Antrim will be happy with home comforts
AFTER getting the feel for rubbing shoulders with the great and the good last year, there's a more sobering look about Antrim's fixture list for next year's National Hurling League.
Having played Galway, Dublin and Limerick last spring, they kick off next year against Kerry in a league that contains Westmeath, Meath, Mayo and London.
But they will at least be happy with the way the fixtures have panned out, with both Kerry and Westmeath – expected to be their two key rivals for promotion – having to travel north. The Saffrons will also finish with a home game against London.
At the top end, All-Ireland champions Limerick will begin their year against Wexford, while Tipperary and Clare open the show with a derby on Saturday night, January 26.
Deposed champions Galway remain in Division 1B for a third year and their final-day meeting with Waterford, even from this far out, seems likely to decide promotion.
Derry, Donegal and Down all retained their places in Division 2B, with Derry and Down meeting in the opener, while Armagh, Monaghan and Tyrone will all face on in 3A.
Fermanagh and Cavan will play on the final day in Division 3B.
DRAFT NATIONAL HURLING LEAGUE FIXTURES
Saturday, January 26
Division 1A (7pm): Tipperary v Clare
Division 1B (7pm): Dublin v Carlow
Division 2B (2pm): Warwickshire v Wicklow
Sunday, January 27
Division 1A (2pm): Kilkenny v Cork, Wexford v Limerick
Division 1B (2pm): Waterford v Offaly; (TBC): Galway v Laois
Division 2A (2pm): Mayo v Meath, Westmeath v London; (TBC): Antrim v Kerry
Division 2B (2pm): Donegal v Kildare, Down v Derry
Division 3A (2pm): Lancashire v Tyrone; (TBC): Louth v Roscommon, Monaghan v Armagh
Division 3B (2pm): Cavan v Leitrim, Sligo v Fermanagh
Saturday, February 2
Division 1A (7pm): Limerick v Tipperary
Sunday, January 27
Division 1A (2pm): Clare v Kilkenny, Cork v Wexford
Division 1B (2pm): Carlow v Galway, Laois v Waterford, Offaly v Dublin
Division 2A (2pm): Kerry v Westmeath, London v Mayo, Meath v Antrim
Division 2B (2pm): Kildare v Warwickshire; (TBC): Derry v Donegal, Wicklow v Down
Division 3A (TBC): Armagh v Lancashire, Roscommon v Monaghan, Tyrone v Louth
Division 3B (2pm): Fermanagh v Longford, Leitrim v Sligo
Saturday, February 16
Division 1A (7pm): Cork v Clare
Division 1B (7pm): Laois v Offaly, Waterford v Carlow
Sunday, February 17
Division 1A (2pm): Kilkenny v Limerick, Wexford v Tipperary
Division 1B (2pm): Galway v Dublin
Division 2A (2pm): Antrim v Westmeath, Kerry v Mayo, Meath v London
Division 2B (2pm): Donegal v Wicklow, Kildare v Derry, Warwickshire v Down
Division 3A (2pm): Armagh v Roscommon, Lancashire v Louth, Tyrone v Monaghan
Division 3B (2pm): Longford v Leitrim, Sligo v Cavan
Sunday, February 24
Division 1A (2pm): Clare v Wexford, Tipperary v Kilkenny; (TBC): Limerick v Cork
Division 1B (2pm): Carlow v Laois, Dublin v Waterford; (TBC): Offaly v Galway
Division 2A (2pm): London v Kerry, Mayo v Antrim, Westmeath v Meath
Division 2B (2pm): Down v Donegal, Warwickshire v Derry, Wicklow v Kildare
Division 3A (2pm): Monaghan v Lancashire, Roscommon v Tyrone; (TBC): Louth v Armagh
Division 3B (2pm): Leitrim v Fermanagh; (TBC): Cavan v Longford
Sunday, March 3
Division 1A (2pm): Clare v Limerick, Cork v Tipperary, Wexford v Kilkenny
Division 1B (2pm): Carlow v Offaly, Dublin v Laois, Waterford v Galway
Division 2A (1pm): Antrim v London, Kerry v Meath, Westmeath v Mayo
Division 2B (1pm): Derry v Wicklow, Donegal v Warwickshire, Kildare v Down
Division 3A (1pm): Lancashire v Roscommon, Louth v Monaghan, Tyrone v Armagh
Division 3B (1pm): Fermanagh v Cavan, Longford v Sligo