Tuesday 11 December 2018

Déise in need of final-round miracle to avoid relegation play-off

Waterford manager Derek McGrath. Photo: Sportsfile
Waterford manager Derek McGrath. Photo: Sportsfile
Donnchadh Boyle

Donnchadh Boyle

Regardless of whether it goes ahead this weekend, there's plenty at stake heading into the final round of Allianz NHL matches.

The weather could yet wipe out Sunday's fixtures, but whenever they are played, there is plenty on the line for almost every team in divisions 1A and 1B.

Just two of the quarter-final spots in 1A have been secured by Clare and Wexford with the remaining two places in the last eight and the relegation battle still to be decided. Should two teams finish level on points, a head-to-head record will come into play while score difference will be used to separate teams should three or more teams be tied.

There's several possible permutations in the top division but should Tipperary win or draw against Cork at Semple Stadium, that would consign the Rebels to a relegation play-off against Waterford.

However, should Cork win and Kilkenny see off Wexford, they would both reach the quarter-finals and leave the battle to avoid the drop seeing Tipperary take on Waterford.

Derek McGrath knows his Déise troops need a miracle to avoid a relegation play-off. Their points difference of -19 means they must record a handsome win over Clare, while they need victories for Cork and Wexford to give themselves any chance.

The top of Division 1B couldn't be simpler. Galway and Limerick are both unbeaten to date and they face off in Salthill in what is a promotion shootout.

The Treaty men have a slight advantage given a draw would be enough for them as their score difference of +56 is far superior to Galway's +27.

Offaly have also booked a quarter-final spot, while Antrim know they will be in a relegation play-off against the losers of Dublin-Laois. The winners of that game will make the last eight but Laois's score difference means a draw will be enough for them to progress.

Westmeath are in charge of Division 2A and will need only a draw at home to Kerry to secure their place in the decider. However, should Kerry win in Mullingar and Carlow beat Meath in Navan, then score difference would come into play which could see Westmeath edged out. The clash of Kildare and London in Ruislip is effectively a relegation decider.

In Division 2B Mayo are already in a final and Down will need only a draw against the westerners to join them. Wicklow and Donegal could pounce should Down slip up. Derry are already confirmed for the relegation game with Armagh most likely to join them.

Warwickshire are in charge of 3A and could be joined by Roscommon or Louth with Longford rooted to the foot of the table. In 3B, Leitrim need to beat Cavan to join Lancashire in the final.

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