Hurling League Preview Division 1A and 1B

The National Hurling League gets underway this weekend with six games down for decision across the two division. Kilkenny are reigning champions and will operate from Division 1A with once again Brian Cody at the helm. The way the two divisions work is that the top 4 in each division (1a and 1b) will progress to the Division 1 quarter finals. In Division 1A the bottom two teams will fight it out in a play-off to determine which team is relegated to 1b for 2020, while it is the same scenario in Division 1b, the bottom two teams will fight it out in a relegation/play-off to determine which side drops to Division 2a for 2020. So with that in mind let’s preview Division 1A and 1b and then as a whole predict who will win the title.

Division 1A

Cork – Cork are an interesting side blended with youth across the side. They will be minus Darragh Fitzgibbon due to club commitments for a few weeks but they have the likes of Pat Horgan, Alan Cadogan and Declan Dalton to call on. John Meyler will be hoping for a good start to the campaign and to qualify for the quarter finals at the very least. They are 3/1 to top Division 1A. Odds on winning Division 1: 4/1

Tipperary – Tipperary will be a dangerous side his year in my opinion especially with Liam Sheedy back at the helm. They have talent in every line of the field. Paidi Maher is still lording the defence, Seamus Calllanan if back to his very best will be hard to stop also. I expect them to reach the league semi finals. They are the favourites to top 1A at 11/4. Odds on winning Division 1: 4/1

Kilkenny – Kilkenny are the reigning league champions and not many thought they were going to win it last year. The thing with Kilkenny is that they are never far away. Will have the likes of Richie Hogan, Walter Walsh and Conor Fogarty to call on. The Ballyhale contingent are missing but still they have quality. They are 11/2 to finish top of 1A.  Odds on winning Division 1: 11/2

Limerick – John Kiely’s men are probably in party mode after last year’s All-Ireland success, however, the work now begins. They face a difficult trip to Wexford on the opening day. Will be without Richie McCarthy, Paul Browne and David Reidy, while young hurler of the year Kyle Hayes is a doubt. Should make the frame for the quarter finals. 5/1 to top the division at present. Odds on winning Division 1: 11/2

Clare: Clare won the Munster league in impressive style against Tipperary. Much will rely on Tony Kelly yet again he is an extraordinary talent. The Banner open their season against Tipperary. They should make the quarter finals stages in my opinion at the very least. They are 4/1 to top division 1A. Odds on winning Division 1: 13/2

Wexford – Davy Fitzgerald’s side had a good pre season in the Walsh Cup. However, this is certainly different. League games are now been played at near championship pace. They have good players in every line of the field. They were lucky to avoid relegation last year this year they may not be that lucky. 8/1 to top the division. Odds on winning Division 1 : 16/1 

4 quarter finalists: Tipperary, Cork, Limerick and Clare

Relegation play-off – Kilkenny v Wexford

 

Division 1B

Galway: Galway will once again operate in Division 1B having missed out on promotion last year. The winners of Galway and Waterford in my opinion will be promoted it is as simple as that. They have talented players all over the field and are 8/13 to top the Division 1b standings. Odds On Winning Division 1: 4/1

Waterford: Pauric Fanning is the man in charge of Waterford now and he will know a lot of players having coached them in WIT. Austin Gleeson, Kevin Moran, the Bennett’s, Noel Connors are all key players for them. They are a superb side when they get playing. Will have to beat Galway for promotion though. They are 21/10 to finish top of division 1B. Odds on Winning Division 1: 11/1

Dublin: Mattie Kenny is a superb manager and he has finally been given his chance as Dublin manager after a lot of success with Cuala. He has brought some players back in and has instilled more believe and confidence into Dublin hurling. Will probably find it difficult to get out of the Division though. Still should make quarter finals.  They are 9/2 to top Division 1B. Odds on Winning Division 1: 16/1

Offaly : Kevin Martin remains in charge here for Offaly, They will find it difficult but will fancy winning at least 3 of the games, Dublin, Carlow and Laois. 2 wins their and they will more than likely be in a quarter final. 100/1 to top Division 1b. Odds on winning Division 1: 500/1

Carlow: Colm Bonnar remains at the helm in Carlow after an impressive 2018. He will be very happy his side get a crack at playing some of top teams as well as playing in the Leinster Round Robin in the summer. They will fancy taking on Offaly and Laois. May struggle in other two games. May be battling it for relegation. 250/1 to top Division 1b at present. Odds On Winning Division 1: 1000/1

Laois: Laois are a proud hurling county and they are capable of pulling off a shock or two, they certainly will fancy their chances against their neighbours Offaly and Carlow and two wins their would put them in the mix for the quarter finals. However, I think they will be battling out in the relegation play-off.  Odds on winning Division 1 : 1000/1

4 quarter finalists: Galway, Waterford, Dublin and Offaly

Relegation play-off- Carlow v Laois

Overall Division 1 League Winner : Tipperary

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