Preview: Weekend’s Allianz Hurling League action:

Allianz Hurling League Division One Group A

Saturday 11th February

Limerick v Clare, TUS Gaelic Grounds, 7pm, RTE 2

Sunday February 12

Galway v Cork, Pearse Stadium, 2pm

Westmeath v Wexford, TEG Cusack Park, 2pm

The opening rounds of the league are frequently about making small little statements.

That is precisely what Galway and Cork did last Saturday so the Salthill clash involving those two outfits promises to be interesting.

Wexford suffered a disappointing loss so they will head for Mullingar eager to summon a response. A Leinster SHC draw at TEG Cusack Park… the summer of 2022 is a reminder of the threat a pumped up Westmeath can carry.

Clare, prompted by Aidan McCarthy and Mark Rodgers, delivered a satisfactory display when overcoming Westmeath.

The challenge, though, against neighbours Limerick will be demanding. Limerick might have eventually been beaten by Cork, but there still was plenty to admire about the All-Ireland champions.

Before an injury enforced departure Declan Hannon had been splendid at centre back, while the return of Cian Lynch is another boost.

Getting more minutes for the Patrickswell craftsman is on the agenda during the coming weeks for Limerick, who’ve had some tasty tussles with Clare recently.

Developing the Clare panel during the league is what Brian Lohan will be striving to do, but Limerick are going through an audition process also.

John Kiely will monitor how some of the emerging players fare against Clare in front of another sizeable crowd.

Galway endured some worrying moments initially against Wexford, who weren’t clinical converting chances.

Henry Shefflin’s charges, though, with Brian Concannon a key figure following his introduction, did enough to secure an away victory.

Seán Linnane was effective and industrious which provided further encouragement.

Having finished with a flourish at Páirc Uí Chaoimh, Pat Ryan’s evolving Cork team will travel to the west armed with hope and a bit of expectation.

Robbie O’Flynn’s injury is an undoubted setback for Cork, who still look to Patrick Horgan for scores and inspiration inside.

Declan Dalton had some fine moments too, while Ciarán Joyce was excellent throughout for Cork.

Darragh Egan’s Wexford team settled briskly against Galway, but just couldn’t convert enough opportunities. Still it is early in the year.

Westmeath knew an away assignment in Ennis would be a tough test in round one. Wexford will be intent on relaunching their own league campaign so a resilient Westmeath performance is necessary.

Allianz Hurling League Division One Group B

Saturday February 11

Laois v Waterford, MW Hire O’Moore Park, 5pm, TG4

Sunday February 12

Kilkenny v Tipperary, UPMC Nowlan Park, 1.30pm, TG4

Dublin v Antrim, Parnell Park, 3.30pm, TG4

There was no shortage of debate following the opening series in Group B.

Waterford and Dublin finished in a welter of excitement and drama. Ultimately both teams left Dungarvan armed with a point.

Mícheál Donoghue’s arrival as Dublin manager alongside the highly regarded Francis Forde and Noel Larkin ensures the developing players in the county should prosper.

A number of proven performers at this level are currently available, but Donoghue will be enthusiastic about the leadership roles that are being assumed by others.

That was noticeable against Waterford, who will afford Laois the utmost respect in Portlaoise.

While Willie Maher’s team were defeated soundly by Tipp, Tomas Keyes and James Keyes contributed scores for Laois.

Austin Gleeson, Dessie Hutchinson, and Jack Prendergast were amongst those, who were introduced by Davy Fitzgerald during Waterford’s draw with Dublin.

Fitzgerald has forged a connection with a talented Waterford panel, who will be intent on generating momentum ahead of the Munster Championship.

At UPMC Nowlan Park on Sunday rivals Kilkenny and Tipperary face off with new look teams.

With Billy Drennan prominent in attack, Derek Lyng’s Kilkenny survived an awkward encounter in Belfast against Antrim.

Fully aware of the promising talent in Kilkenny, Lyng will continue to try to integrate those hurlers into the senior fold.

A similar process is being adopted by Liam Cahill with Tipp, who were too strong for Laois.

Gearoid O’Connor landed 0-11, while Ronan Maher’s shooting from distance illustrated his class.

Now a match against Kilkenny at Nowlan Park is an ideal place to see where Tipperary are placed in February.

At Parnell Park Dublin will want to record a home triumph at the Donnycarney venue, but Antrim will also believe that a positive result can be posted.

Conal Cunning was sharp from frees against Kilkenny for Darren Gleeson’s well organised side.

Cian O’Sullivan, Cian Boland, and Alex Considine were sharp in attack, while Donal Burke registered 1-5 in Waterford.

Dublin will need to be equally defiant against Antrim.

Allianz Hurling League Division 2A

Sunday February 12

Kerry v Carlow, Austin Stack Park, 2pm

Offaly v Derry, Glenisk O’Connor Park, 2pm

*Kildare v Down, Hawkfield, 2.30pm, BBC iPlayer

Allianz Hurling League Division 2B

Sunday February 12

London v Donegal, McGovern Park, 1pm

Wicklow v Tyrone, Aughrim, 2pm

*Sligo v Meath, Markievicz Park, 2pm

Allianz Hurling League Division 3A

Saturday February 11

Armagh v Monaghan, BOX-IT Athletic Grounds, 2pm

Sunday February 12

Fermanagh v Mayo, Ederney, 2pm

Roscommon v Louth, Dr Hyde Park, 2pm

Allianz Hurling League Division 3B

Saturday February 11

Cavan v Warwickshire, Kingspan Breffni, 1pm

Leitrim v Lancashire, Shane McGettigan Park, 2pm