Sunday's Allianz Hurling League previews
Sunday 16 February
Allianz HL Division 1 Group A round 3
Galway v Tipperary, Pearse Stadium, 2pm - Live coverage on TG4
Tipperary won’t be panicking after two defeats from two matches so far in the League.
Manager Liam Sheedy is holding some of his more established stars in reserve and giving some younger players a proper run at this level and they’ll be the better for it.
Still, he’ll be keen for his team to start building some winning momentum now and has named strongest XV of the campaign so far for this match with captain Seamus Callanan, John ‘Bubbles’ O’Dwyer and Barry Heffernan all coming in to make their first starts of the 2020 Allianz Hurling League.
Galway will want to lay down a marker too after fading badly last time out against Limerick, and has made a number of notable changes to his team. Fintan Burke makes his senior debut at wing-back while James Skehill, Niall Burke and Conor Cooney make their first League starts of the year.
There’s never much between these two teams so expect this one to go down to the wire.
Galway: J Skehill; D Morrissey, G McInerney S Loftus; P Mannion, S Cooney, F Burke; C Mannion, A Tuohy; N Burke, J Canning, T Haran; S Bleahene, C Whelan, C Cooney. Subs: E Murphy, TJ Brennan, P Killeen, S Linnan, J Grealish, C Walsh, E Niland, J Flynn, B Concannon, D Kilcommins, J Mannion
Tipperary: Brian Hogan; Cathal Barrett, Barry Heffernan, Sean O’Brien; Seamus Kennedy, Padraic Maher, Ronan Maher; Alan Flynn, Michael Breen; Jake Morris, John O’Dwyer, Cian Darcy; John McGrath, Seamus Callanan, Jason Forde. Subs: Barry Hogan, Ger Browne, Willie Connors, Paul Flynn, Paul Maher, Brian McGrath, Craig Morgan, Joe O’Dwyer, Bryan O’Meara, Niall O’Meara, Dillon Quirke
Allianz HL Division 1 Group A round 3
Limerick v Waterford, LIT Gaelic Grounds, 2pm
Limerick have made six changes to the team that defeated Galway last time out for Saturday’s Allianz HL D1 Group A clash with Waterford.
Brian Ryan and Darren O’Connell will make their League debuts with Mike Casey, Diarmaid Byrnes, Cian Lynch and Aaron Gillane drafted into the starting XV also.
Making way are Richie English, Dan Morrissey, David Reidy, Darragh O’Donovan, Graeme Mulcahy and David Dempsey.
Limerick have been the form team in the country so far this year with two wins from two in the League following hot on the heels of their 2020 Co-Op Superstores Munster Hurling League success.
The fact that manager John Kiely can make six changes to the side that defeated Galway and still field a team that looks comparably as strong is a testament to the enviable strength in depth at his disposal.
They’ll go into this match as favourites, but Waterford have shown enough under new manager Liam Cahill so far this year that they’ll provide the Shannonsiders with a seriously tough test.
They’ve also won their two first matches of the campaign against Cork and Westmeath, but it was the attitude they displayed against Cork in particular as much as their hurling quality which caught the eye.
The Tipperary U-21 and U-20 teams that Cahill led to All-Ireland titles in 2018 and 2019 were greater than the sum of their parts because of a relentless work ethic, and it looks like he’s already embedded the same culture with this group of Waterford players.
Limerick:Nickie Quaid; Sean Finn, Mike Casey, Aaron Costello; Diarmaid Byrnes, Declan Hannon, Barry Nash; Cian Lynch, William O'Donoghue; Gearoid Hegarty, Tom Morrissey, Brian Ryan; Aaron Gillane, Seamus Flanagan, Darren O'Connell. Subs: Barry Hennessy, Josh Considine, David Dempsey, Robbie Hanley, Kyle Hayes, Dan Morrissey, Graeme Mulcahy, Darragh O'Donovan, Brian O'Grady, Mark Quinlan, David Reidy.
Waterford: Stephen O’Keeffe; Shane Fives, Conor Prunty, Shane McNulty; Calum Lyons, Iarlaith Daly, Kevin Moran; Conor Gleeson, Pauric Mahony; Neil Montgomery, Jake Dillon, Jack Fagan; Jack Prendergast, Stephen Bennett, Patrick Curran. Subs: Billy Nolan, Shane Ryan, Kieran Power, MJ Sutton, Peter Hogan, Billy Power, Mikey Kearney, Jamie Barron, Dessie Hutchinson, Darragh Lyons, Austin Gleeson
Westmeath v Cork, TEG Cusack Park, 2pm
Westmeath showed a lot of character in Round 2 against Waterford when they went in at half-time trailing by 13-points after conceding two first-half injury time goals.
It would have been easy to drop their heads at that stage, but instead they showed desire to win the second-half by 1-9 to 0-8 and make the final score look that bit more respectable.
They found out against both Waterford and Galway in the first-round that any lapses of concentration in defence are punished heavily at this level, and that will be the case once more against a Cork team with serious firepower.
The Rebels silenced a lot of critics last time out against Tipperary when they married their undoubted skill with some serious passion and hunger to win dirty ball.
But perhaps the biggest bonus so far of the League campaign for the Rebels has been the form of Robert Downey who looks like the long-term answer to their problem position at full-back.
He impressed in the Fitzgibbon Cup Final for UCC on Wednesday night as well and is rested for this match with Eoin Cadogan replacing him.
Cork: *Patrick Collins; Sean O’Leary, Eoin Cadogan, Colm Spillane; Tim O’Mahony, Bill Cooper, Damien Cahalane; Chris O’Leary, Aidan Walsh; Robbie O’Flynn, Seamus Harnedy, Conor Lehane; Declan Dalton, Patrick Horgan, Jack O’Connor. *Subs: Ger Collins, Niall O’Leary, Robert Downey, Christopher Joyce, Billy Hennessy, Conor Cahalane, Sean Twomey, Michael O’Halloran, Michael Cahalane, Luke Meade, Brian Turnbull
Allianz HL Division 1 Group B round 3
Clare v Laois, Cusack Park, 2pm - Deferred coverage on TG4
Clare have started the season in very impressive form under new manager Brian Lohan.
They showed a lot of character to get a win away to Wexford in the last round, particularly as they played most of the match with 14-men and hurled into a gale in the second-half.
A few positional switches are working well. Patrick O’Connor has been commanding at centre-back, a move to midfield seems to have energised David McInerney, while David Fitzgerald’s switch from defence to attack has given the Clare half-forward line a physicality it was crying out for.
Laois have hurled well in patches in their two matches so far against Wexford and Dublin, but they need to cut out the defensive lapses that cost them so badly in both of those matches.
Clare: E Quilligan; L Corry, S Golden, J Browne; S O'Halloran, C Malone, A McCarthy; D McInerney, T Kelly; D Reidy, D Fitzgerald, S Morey; R Taylor, S O'Donnell, A Cunningham.
Wexford v Kilkenny, Chadwicks Wexford Park, 2pm - Deferred coverage on TG4
Kilkenny have started the League impressively with two wins from two and a scoring difference of +33.
Forwards like Billy Ryan, Ger Aylward, Richie Hogan, and Walter Walsh have looked sharp, while Ciaran Wallace has impressed at corner-back and looks like one to watch.
Wexford will represent a significant step up from the opposition Kilkenny have faced so far this year, though, and have already beaten the Cats this year by a significant margin of 12 points in the Walsh Cup.
Davy Fitzgerald’s team lost narrowly last time out against Clare, but are strengthened significantly by the return of Matthew O’Hanlon, Lee Chin, and Diarmuid O’Keeffe for this match.
All three are expected to be introduced as substitutes, and could give Wexford a winning momentum if they are.
Wexford: Mark Fanning; Simon Donohoe, Liam Ryan, Joe O’Connor; Damien Reck, Paudie Foley, Shaun Murphy; Kevin Foley, Adam Rochford; Liam Og McGovern, Aidan Nolan, Jack O’Connor; Cathal Dunbar, Conor McDonald, Paul Morris. Subs: James Lawlor, Shane Reck, Matthew O’Hanlon, Conor Firman, Diarmuid O’Keeffe, Lee Chin, Rory O’Connor, Harry Kehoe, Michael Dwyer, Gary Molloy, Conal Flood.
Kilkenny: *Eoin Murphy; Conor Browne, Hu Lawlor, Ciaran Wallace; Conor Delaney, Paddy Deegan, Cillian Buckley; James Maher, Michael Carey; John Donnelly, Alan Murphy, Martin Keoghan; Billy Ryan, Richie Hogan, Walter Walsh. *Subs: Darren Brennan, Tommy Walsh, Michael Cody, Enda Morrissey, Darren Mullen, Tom Kenny, David Blanchfield, Aidan Nolan, Bill Sheehan, Tadhg O’Dywer.
Allianz HL Division 2A round 3
Mayo v Wicklow, MacHale Park, 1pm
Both teams have lost their two matches to date in the competition so this game is already looking like a relegation decider. Wicklow were more competitive in their two matches than Mayo were, but the Connacht side will hope home advantage can be decisive.
Offaly v Antrim (Postponed)
After a surprise defeat to Kerry in their last match, Offaly can’t afford any more slip-ups if they’re to stay in the promotion shake-up.
Antrim have won their two matches so far and know that an third in a row won’t just put them in a great position, but do serious damage to one of their biggest rivals for promotion.
The Saffrons will take encouragement from drawing with Tipperary in a challenge match last weekend, but Offaly will surely be revved up to make a statement in front of their home fans.
Allianz HL Division 2B round 3
Roscommon v London, Dr Hyde Park, 1pm
London have lost both of their matches so far in the competition but those games were against Kildare and Derry who look like the strongest teams in the Division.
London were competitive in both games and if they can bring their full complement of players to Roscommon will fancy their chances of getting off the mark in Division 2B.
Derry v Kildare (Postponed)
Allianz HL Division 3A round 3
Longford v Armagh, Glennon Bros Pearse Park, 2pm
Both teams have two wins from two so this match is already looking like a decisive one in the Division 3A promotion race. Longford have home advantage, but Armagh’s forward line is arguably more potent.
Louth v Donegal, Darver, 2pm
Donegal have shown better form than winless League and will hope to reignite a promotion drive with a win here.
Monaghan v Tyrone, Castleblayney, 2pm
Tyrone have shown better form so far in the competition than a Monaghan team that has lost both of their matches and will fancy their chances here.
Allianz HL Division 3B round 3
Fermanagh v Sligo (Postponed)