CRUCIAL ROUND OF FIXTURES IN ALLIANZ HURLING LEAGUE DIVISION 1
Kilkenny are back in Croke Park for the first time since last year’s All-Ireland final and hoping to clinch a place in the Allianz Hurling League (Division 1) final. 2010 League champions, Galway against 2010 All-Ireland champions, Tipperary in Pearse Stadium while Waterford and Cork are hoping to stay in line for a place in the League final – those are the main highlights in store in this weekend’s series of games.
DIVISION 1: GALWAY & KILKENNY SET THE PACE
Saturday: Dublin v Kilkenny, Croke Park, 5.15 (Setanta)
Sunday (2.30): Galway v Tipperary, Pearse Stadium (Live on TG4); Offaly v Waterford, Tullamore; Wexford v Cork, Wexford Park.
Galway and Kilkenny have put themselves in the most advantageous positions to qualify for the final as Division 1 heads for its last two series of games. If both win next weekend, they will qualify for the final, irrespective of how they fare in the last round. Wins against Tipperary and Dublin respectively would take both on to ten points, a target that nobody else could reach.
However, if both Galway and Kilkenny were to lose, it would put Dublin back in the No.1 spot on nine points with Tipperary moving onto seven points. And if Cork (v Wexford) and Waterford (v Offaly) were also to win, it would leave only two points between the top six sides heading into the final round of games.
Kilkenny beat Dublin in last year’s League and Championship but Anthony Daly’s men beat the Black and Amber in this year’s Walsh Cup final before picking up seven of eight League points. Their unbeaten run ended against Galway last Sunday.
Tipperary beat Galway in last year’s League and Championship and will be hoping to extend their good run against the Westerners in Pearse Stadium.
Offaly made a crucial break from the relegation zone with a win over Wexford last Sunday, leaving Colm Bonnar’s squad needing to pick up at least three points from their last two games (v Cork and Tipperary) to have any chance of avoiding relegation. Even then, it wouldn’t be enough if Offaly took even one point from their remaining games against Waterford and Kilkenny.
DIVISION 2: LIMERICK AND CLARE STILL ON COURSE FOR FINAL CLASH
Saturday: Carlow v Westmeath, Dr.Cullen Park, 2.30; Laois v Clare, Portlaoise, 5.0.
Sunday: Limerick v Kerry, Kilmallock 1.0; Down v Antrim, Ballycran, 2.30.
It always looked likely that it would be a Limerick v Clare final to decide on promotion and nothing has changed to alter that position. Limerick have won all five games while Clare have won four of five. Antrim, three wins from five, are still in the promotion race but would need a whole lot of luck to reach the final. Westmeath are in serious relegation trouble, having lost all five games, leaving them four points adrift of Laois, Carlow, Kerry and Down.
DIVISION 3A: DERRY, WICKLOW REACH FINAL
Having come up from Division 3B last year, Wicklow are in line for further promotion, having qualified for the 3A final after winning four of five games. Their unbeaten run ended against Armagh last Sunday but they had done enough previously to reach the final. They will play Derry (also four wins from five) on April 17. Derry clinched a place in the final with a one-point win over London (1-14 to 1-13) last Sunday.
Armagh will be relegated after losing four of five games.
DIVISION 3B: FOUR IN STRONG CONTENTION FOR PLACE IN FINAL
Saturday: Sligo v Mayo, Tubbercurry, 2.30.
Sunday (2.30): Donegal v Louth, Letterkenny; Roscommon v Fingal, Athleague.
Mayo lead the way on eight points from four games, with Louth, Fingal and Roscommon all on six points, although Fingal have played one game more than the others. The clash of Roscommon and Fingal next Sunday will be crucial to both’s prospects of reaching the final. Mayo are six points clear of Sligo as they prepare to head for Tubbercurry while Louth will be hoping to keep in the promotion race away to Donegal in Letterkenny.
DIVISION 4: TYRONE v SOUTH DOWN QUALIFY FOR FINAL
As with Division 3A, the group games are completed and the finalists decided. It’s South Down v Tyrone in the final on April 17. Tyrone remained unbeaten, picking up nine of ten points while South Down won four of five games. Tyrone beat South Down by 3-15 to 3-11 when the sides met in Round 2.
2011 ALLIANZ HURLING LEAGUE: RESULTS & FIXTURES
Round 1: Kilkenny 1-17 Tipperary 1-10; Galway 1-24 Wexford 0-6; Cork 1-20 Offaly 1-15; Waterford 3-16 Dublin 2-19.
Round 2: Dublin 1-16 Tipperary 1-15; Galway 1-24 Offaly 1-10; Kilkenny 0-14 Cork 1-10; Waterford 1-11 Wexford 0-12.
Round 3: Tipperary 1-20 Waterford 0-18; Cork 1-20 Galway 1-17; Dublin 2-23 Offaly 1-13; Kilkenny 2-16 Wexford 0-17.
Round 4: Galway 4-14 Kilkenny 3-13; Tipperary 1-20 Offaly 0-10; Waterford 0-18 Cork 0-17; Dublin 3-21 Wexford 2-15.
Round 5: Cork 1-14 Tipperary 1-14; Galway 2-11 Dublin 0-14; Offaly 2-15 Wexford 1-16; Kilkenny 2-16 Waterford 1-13.
Round 6: Apr 2 (Sat): Dublin v Kilkenny; Apr 3 (Sun): Galway v Tipperary; Offaly v Waterford; Wexford v Cork.
Round 7: Apr 17 (Sun): Cork v Dublin; Tipperary v Wexford; Waterford v Galway; Kilkenny v Offaly.
Final: May 1 (Sun).
Round 1: Laois 1-19 Westmeath 0-9; Down 2-11 Carlow 0-14; Antrim 1-15 Kerry 0-12; Limerick 2-9 Clare 0-6.
Round 2: Limerick 1-20 Westmeath 0-15; Carlow 0-20 Laois 2-10; Clare 2-14 Antrim 2-13; Kerry 2-23 Down 3-16.
Round 3: Laois 0-20 Antrim 0-16; Clare 1-27 Westmeath 2-17; Limerick 1-25 Down 2-11; Carlow 2-17 Kerry 1-12.
Round 4: Kerry 1-15 Westmeath 1-13; Antrim 0-10 Carlow 1-6; Clare 5-22 Down 0-6; Limerick 1-18 Laois 0-16.
Round 5: Clare 6-23 Kerry 1-18; Antrim 2-13 Westmeath 2-9; Down 3-15 Laois 3-11; Limerick 3-18 Carlow 1-15.
Round 6: Apr 2 (Sat): Laois v Clare; Carlow v Westmeath; Apr 3 (Sun): Down v Antrim; Limerick v Kerry.
Round 7: Apr 17 (Sun): Westmeath v Down; Antrim v Limerick; Kerry v Laois; Clare v Carlow.
Final: May 1 (Sun)
Round 1: Wicklow 2-15 Kildare 0-18; Derry 3-16 Armagh 0-15; London 1-13 Meath 1-8.
Round 2: Wicklow 1-11 Meath 0-11; London 3-15 Armagh 2-10; Derry 1-20 Kildare 0-19.
Round 3: Kildare 1-16 Armagh 0-12; Derry 0-15 Meath 0-14; Wicklow 1-15 London 1-14.
Round 4: Wicklow 2-15 Derry 1-17; Meath 1-20 Armagh 1-17; Kildare 2-16 London 1-15.
Round 5: Derry 1-14 London 1-13; Armagh 5-11 Wicklow 2-14; Meath 2-19 Kildare 3-13.
Final: Apr 17.
Round 1: Fingal 4-18 Monaghan 0-13; Louth 3-20 Sligo 0-5; Mayo 0-17 Roscommon 1-5; Donegal (bye)
Round 2: Roscommon 1-14 Donegal 2-9; Louth 3-18 Monaghan 1-4; Mayo 1-13 Fingal 0-9; Sligo (bye).
Round 3: Donegal 3-12 Monaghan 1-14; Louth 1-14 Fingal 0-14; Roscommon 1-19 Sligo 1-10; Mayo (bye).
Round 4: Fingal 1-13 Donegal 1-7; Sligo 1-12 Monaghan 2-8; Mayo 3-12 Louth 2-14; Roscommon (bye).
Round 5: Roscommon 3-14 Monaghan 1-17; Fingal 0-16 Sligo 1-12; Mayo 2-18 Donegal 0-12; Louth (bye).
Round 6: Apr 3 (Sun): Donegal v Louth; Sligo v Mayo; Roscommon v Fingal; Monaghan (bye).
Round 7: Apr 10 (Sun): Sligo v Donegal; Roscommon v Louth; Monaghan v Mayo; Fingal (bye).
Apr 17: Final
Round 1: South Down 2-17 Longford 1-10; Fermanagh 8-23 Cavan 1-8; Tyrone 2-19 Leitrim 0-9.
Round 2: Tyrone 3-15 South Down 3-11; Leitrim 3-19 Cavan 1-8; Fermanagh 2-14 Longford 1-7.
Round 3: Tyrone 4-23 Cavan 1-6; Longford 2-15 Leitrim 3-8; South Down 4-13 Fermanagh 2-11.
Round 4: South Down 6-11 Leitrim 0-11; Longford 6-23 Cavan 1-1; Tyrone 1-10 Fermanagh 3-4.
Round 5: Fermanagh 4-19 Leitrim 1-9; South Down 5-32 Cavan 1-3; Tyrone 4-26 Longford 1-8.
Apr 17: Final