Friday 9 December 2016

Today's Allianz League games

Damian Lawlor

Published 27/03/2011 | 05:00

Allianz Hurling League(2.30 unless stated) Division 1:Dublin v GalwayParnell Park

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Ryan O'Dwyer (pictured) is a ferocious addition for Dublin, prompting an inquest in Tipperary as to why he left. With Conal Keaney also in tow, Dublin are turning into a robust unit with plenty of intensity to match their increasing skill levels. Stephen Hiney is a huge loss in defence and although Peter Kelly received a suspension reprieve last week he remains an injury doubt.

The in-form Iarla Tannian is out for Galway, away at a family wedding in the US, so their scoring threat is not as obvious. Ger Farragher (dead leg), David Burke (leg gash) and Joe Gantley (groin) are all nursing complaints, while Joe Canning, Damien Hayes, Shane Kavanagh and Aidan Harte are all still sidelined having missed the entire league campaign to date, putting more pressure on the imperious Tony óg Regan.

Verdict: Dublin

Cork v Tipperary

Páirc Uí Chaoimh

Brendan Maher's loss will be huge -- has there been a more consistently excellent player in the game over the past 12 months? He joins a growing injury list just as the Tipperary camp was starting to settle into the reign of Declan Ryan. After last year, they owe Cork one at this venue, but Eoin Kelly is also missing. Meanwhile, John O'Brien has yet to feature and Larry Corbett is only easing his way back.

Last time out in the league, Denis Walsh's forwards only managed 0-7 from play, but the likes of Cian McCarthy and Pa Cronin have been impressive. At home, Cork will want to put on a big show. The big guns are back and they probably need to win this one more.

Verdict: Cork

Offaly v Wexford

Tullamore

A shame to see two counties who shone so brightly in the 1990s struggling now, both without a win. Neither is even in the top three in Leinster right now and whoever loses will more than likely fall to Division 2.

To compound matters, Offaly are injury-ravaged, lacking a little sharpness and Shane Dooley's injury trauma has not helped. James Rigney is out for eight weeks, Paul Cleary recently underwent an operation, while David Kenny is still recovering from one. Joe Brady is having his soon while Brendan Murphy is not fully fit and Derek Molloy won't be back for another two weeks. They'll be under pressure at home where they have not yet performed.

Verdict: Wexford

Kilkenny v Waterford

Nowlan Park (TG4)

Jackie Tyrell will be a serious loss, especially as Kilkenny are intent on bouncing back after being outfought in Salthill by Galway. Michael Fennelly is in good form, new captain Brian Hogan (pictured) is in the reckoning after extended club duties and he will be badly needed to shore up things -- they conceded 4-14 out west; a big worry.

A Waterford win would put them firmly in the title hunt but Davy Fitzgerald will be more concerned about moulding a team for the championship. They look an impressive unit and will have a big say in the Liam MacCarthy Cup. Though Kilkenny need to find support for Richie Hogan in attack, they should respond at home.

Verdict: Kilkenny

Division 2

Westmeath v Antrim

Cusack Park

Antrim are slowly getting their best players back and should have a comfortable enough win against Westmeath who are pointless thus far. A win would just about put them in the promotion hunt.

Verdict: Antrim

Down v Laois

Ballycran, 1.30

Brendan Fennelly is doing fine work as Laois manager but travelling to Ballycran is not easy and although Down will be lacking in confidence after the hammering from Clare, Laois won't have it easy.

Verdict: Laois

Carlow v Limerick

Dr Cullen Park

Unbeaten Limerick need to play for 70 minutes to improve their championship aspirations. They are dominating games and then sitting back. They need to be smarter on the ball. Carlow pushed Antrim hard but this is another step up in class and with Pat Tobin in form they could be punished.

Verdict: Limerick

Division 3A

Derry v London

Banagher

Derry to bounce back from their defeat to Wicklow.

Verdict: Derry

Armagh v Wicklow

Athletic Grounds

Johnathan O'Neill to maintain his high-flying form for the visitors.

Verdict: Wicklow

Kildare v Meath

Newbridge

Martin Fitzgerald is in great form and should help edge a close encounter.

Verdict: Kildare

Division 3B

Monaghan v Roscommon

Inniskeen

Roscommon to shade it here.

Verdict: Roscommon

Fingal v Sligo

Swords

Home advantage and superior attacking threat to swing this contest.

Verdict: Fingal

Mayo v Donegal

Castlebar

Mayo have been much more consistent this season.

Verdict: Mayo

Division 4

Leitrim v Fermanagh

Ballinamore

Fermanagh need to improve their point-scoring but should win easily.

Verdict: Fermanagh

Cavan v South Down

Breffni Park

Goal-hungry Down to snatch a win.

Verdict: South Down

Tyrone v Longford

Omagh

Tyrone to notch their fourth win of the league here. Verdict: Tyrone

Allianz Football League

Division 4

Wicklow v Roscommon

Aughrim

Wicklow have drawn three games but remain in the promotion hunt. Today, they meet their closest rivals who are also unbeaten. Something has to give and we take Wicklow's higher scoring average as an indication of a home win. Verdict: Wicklow

Leitrim v Carlow

Carrick-on-Shannon

Both teams are evenly matched but Leitrim should prevail by a few points.

Verdict: Leitrim

Clare v Longford

Ennis

Anything less than a win will scupper Longford's promotion hopes and they should have enough firepower to cap a good week for the county with a victory over an inconsistent Clare side.

Verdict: Longford

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