All-Ireland champions Limerick look to kick-stark season as Ardsmen seek to maintain momentum
ALLIANZ HURLING LEAGUE MATCHBOX
Compiled by Padraig Kelly
Waterford v Limerick
(tomorrow, Walsh Park, 3.45pm, live on TG4)
MUCH of Limerick’s build-up to this contest has been dominated by John Kiely’s reaction to their defeat to Galway last weekend. Kiely accused the Connacht outfit of simulation, went home and watched the footage, changed his mind and offered a lengthy apology. Perhaps his original reaction was just frustration as the Treaty suffered their first competitive defeat since the 2019 All-Ireland semi-final loss to Kilkenny. Given that they were only able to draw their opening match with Tipperary, Limerick are in an unusual position near the bottom of the table. Waterford may have one win to their name, but their start has been pretty rocky too. In round one they let Cork in for five goals and although they responded with a win last week against Westmeath, the three-point margin of victory was a lot lower than expected. Much of that owed to the fact that Jack Fagan and Darragh Lyons were sent off, although Westmeath also lost Cormac Boyle to a red card.
Odds: H: 11/4 D: 10/1 A: 4/11
Wicklow v Down
(tomorrow, Aughrim, 2pm)
NOT for the first time, Down had Stephen Keith to thank as the goalkeeper pulled off a brilliant low save in the final moments to secure an impressive win over Carlow last week. That 3-20 to 3-18 victory has left Division 2A looking very equal with four teams sitting on two points. A slow start looked like it would be costly for Ronan Sheehan’s side last week as they trailed 1-5 to 0-2 after just 10 minutes but Conor Woods’s penalty got them back into the tie. It was a real end-to-end game from there on in, but further goals from Paul Sheehan and Woods again secured a great win – with Keith’s late save from Jack McCullagh proving a massive moment. Wicklow are the only side in Division 2A yet to earn a win. Carlow were far too strong in round one before Meath had nine points to spare last weekend. Down can inflict even more pain.
Odds: H: 5/2 D: 11/1 A: 1/3
Sligo v Armagh
(Markievicz Park, 2pm)
KEADY’S Fionntán Donnelly really stood out for Armagh last week as the young forward grabbed 11 points in their 2-21 to 0-16 win over Longford. Steven Keenan and Danny Magee got their goals. Sligo had a bye week.
Longford v Tyrone
(Glennon Brothers Pearse Park, 2pm)
TYRONE boss Michael McShane has stuck with the same 15 that eventually came good against Monaghan last weekend. The Red Hands hit the final 1-7 of the match with Bryan McGurk outstanding and Damian Casey helping himself to 1-16. Longford, meanwhile, lost heavily to Armagh.
Donegal v Mayo
DONEGAL were always going to struggle against a Kildare side that will be too powerful for this division, but a 27-point losing margin was concerning. Danny Cullen, with three from play, at least provided some resistance. Mayo have already defeated Derry and Roscommon, so this could be another tough day for Mickey McCann’s men.
Odds: H: 10/3 D: 11/1 A: 1/4
Kildare v Derry
AFTER a week off, Derry are the latest side to try and control Kildare after the Lilywhites destroyed Donegal last week. The Oakleafers started with a narrow loss in Mayo when new captain Cormac O’Doherty scored 0-11 of their 1-16 tally. He’ll need a lot of help here if they are to cause an upset.
Odds: H: 4/11 D: 11/1 A: 9/4
Fermanagh v Leitrim
(Brewster Park, 2pm)
FERMANAGH threw away a late lead to draw with Cavan last week. JP McGarry was sent off for Ollie Bellew’s side, but as it was for two yellow card offences, he will be available here. Leitrim lost to Louth narrowly last week.
Louth v Cavan
BRIAN Fitzgerald scored the last four points of the game to earn Cavan a good draw with Fermanagh last week. Louth also left it late to see off Leitrim in round one, but Darver is a tricky place to go.
Tipperary v Galway (Semple Stadium, 1.30pm, live on TG4)
Cork v Westmeath (Páirc Uí Chaoimh, 3pm, live on GAA GO)
Kilkenny v Wexford (UPMC Nowlan Park, 2pm, live on Spórt TG4)
Laois v Clare (MW Hire O'Moore Park, 3pm, live on GAAGO)
Kerry v Meath (Austin Stack Park, 1pm)
Carlow v Offaly (Netwatch Cullen Park, 2pm)