We have live score updates from a busy Sunday for hurling but not only in Division 1 with several intriguing games in prospect in the lower divisions.
Allianz HL Division 2A final
Carlow v Westmeath, Nowlan Park, 4pm
There have been some great tussles between these two in recent months so expect more fireworks when they clash again at Nowlan Park.
Carlow were victorious when the sides met at Dr Cullen Park in round 3 of this campaign – 2-17 to 1-16 with Ross Smithers, coming off the bench in the second half proving the match winner with some 2-2.
That was the Westmeath side’s only loss in the League to date whilst their opponents won four and drew one.
Verdict: Westmeath by three or four points but an exciting game in prospect for fans of both teams.
Division 2B: Kildare v Meath , Parnell Park 4pm
Kildare emerged victorious when the sides clashed in the first round of this year league on Feb 26th 1-12 to 0-13 in a hard fought battle in Navan. Pol Divilly’s goal being the difference between the sides. Kildare also overcame London, Roscommon and Armagh though they lost to Mayo.
Meath had a 2-8 to 0-7 win against London,and won their games against Roscommon 3-16 to 1-11, and easily defeated Armagh 1-19 to 0-8 . Their toughest game was that against Mayo where sides were as evenly matched at the Mayo 3-12 Meath 1-18 score suggests.
Verdict: Another fierce encounter can be expected and this time Meath may well get their revenge for that earlier defeat – again by the narrowest of margins.
Division 3A : No final here since Monaghan announced they were not taking part following a dispute with the County Board which led to Mattie Lennon’s resignation as Manager. A great shame for fans of both counties as Finglas would of course have preferred to win the title on the field.
Hurling is the biggest loser and some serious questions need to be addressed by the Monaghan County Board in particular as well as by the Ulster GAA and GAA HQ. A shameful episode that could have been resolved amicably by the Monaghan County Board by simply applying ‘common sense’.
Months of hard training and sacrifices , by both Monaghan and Fingal , all for nothing. And the GAA and the Ulster Council say they wish to promote hurling in the weaker counties !?
And where were ‘the powers that be’ ? Preparing for Congress, no doubt. Will GAA HQ take the opportunity of condemning the County Board at today’s session? Not likely,since Croke Park already accepted the Monaghan decision and awarded the title to Fingal.
As Mattie Lennon told ‘The Irish Independent’ : “These players have played week in week out for the last five weeks. The least they deserved was a week to prepare for this match. If it was football, I’m sure there would be no questions asked if a request was made to put off these club games.”
“You have to wonder are people really serious about hurling when they ask players to play for their clubs and risk potential injury four days before a national league final. It demeans the status of the final if you are asked to play club league four days beforehand.”
Verdict: Fingal are champions and the Monaghan County Board should do the honourable thing and resign ‘en bloc’.
Division 3B : Fermanagh v Warwickshire, Parnell Park. 2pm .
Fermanagh won by a point (0-14 to 1-10) when the sides clashed in this competition last month. Two evenly matched sides in what promises to be a fascinating battle. Could go either way and great praise due to Warwickshire for having done so well this season and kept the GAA flag flying high in the British Midlands. Fermanagh joint managers, Seamus McCusker and Sean Duffy have been great servants of Fermanagh hurling for as long as most of us can remember. McCusker told ‘The Irish News’ :
“Both myself and Sean have played for the county for over 20 years and we have always been involved in the promotion of hurling within the county. Some of these lads have come through from U10 and U12 level, so we have known them a long time and I can’t think of more deserving hurlers to share the win with. “I would go as far as saying this is the most important match Fermanagh hurlers have played in years and if we get up a division I’m sure we will be able to stay up”.
Verdict: Shame that one or other will be disappointed as inevitably one will do. My vote, goes to Fermanagh, to emerge victorious by the narrowest of margins.
Allianz HL Division 3A Relegation Play-Off
Donegal v Sligo, Brewster Park, 4.30pm
Donegal manager Ray Durack Donegal manager is expecting a right royal battle at Brewster Park in Enniskillen but his side have beaten Sligo before.
“We are expecting a tough game,” Durack he explained in a ‘Donegal Democrat’ interview. “There was only a point between us in O’Donnell Park, and Sligo like ourselves are also fighting for survival.
“But we see it as a good game in the build up to the championship and with the boys back we are a good bit stronger than when we played them earlier and we are going all out to stay up.”
Captain Keith Raymond together with Benny Kenny will once more be expected to head the Sligo challenge here and they won’t concede defeat without a fight..
Verdict: Donegal to come out on top with two or three points to spare.