2 to no score early on in their opening game against Cork but ended up losing by three points. Eoin McGrath, Eoghan Murray and Neil Montgomery can all contribute scores for the Déise, while goalkeeper Billy Nolan’s free-taking is a vital asset too. Tipp include eight of the matchday 24 from last year’s All-Ireland final loss to Galway, with Brian McGrath, Cian Darcy and Lyndon Fairbrother all having started that match. Dillon Neville and Mark Quirke will add to the attacking prowess and Michael Whelan anchors the defence.
Electric Ireland Leinster MHC second round (all 3pm).
Laois v Carlow, O’Moore Park
Laois lost to Offaly while Carlow beat Kildare in their campaign openers. Aaron Bergin is Laois’s primary source of scores, while Carlow will look to Chris Nolan.
Kilkenny v Offaly, Nowlan Park
James Bergin, Colum Prenderville and Seán Buggy should have an impact for the Cats. Offaly’s hopes of an upset rest with Eoin Woods and David Nally.
Westmeath v Meath, TEG Cusack Park
Meath were 10-22 to 0-7 winners against Wicklow, with Peter Farrell scoring four goals, but they’ll find a stiffer challenge here. Seán Dowd is key man for Westmeath.
Wexford v Dublin, Innovate Wexford Park
Rory O’Connor and Theo Doyle were among the goal scorers in Wexford’s 15-point win over Westmeath but Dublin are favourites here, even without injured pair Donal Burke and John Walsh.
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