Antrim to open at the home of All-Ireland champions Galway
ANTRIM’S opening National League fixture will be a glamour trip to the home of All-Ireland champions Galway.
While the Saffrons would no doubt have preferred to bring Michéal Donoghue’s men to the Glens and attract a bumper home crowd, it is a high profile start nonetheless, if a tad daunting.
The Saffrons will have just two home games, against Dublin – who this week appointed former football manager Pat Gilroy as their new boss – and Limerick.
The fixture list isn’t the kindest to them, with their more winnable-looking encounters with Laois and Offaly both set to be away from home, the latter a potential crunch outing on the final day.
Galway will be widely expected to win promotion straight back to the top tier and their absence from Division 1A leaves the fixture list there looking strangely light on heavyweight tussles.
It will kick off with Cork hosting Kilkenny, with whom Brian Cody is staying on again, while beaten All-Ireland finalists Waterford will be up against a Wexford side looking to build on last year’s progress.
Each weekend barring the final round will contain at least one Saturday night fixture, with Tipperary’s clashes with Kilkenny and Waterford catching the eye.
Division 2A is without Ulster representation for the first time in living memory, with Antrim promoted and another quintet all in 2B.
Old rivals Derry and Down will meet on the opening day, with Armagh and Donegal finishing off against each other on March 4.
Armagh face a particularly trying campaign as they have to travel to Wicklow, Down and Derry, all of whom will be hoping to wrestle their way past an improving Mayo.
Tyrone will host Warwickshire – and possibly former Antrim star Liam Watson – on January 28 but they too face three away days.
And after entering last year’s Lory Meagher Cup, Cavan will have a team in the National Hurling League again for the first time since 2011. They will face Fermanagh, Sligo, Leitrim and Lancashire in Division 3B.
Allianz Hurling League Division 1A
Saturday 27 January: Cork v Kilkenny
Sunday 28 January: Clare v Tipperary, Waterford v Wexford
Saturday 3 February: Tipperary v Waterford
Sunday 4 February: Kilkenny v Clare, Wexford v Cork
Saturday 17 February: Tipperary v Wexford
Sunday 18 February: Clare v Cork, Waterford v Kilkenny
Saturday 24 February: Kilkenny v Tipperary
Sunday 25 February: Cork v Waterford, Wexford v Clare
Sunday 4 March: Kilkenny v Wexford, Tipperary v Cork, Waterford v Clare
Saturday 27 January: Dublin v Offaly
Sunday 28 January: Galway v Antrim, Limerick v Laois
Saturday 3 February: Laois v Galway
Sunday 4 February: Antrim v Dublin, Offaly v Limerick
Saturday 17 February: Laois v Antrim, Limerick v Dublin
Sunday 18 February: Galway v Offaly
Sunday 25 February: Antrim v Limerick, Dublin v Galway, Offaly v Laois
Sunday 4 March: Galway v Limerick, Laois v Dublin, Offaly v Antrim
Sunday 28 January: Carlow v Westmeath, Kildare v Meath, London v Kerry
Saturday 3 February: London v Meath
Sunday 4 February: Kerry v Carlow, Westmeath v Kildare
Sunday 18 February: Kildare v Kerry, London v Carlow, Meath v Westmeath
Sunday 25 February: Carlow v Kildare, Kerry v Meath, London v Westmeath
Sunday 4 March: London v Kildare, Meath v Carlow, Westmeath v Kerry
Sunday 28 January: Derry v Down, Mayo v Donegal, Wicklow v Armagh
Sunday 4 February: Armagh v Mayo, Donegal v Derry, Down v Wicklow
Sunday 18 February: Derry v Mayo, Down v Armagh, Wicklow v Donegal
Sunday 25 February: Donegal v Down, Derry v Armagh, Mayo v Wicklow
Sunday 4 March: Armagh v Donegal, Down v Mayo, Wicklow v Derry
Sunday 28 January: Longford v Monaghan, Roscommon v Louth, Tyrone v Warwickshire
Sunday 4 February: Louth v Tyrone, Monaghan v Roscommon, Warwickshire v Longford
Sunday 18 February: Louth v Warwickshire, Monaghan v Tyrone, Roscommon v Longford
Sunday 25 February: Longford v Louth, Tyrone v Roscommon, Warwickshire v Monaghan
Sunday 4 March: Longford v Tyrone, Monaghan v Louth, Roscommon v Warwickshire
Division 3B hurling
Sunday 28 January: Lancashire v Fermanagh, Sligo v Leitrim, Cavan bye
Sunday 4 February: Cavan v Sligo, Leitrim v Lancashire, Fermanagh bye
Sunday 18 February: Fermanagh v Leitrim, Lancashire v Cavan, Sligo bye
Sunday 25 February: Cavan v Fermanagh, Sligo v Lancashire, Leitrim bye
Sunday 4 March: Fermanagh v Sligo, Leitrim v Cavan, Lancashire bye