Saturday sees the beginning of the 26th season that Allianz has sponsored the Allianz Hurling Leagues, with eight weeks of high-powered action across six Divisions between the first round this weekend and the Allianz Hurling League Division 1 final on Saturday March 24th.
Galway head into the new season as Allianz League (Division 1) and All-Ireland champions after an outstanding 2017, during which they lost only one game (to Wexford), a defeat which cost them promotion, meaning the Tribesmen will again be in Division 1B.
Galway begin their 1B campaign in Pearse Stadium on Sunday against Antrim, who have come up from Division 2A.
The distinction of launching the new season falls to Dublin and Offaly, who meet in a 1B clash in Croke Park on Saturday (5.00), after which Dublin and Kildare footballers begin their 1A campaign (7.00).
Both Dublin and Offaly will be under new management, with former football manager, Pat Gilroy taking over the Dubs, while Kevin Martin, who won All-Ireland medals in 1994 and 1998, begins his stint in Offaly; Cork’s John Meyler is the only other new manager in Division 1.
Tipperary, runners-up to Galway in last year’s Allianz League, travel to Ennis for their opening game on Sunday while Wexford take on Waterford in Walsh Park.
There have been four different winners of the Allianz Hurling Division 1 title over the last four seasons: Galway 2017; Clare 2016; Waterford 2015; Kilkenny 2014.
Saturday, January 27th 2018,
Div 1A: Cork v Kilkenny, Páirc Uí Chaoimh.
Div 1B: Dublin v Offaly, Croke Park.
Sunday, January 28th 2018.
Div 1A: Clare v Tipperary; Cusack Park; Waterford v Wexford, Walsh Park.
Div 1B: Galway v Antrim, Pearse Stadium; Limerick v Laois, Gaelic Grounds.
Div 2A: London v Kerry, McGovern Park, Ruislip; Kildare v Meath, Newbridge; Carlow v Westmeath, Network Cullen Park.
Div 2B: Derry v Down, Owenbeg; Wicklow v Armagh, Joule Park, Aughrim; Mayo v Donegal, Castlebar.
Div 3A: Roscommon v Louth, Dr. Hyde Park; Tyrone v Warwickshire, Omagh; Longford v Monaghan. Glennon Brothers Pearse Park.
Div 3B: Fermanagh v Lancashire, Randalstown; Sligo v Leitrim, Markievicz Park.