Hurling and camogie

Hurling sidelines: Meath return to top table against Kerry

Kerry's Pádraig Boyle could play a key role against Kildare
Pádraig Ó Meiscill

Leinster SHC Qualifier round one: Meath v Kerry (Sunday, Páirc Tailteann, 3pm)

KERRY suffered the indignity of relegation from Division 1B in the league despite racking up a score of 4-20 in the play-off with Laois.

Meath, on the other hand, claimed the Division 2B title to add to their controversial Christy Ring Cup success of last year.

The Royals will view this challenge as an overdue return to hurling’s highest level after the progress they have made under Martin Ennis. They will need the likes of Stephen Clynch and Mark O’Sullivan to be on top form if they are to stand a chance tomorrow.

Kerry will be without Daniel Collins, but the likes of Pádraig Boyle, Colum Harty, Patrick Kelly and Shane Nolan should provide enough to see them through.

Prediction: Kerry

Leinster SHC Qualifier round one: Laois v Westmeath (Sunday, O'Moore Park, 3pm)

NO LESS than fourteen different Laois players got themselves on the scoresheet when the O’Moore men escaped relegation from Division 1B in their play-off with Kerry.

While a repeat may prove beyond them tomorrow, they will be hoping for another solid team performance. They may have to do it without Cha Dwyer and Stephen ‘Picky’ Maher, however, who are both struggling for fitness after suffering injuries.

Westmeath started their Division 2A campaign slowly, but a final day win over Antrim was a sign of progress.

Despite this, if Laois’ prolific scorer Ross King manages to get centrally involved, Westmeath could be set for a tough day at the office.

Prediction: Laois

Christy Ring Cup round one: Mayo v Kildare (Saturday, Ballina, 3pm)

The contrasting league fortunes of these sides would suggest something of a mismatch in Ballina.

Kildare finished their Division 2A campaign level on points with Antrim, but lost out on a final appearance due to their head-to-head record. Mayo, on the other hand, just about retained their Division 2B status by virtue of a relegation play-off win over Roscommon.

If Kenny Feeney, Shane Boland and dual stars Keith Higgins and Fergal Boland perform for Mayo, they stand more than a reasonable chance, but Kildare’s former Kilkenny star John Mulhall, Limerick native David Reidy, Paul Divilly and Jack Sheridan should still be too hot for them to handle.

Prediction: Kildare

Christy Ring Cup round one: Wicklow v London (Sunday, Aughrim, 1pm)

THE Exiles just about avoided relegation from Division 2A of the National Hurling League on score difference ahead of Armagh, while Wicklow reached the Division 2B final, only to lose out to Meath.

Christy Moorehouse and Andy O’Brien were in prolific form all spring for Wicklow, who will also need Diarmuid Masterson and Pádraig Doyle on their game.

London are dependent on Kevin O’Loughlin for the bulk of their scores, with the help of Enda Cooney and free-taking goalkeeper Eoin Kelly.

If the Garden county can keep a tight rein on O’Loughlin, while supplying sufficient ammunition to the likes of Moorehouse and O’Brien, they may take this one.

Prediction: Wicklow

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Hurling and camogie