Conor Whelan, Galway, and Ben Conneely, Offaly, collide during the 2018 Leinster Senior Hurling Championship.
Conor Whelan, Galway, and Ben Conneely, Offaly, collide during the 2018 Leinster Senior Hurling Championship.

Preview: Allianz Hurling League Division 1B


Sunday February 24

Allianz Hurling League Division 1B

Offaly v Galway, Bord Na Mona O'Connor Park, 1pm

It has been a worrying start to the spring for Offaly, who have endured three tough losses.

There was a bit of a second half rally against Laois, who had dominated the first period at O'Moore Park.

Kevin Martin is hopeful that a string of important players will be available once more in the coming weeks.

Galway fielded their most experienced team of the year when beating Dublin at Pearse Stadium last Sunday.

Joe Canning pulled the strings in a controlled and sensible way, while Cathal Mannion continues to be used at centrefield.

Mannion drilled over four sweet points in the Dublin success, while the promising Sean Bleahene is being afforded valuable minutes on the pitch.

Carlow v Laois, Netwtach Cullen Park, 2pm

Reaching the Allianz Hurling League Quarter-Final is the brief for Carlow and Laois so this match is loaded with importance.

Carlow drew with Galway either side of defeats against Dublin and Waterford, but two critical contests are imminent for Colm Bonnar's outfit.

Carlow hurling manager Colm Bonnar.
Carlow hurling manager Colm Bonnar.

Willie Dunphy and Stephen Maher struck the scores that mattered for Laois, who controlled the opening period against Offaly last Saturday.

That was an important and positive result for Eddie Brennan's team, who will know that a difficult encounter awaits in Netwatch Cullen Park.

Dublin v Waterford, Parnell Park, 2pm

This should be a lively game at the Donnycarney venue as Waterford strive to build on a solid start under Pauric Fanning.

Prompted by the outstanding Stephen Bennett, Waterford were emphatic winners against Offaly, Laois, and Carlow.

It promises to be a far more competitive environment in the capital because Dublin will be anxious to respond following their Pearse Stadium reversal.

Galway were always in control at Salthill so Dublin will want to relaunch their push for a Quarter-Final berth by claiming the spoils.