| 18.1°C Dublin



allianz nhl division 1a

Dublin v Cork, Croke Park, 5.0, A Kelly (Galway) * Live Setanta

Dizzy times for Dublin hurling with wins over Tipperary and Kilkenny already secured. Can they complete the sequence over hurling's 'establishment'?

David Treacy has had a really good start to the campaign and Dublin's hurling has been crisp, but the red cards in Kilkenny may have distorted the picture somewhat there.

Ger Cunningham coming up against his old team provides a small sideshow.

Cork's memories of their last outing in Croke Park aren't good but the conviction of their performance against Clare the last day bodes well, with Patrick Horgan and Alan Cadogan giving real trouble.

Last year: Didn't meet

Odds: Dublin evens, Cork evens

Verdict: Cork

allianz nhl division 1B

Offaly v Waterford, Tullamore, 3.0, J Owens (Wexford)

Derek McGrath's overhaul of Waterford is designed for mid-term impact but a win here will put them in prime position to jump back up into Division 1 again.

The form of Austin Gleeson has been a real positive for Waterford, while Pauric Mahony has also accepted a big leadership role, his scores easing the Deise past Laois in Dungarvan two weeks ago.

Offaly will be disappointed that they didn't back up their performance against Laois on the opening day with something better against Wexford last time out.

Last year: Didn't meet

Odds: Offaly 3/1, Waterford 3/10

Verdict: Waterford

Allianz NHL division 2B

Donegal v Meath, Letterkenny, 2.0, C Cunning (Antrim)

Verdict: Meath

Armagh v Kildare, Athletic Grounds, 4.45, E Hassan (Derry)

Verdict: Kildare

allianz NHL division 3B

Warwickshire v Sligo, Pairc na hEireann, Birmingham, 2.0, J Keane (Galway).

Verdict: Sligo

Allianz NFL division 1

Dublin v Tyrone, Croke Park, 7.0, D Gough (Meath), *Live Setanta

Two League defeats in three games for Dublin but they won't be sending for the cavalry just yet. Jim Gavin says there is a "process" to get through in this campaign.

Paul Flynn is inching closer to his return, though, and with just four Croke Park league defeats from 22 games since the Spring Series was established, Dublin tend to make these nights and days their own.

Tyrone are one of the three counties to have beaten them in the league at Headquarters since 2011 and Mickey Harte appears to have achieved some consistency of selection over the last two games after a poor opening show against Monaghan.

Last year: Dublin 3-10, Tyrone 1-15

Odds: Dublin 1/4, Tyrone 7/2

Verdict: Dublin

Allianz NFL division 2

Cavan v Kildare, Kingspan Breffni Park, 7.0, C Reilly (Meath), *Live Setanta

Crunch time for Kildare, not much margin for error with Cavan either as they seek to avoid a second successive home defeat.

Cavan's goal drought has been well documented - no matter how you dress it up it's a problem if they have designs on greater status than Division 2.

Kildare's last visit to Kingspan Breffni Park yielded a debut for Seanie Johnston in his home town, which they won easily.

The gap since then has closed almost completely with Kildare's defeat to Westmeath a real blow, putting pressure on everyone.

Daniel Flynn is in for his first League start since quitting AFL, while Paul Cribbin is switched to midfield.

There's no start for Niall Kelly after his U-21 exploits midweek. Expect to see him though and maybe be the difference if Kildare can liberate their play a little.

Last year: Didn't meet

Odds: Cavan 8/11, Kildare 11/8.

Verdict: Kildare

Meath v Westmeath, Pairc Tailteann, 7.0, F Kelly (Longford)

First blood to Meath with a midweek U-21 success but Westmeath seniors have improved steadily since the sides met in the O'Byrne Cup and have won four of their last five games, the only defeat coming narrowly to Galway.

That's impressive form, enough to spook Meath but not to derail them at home where they have been generally strong in these Saturday night games.

Eamonn Wallace gets a first senior start in 12 months after recovering from a cruciate ligament injury and if Meath have any promotion ambitions they simply can't lose here.

Last year: Didn't meet

Odds: Meath 1/2, Westmeath 2/1

Verdict: Meath

Allianz NFL division 3

Tipperary v Clare, Semple Stadium, 3.0, G McCormack (Dublin)

Tipperary's promotion ambitions took a bad knock in Fermanagh last week. Clare's capacity to run up big scores at home has been impressive but the challenge now is to do it on the road. Recovery is Tipp's mission and they might just be up to it.

Last year: Tipperary 3-9, Clare 0-14

Odds: Tipperary 4/7, Clare 7/4

Verdict: Tipperary.

Armagh v Fermanagh, Athletic Grounds, 7.0, B Cassidy (Derry)

No Jamie Clarke again for Armagh in this top-of-the-table clash against a Fermanagh side surprising many with their resourcefulness. They will frustrate the home side who are still without Ciaran McKeever but Micheal McKenna and Aidan Forker have really progressed this season, giving them a likely edge here.

Last year: Didn't meet

Odds: Armagh 4/11, Fermanagh 11/4

Verdict: Armagh


Allianz nhl Division 1a

Clare v Tipperary, Cusack Park, 2.0, B Gavin (Offaly), *Live TG4

Without a win in their last six competitive games dating back to this month a year ago, the importance here doesn't need spelling out for Clare.

With Tony Kelly expected back and Conor McGrath set to feature from the off, Clare will have more cut about them in attack but it's their full-back line that requires most fixing after a poor night against Cork, especially with Seamie Callanan and John O'Dwyer lurking.

Tipp's league form tends to be hit and miss but the experience of last year has taught them to weather any storm. Eamon O'Shea retains an experimental air about him.

Three successive league defeats would leave very searching questions for Clare. Necessity should be the mother of their re-invention and return to winning ways.

Last year: Clare 4-15, Tipperary 0-20

Odds: Clare evens, Tipperary evens

Verdict: Clare

Galway v Kilkenny, Pearse Stadium, 2.0, B Kelly (Westmeath).

Galway and Kilkenny has become one of hurling's most common rivalries in recent years but inevitably Kilkenny have forged the upper hand, with three wins and a draw from four games last year.

Galway battled back well against Tipperary the last day and might have won but for some errant shooting at a crucial time. Greg Lally is an interesting choice at centre-back this time.

Kilkenny must still draw from the same pool of players with no imminent return of Richie Power, Conor Fogarty or Eoin Larkin.

At some stage Galway must rediscover how to beat Kilkenny. Easier said than done but they might be in the right frame of mind for this one with so many black and amber protagonists still out.

Last year: Kilkenny 2-16, Galway 1-16

Odds: Galway evens, Kilkenny evens

Verdict: Galway

allianz nhl division 1B

Wexford v Limerick, Wexford Park, 12.45, J Ryan (Tipperary).

Not a match Wexford should have any trouble stirring themselves for, bearing in mind last year's All-Ireland quarter-final.

Both sides will make the League quarter-finals but losing here will almost certainly end promotion hopes.

Wexford welcome back Conor McDonald from injury and Andrew Shore from suspension and are buoyed by a very solid performance against Offaly.

Limerick have picked a team with a physical battle in mind as Declan Hannon and David Breen return and young players like Cian Lynch and Tom Morrissey step out.

Limerick are along time now at the head of the queue for promotion. They can't afford to let this slip.

Last year: Limerick 1-14, Wexford 2-8

Odds: Wexford 11/10, Limerick 5/6

Verdict: Limerick

Antrim v Laois, Armoy, 2.0, T Carroll (Offaly)

Not the start a resurgent Laois might have planned for with defeats to Offaly and Waterford endangering the prospect of making league quarter-finals for the second successive year.

It's a difficult trip, a real test of character and as Cork and Wexford last year and even Limerick last time out discovered, victories there are earned.

Last year: Laois 2-21, Antrim 0-21

Odds: Antrim 8/11, Laois 11/8

Verdict: Antrim

Allianz nhl division 2a

Derry v Carlow, Celtic Park, 12.45, O Elliott (Antrim)

Verdict: Carlow

Wicklow v London, Arklow, 1.0, P O'Dwyer (Carlow)

Verdict: Wicklow.

Kerry v Westmeath, Austin Stack Park, 1.0, J O'Brien (Tipperary)

Verdict: Kerry

Allianz NHL division 2B

Mayo v Down, Elverys MacHale Park, 2.0, D O'Driscoll (Limerick)

Verdict: Down

allianz NHL division 3A

Fermanagh v Tyrone, Brewster Park, 2.0, J Clarke (Cavan)

Verdict: Tyrone

Fingal v Roscommon, St Maurs Rush, 2.0, P Murphy (Carlow)

Verdict: Roscommon

Louth v Monaghan, Dowdallshill, Dundalk, 2.0, C Cunning (Antrim)

Verdict: Monaghan

allianz nhl division 3b

Leitrim v Longford, Carrick on Shannon, 2.0, K McGeeney (Roscommon)

Verdict: Leitrim

allianz nfl division 1

Cork v Kerry, Pairc Ui Rinn, 2.0, A Nolan (Wicklow), *Live TG4

Who is chasing revenge with more conviction here? Cork for the Munster final last July, Kerry for the league mauling in Tralee three months earlier?

Cork have conceded just one goal in three outings so far and have prioritised sound defence. Eoin Cadogan is listed at midfield but will he really play there?

Kerry showed class and then grit to defeat Dublin last week and they look like a team enjoying their football and their status as All-Ireland champions.

In David Moran and Anthony Maher they have the best midfield pairing in the game, while each passing match seems to frank the potential of another prospective defender. Jack Sherwood put his hand up the last day.

But Cork's desire to lay down a marker may just tip the balance in their favour at home.

Last year: Cork 2-18, Kerry 1-11

Odds: Cork 5/4, Kerry 4/5

Verdict: Cork

Donegal v Monaghan, O'Donnell Park, Letterkenny, 2.0, P Hughes Armagh

Ulster's main rivalry now after provincial final meetings either side of their Division 2 final last year. The honours are even over the last two seasons but Donegal can forge ahead here.

Conor McManus is not named in the Monaghan squad after missing the Mayo game, and given his ability to win frees and convert them, his loss is obvious.

Donegal are seeking a third successive home win and manager Rory Gallagher has little scope or little need to shake things up.

A third successive defeat would leave Monaghan in a perilous position and McManus' absence might condemn them to that.

Last year: Donegal 2-11, Monaghan 0-10

Odds: Donegal 2/5, Monaghan 5/2

Verdict: Donegal

Derry v Mayo, Celtic Park, 2.30, C Branagan (Down)

Derry welcome back Mark Lynch after suspension and will be energised by their gritty performance in Omagh.

Mayo have left off their U-21 players but still carry plenty of experience, with the return of Ger Cafferkey and Colm Boyle strengthening them in defence.

Aidan O'Shea's influence grows and their response to losing to Tyrone was emphatic the last day against Monaghan.

Derry got the better of Mayo in last year's League semi-final but are not going nearly as well as they were 12 months ago.

Last year: Mayo 2-12, Derry 1-7

Odds: Derry 6/4, Mayo 4/6

Verdict: Mayo

Allianz NFL Division 2

Down v Galway, Newry, 2.0, P Neilan (Roscommon)

Curiously, Down have won their two away games but lost to Roscommon in Newry. In the past they have lived off their ability to win home league games.

Beating Cavan away was a lift, and under Jim McCorry, the team is taking shape nicely, with Mark Poland, Conor Laverty and Donal O'Hare forming an evasive and productive front line.

Ross McGarry's long-awaited debut after his exploits with Warrenpoint will be watched with interest, but Niall Madine and Darren O'Hagan are losses.

Galway have maximum points from two games but the concession of 2-12 to Westmeath suggests problems remain at the back. Thomas Flynn's absence through injury will hurt but Micheal Martin, Danny Cummins and Patrick Sweeney are providing fresh impetus to attack.

Last year: Galway 1-12, Down 0-8

Odds: Down 10/11, Galway 11/10

Verdict: Down

Laois v Roscommon, O'Moore Park, Portlaoise, 2.0, J Henry (Mayo).

There is scarcely a side in any of the four divisions that is playing as close to a Championship team as Roscommon. They mean business in this league, as their trip to Newry last time out illustrated.

Will a month out of action, courtesy of last week's postponement against Meath, curtail them?

Laois have the same problem after their game fell victim to the weather in Galway but maybe it has afforded them time to sort their faults after a disastrous and morale-sapping start to the season.

Still, the form of the Murtaghs and Smiths in attack and the general ambition that manifested, even in the Connacht League, points emphatically to an away win.

Last year: Didn't meet

Odds: Laois 6/4, Roscommon 4/6

Verdict: Roscommon

allianz nfl division 3

Sligo v Louth, Markievicz Park, 2.0, L Devenny (Mayo)

After a poor start on the road to Fermanagh, Louth have put good back-to-back wins together against Clare and Wexford. A third successive victory is within their grasp against a Sligo side that haven't fired yet.

Teen Ryan Burns and Colm Judge provide scoring power for the visitors but Sligo have traditionally played better at home, and that may provide a welcome cushion from their continued descent.

Last year: Didn't meet

Odds: Sligo 5/6, Louth 5/4

Verdict: Sligo

Wexford v Limerick, Wexford Park, 2.30, M Collins (Cork).

Two sides that have fallen down the pecking order from the days when they were contesting provincial finals.

Limerick have struggled badly without Ian Ryan and their two defeats have been heavy. Wexford have no points and badly miss Daithi Waters, now with the hurlers.

But there has been enough in their defeats to suggest possible defiance here.

Last year: Limerick 1-14, Wexford 1-13

Odds: Wexford 8/15, Limerick 15/8.

Verdict: Wexford.

allianz nfl division 4

Antrim v London, Cargin, Toomebridge, 12.45, N Mooney (Cavan)

London haven't shown much in this campaign and an Antrim side that took both points from their trip to Leitrim last time out won't want to leave any margin for error here as they chase down division leaders Offaly and Longford.

Last year: Antrim 3-15, London 1-10

Odds: Antrim 1/14, London 7/1

Verdict: Antrim

Longford v Waterford, Glennon Brothers Pearse Park, 2.0, S Hehir (Galway)

Life after Paul Barden might not be as foreboding as initially feared for Longford. Two highly impressive wins for the U-21s can feed into the senior team, who have already picked up five points from a possible six.

Waterford's bright start to the season, that incorporated a McGrath Cup victory and opening-round league win over Wicklow, has faded somewhat.

Last year: Didn't meet

Odds: Longford 2/5, Waterford 5/2

Verdict: Longford

Offaly v Leitrim, O'Connor Park, 2.0, N Cullen (Fermanagh)

Leitrim have been competitive in all their games to date but Offaly is a big step up for them now. Pat Flanagan's side came from two goals down early on to beat Wicklow by 12 points last weekend.

Bernard Allen and Willie Mulhall are providing more support now for Niall McNamee. Another win here and a return to Division 3 is in their grasp. Too great a prize to spurn.

Last year: Didn't meet

Odds: Offaly 1/5, Leitrim 4/11

Verdict: Offaly

Carlow v Wicklow, Netwatch Dr Cullen Park, 2.0, F Barry (Kildare).

Wicklow look in real trouble after their collapse to Offaly when they had the springboard of two early goals but couldn't build on it.

In contrast Carlow are getting their act together under Turlough O'Brien's management and the form line suggests a sharp reversal from last year.

Last year: Wicklow 1-25, Carlow 1-11

Odds: Carlow 4/7, Wicklow 7/4

Verdict: Carlow

Indo Sport