Conor Prunty, Waterford, and Patrick Horgan, Cork, in Allianz Hurling League action last year.
Conor Prunty, Waterford, and Patrick Horgan, Cork, in Allianz Hurling League action last year.

Preview: Allianz Hurling League Finals preview

Saturday April 2

Allianz Hurling League Division One Final

Cork v Waterford, FBD Semple Stadium, 7.15pm

Allianz Hurling League Division 2A Final

Down v Westmeath, FBD Semple Stadium, 4.45

Allianz Hurling League Division 2B Final

Derry v Sligo, Ederney, 4pm

Allianz Hurling League Division 3A Final

Tyrone v Armagh, Owenbeg, 2.30pm

Allianz Hurling League Division 3B Final

Fermanagh v Longford, Carrick-on-Shannon, 5pm

From an early stage in the year it was apparent that Cork and Waterford were placing importance on the league.

Unsurprisingly, considering their earnest displays so far, Kieran Kingston and Liam Cahill's outfit's will contest the decider.

National silverware is at stake ensuring an interesting encounter looms at Thurles on Saturday evening.

Waterford's daring and dynamic display in the penultimate round success over Wexford hinted at their considerable potential.

Austin Gleeson was at his brilliant best, but unfortunately a late red card rules him out of the Cork clash.

Gleeson's style decorated a splendid Waterford performance with Dessie Hutchinson a potent threat inside.

Wexford simply couldn't cope with Waterford's vibrant attack, but the Deise will know all about Cork's pedigree.

Despite trailing by six points in the first half at Páirc Uí Chaoimh, Cork still did enough to overcome Kilkenny.

Several players contributed handsomely with Darragh Fitzgibbon's 1-3 and Alan Connolly's four point contribution noteworthy.

Ciarán Joyce was another influential figure for Cork, while the experience of Conor Lehane, Patrick Horgan, and Séamus Harnedy shouldn't be underestimated.

In the upcoming Munster Championship squad depth will be vital with Cork able to introduce players such as Tim O'Mahony and Harnedy when beating Kilkenny.

Cahill doesn't have a shortage of options either illustrated by the fact Shane Bennett, Kieran Bennett, Calum Lyons, and Pauric Mahony were summoned from the bench during the Wexford rout.

The final should be worth monitoring as Cork and Waterford both appear to be moving in the right direction.

Westmeath manager Joe Fortune.
Westmeath manager Joe Fortune.

The curtain raiser at FBD Semple Stadium involving Down and Westmeath in Division 2A promises to be hard fought also.

Down enjoyed a productive spell in a competitive group winning four from five matches and will relish the opportunity to perform on this stage.

Westmeath, busy preparing for the Leinster Championship, have been exposed to important occasions on a regular basis in recent years.

Having gleaned maximum points in the group Derry will be warm favourites against Sligo in the Division 2B final.

Sligo, though, have made real strides during the past decade and will be eager to examine Derry.

At Owenbeg Tyrone and Armagh collide in the Division 3A decider.

Tyrone impressed in the group phase collecting nine points from a possible 10, but Armagh will believe that a trophy can be raised also.

Fermanagh enjoyed an encouraging stint in the pool phase winning all four matches, but Longford are optimistic themselves ahead of the Division 3B fixture in Carrick-on-Shannon.