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Today's Allianz league previews (2.30 unless stated)

Allianz NHL

Division 1A

Tipperary v Cork

Semple Stadium

This de facto quarter-final should whet the appetite of the hurling public as the summer fast approaches. If Paudie Maher and Conor Lehane lock horns that in itself could be worth the admission fee.

There's a lovely mix of youth and experience in the Cork squad. Lehane looks the real deal but the likes of Stephen McDonnell and Jamie Coughlan are also impressing, while Eoin Cadogan is growing into the number six shirt.

Tipperary will be heartened to see Brian O'Meara stepping up to the plate. He is brimming with promise and Declan Ryan and Tommy Dunne have given him a platform to build on. Shane Bourke probably needs the same opportunity to thrive; he can add considerably to Tipp's cause.

Verdict: Tipperary

Kilkenny v Galway

Nowlan Park

After losing to Cork we should see a backlash this afternoon from Kilkenny. And after losing to Waterford last weekend, this is the last place Galway want to be visiting and they could be in for a pretty tough time. Cork looked hungrier last Sunday, but you would have to imagine that if their defence can shore up, the likes of Richie Hogan and Eoin Larkin will have enough to see the Cats through this time around.

Brian Flaherty, a player of great promise, makes his debut for Galway.

Verdict: Kilkenny

Waterford v Dublin

Fraher Field

Michael Ryan has stuck to his guns during a turbulent start to 2012 and there are signs that their fortunes are set to change.

With Ken McGrath in as selector and John Mullane and Eoin Kelly back in the ranks, there is more of a buzz about the team. A win against Dublin is crucial to maintaining that tempo and the home team know that two points could assure their Division 1 status for another year.

Dublin are already looking at a play-off. Waterford have more to play for today, but you get the feeling that Dublin are about to cut loose one of these days. They have been very unlucky with some of their results to date.

Verdict: Dublin

Division 1B

Antrim v Limerick

Casement Park

Both teams need a win to make the final. Antrim have made changes; the experienced DD Quinn takes over in goal from Senan McToal, Kieran McGourty replaces John Kerr in the full-back line, while Eddie McCloskey comes in for Darren Hamill at left half-forward and Joey Scullion of All-Ireland club champions Loughgiel Shamrocks is a notable addition to the substitutes list. Limerick's 2-16 tally against Offaly was a healthy one and we take them to edge a win.

Verdict: Limerick

Offaly v Clare

O'Connor Park

What an interesting encounter we have here. Clare have more firepower but as they're already in the final who knows what emphasis they'll put on this clash. Rory Hanniffy and Derek Molloy are injured, which won't help Ollie Baker's cause, but they have the Coolderry posse back for the first time this year. And given Offaly's superior score difference to Limerick's (+13), a win would virtually assure them of a place in the final.

Verdict: Clare

Wexford v Laois

Enniscorthy

Wexford finished strongly against Clare but the game was over by then. There's no doubt that they are looking ahead to their championship opener with Offaly and there's no doubting either that expectations are low. But they should gain a crucial two points here. Watch out for teenager Jack Guiney today. Verdict: Wexford

Division 2A

Derry v Kerry

Celtic Park

With no hope of promotion and no threat of relegation, Kerry's priority is now the Christy Ring Cup. They will experiment this afternoon but should still hold the edge. Verdict: Kerry

Down v Westmeath

Páirc Esler

With a final looming, Westmeath have plenty to work for. They nearly fell asleep against Wicklow before coming through, thanks to the likes of Brendan Murtagh. Verdict: Westmeath

Wicklow v Carlow

Aughrim

Carlow will be in developmental mode with their place in the final against Westmeath already secured. We take Kevin Ryan's side to overcome what should be a spirited Wicklow performance. Verdict: Carlow

Division 2B

Armagh v Meath

Middletown

God only knows what happened Armagh in their collapse to Kildare. It was an experimental side but they'll surely have something in store for Meath today. They'll need to if they want promotion. Verdict: Meath

Mayo v Kildare

Elvery's MacHale Park

After scoring the lights out against Armagh last weekend, it is hard to go against Paul Divilly, Richie Hoban and company. Verdict: Kildare

Roscommon v London

Athleague

London need to win to maintain their promotion push while Roscommon, despite the best efforts of David Dolan, are pointless. Verdict: London

Division 3A

Fingal v Donegal

Swords

Fingal are already through to the final. Verdict: Fingal

Louth v Tyrone

Dowdallshill

Two sides, evenly matched and both on four points, we give the in-form Brian Corcoran and Louth the edge courtesy of their greater scoring averages. Verdict: Louth

Monaghan v Sligo

Inniskeen

Should be pretty straightforward here; Monaghan are in fine form and streets ahead of everyone else.

Verdict: Monaghan

Division 3B

Fermanagh v Longford

Brewster Park, 12.30

It's been a dismal campaign for Longford and there should be no respite here. Verdict: Fermanagh

Leitrim v Warwickshire

Ballinamore

A 34-point hammering against Fermanagh brought Leitrim down to earth following their opening-round win over Longford. Warwickshire look a safer bet to reach the final.

Verdict: Warwickshire

Allianz FL Division 4

Fermanagh v Limerick

Brewster Park

As they tune up for the Division 4 decider, Fermanagh will have plenty to play for. Limerick are not in good form at all and were beaten by Waterford at the death in their most recent encounter. Verdict: Fermanagh

Kilkenny v London

Nowlan Park, 12.30

London will have to fancy their chances of notching their first win of the season. Verdict: London

Wicklow v Leitrim

Aughrim, 12.45

This has all the appearances of a low-scoring affair. Wicklow beat Carlow by two points last week but once again had to depend on Tony Hannon for inspiration. He finished with 1-6, 1-1 of which came from play. But they are leaning too heavily on him and he'll need support this afternoon against a Leitrim side that is finally starting to overcome their injury worries.

Emlyn Mulligan, Kevin Conlan, Fabian McMorrow and Gavin Reynolds got a run-out against Kilkenny. A win away from home wouldn't surprise many, but we tip Wicklow. Verdict: Wicklow

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