An action packed Saturday of GAA action sees three Allianz Hurling League Division 1 quarter-finals taking place, along with a Kilkenny-Cork relegation play-off. Here are our previews:
Saturday, March 16th
Allianz HL Division 1 quarter-finals
Galway v Wexford, Pearse Stadium, 1.30pm - TG4
The early throw-in on Saturday comes in Salthill as Galway and Wexford meet for the second successive year in the Division 1 quarter-finals.
Last year’s meeting saw Conor McDonald’s goal making all the difference for the Model men in a 1-23 to 0-23 win at Innovate Wexford Park, before the Tribesmen gained revenge in the Leinster championship with a rousing nine-point victory on their way to another provincial crown.
The margin isn’t expected to be as wide on this occasion as Micheál Donoghue’s men have had some mixed displays thus far this season – mostly notably in a shock draw with Carlow last month.
However, with somewhere near a full deck (barring their St Thomas’ contingent) at their disposal again, the Leinster champions should manage to keep it to script against Davy Fitzgerald’s side on home turf this weekend.
Waterford v Clare, Walsh Park, 3pm - TG4
Both these sides are gunning for a first league semi-final place since 2016 and Saturday’s showdown at Walsh Park looks an airtight one to call.
Despite their loss to Dublin, Waterford were the most impressive team in Division 1B, finishing joint top with the capital men and a score difference of +57.
To no surprise, the recent returns of Austin Gleeson and Jamie Barron have made a huge difference to the Deise men and are part of the reason why they’re welcoming Clare as slight favourites this weekend.
The Banner men have lost key inside forward John Conlon to injury for the league’s remainder but still have plenty of weapons at their disposal despite recent injury concerns, opting to start Gary Cooney and Aron Shanagher here from the draw with Limerick last time out.
Tipperary v Dublin, Semple Stadium, 4.30pm
Tipperary hit their stride in last weekend’s re-fixed Round 5 encounter against Cork and are set to welcome Dublin to Thurles as strong 2/9 favourites on Saturday.
Jason Forde’s 1-13 haul went a long way towards plunging the Rebels into a relegation play-off with Kilkenny and Mattie Kenny’s charges will know they can’t afford the Silvermines sharpshooter too much time or space, nor cheap frees this weekend.
The Dubs topped Division 1B with four wins, including a thrilling one over Waterford, and will take confidence from some of their results so far as they head for the ‘Home of Hurling’ this Bank Holiday Saturday.
However, it’s hard to envisage the capital men tearing up the script against Liam Sheedy’s side on this occasion.
Allianz HL Division 1A relegation play-off
Kilkenny v Cork, Nowlan Park, 2pm
Contrary to reports in mid-week, it seems both Cork captain Seamus Harnedy and Kilkenny’s Conor Delaney are free to play in this one after their respective sending offs in Round 5.
However, it means neither will be available for their counties’ championship openers come summer, which is a real blow for both camps.
When these two met in Round 1, it was Kilkenny that emerged comfortable 2-18 to 0-17 winners and it’s hard to see the Rebels closing that seven-point gap enough to win here, especially with the Cats holding home advantage.
Brian Cody’s men get the nod here by three.
Follow the hoganstand.com match tracker this weekend for live coverage of the Allianz Football and Hurling Leagues, as well as the All-Ireland club senior finals at Croke Park.Tweet