Preview: Weekend’s Allianz Hurling League action:

Allianz Hurling League Division One Group A
Sunday 26th February
Cork v Westmeath in Páirc Uí Chaoimh at 1.45pm
Wexford v Clare in Chadwicks Wexford Park at 1.45pm
Galway v Limerick in Pearse Stadium at 2.30pm TG4

As an eagerly anticipated Championship edges closer, blending emerging and established players is what continues to occur in the Allianz Hurling League.

With several promising players making an impression so far in the competition, Galway’s meeting with Limerick should move at a decent clip in Salthill.

Both counties have suffered defeats to a lively Cork outfit, who scored heavily at Pearse Stadium.

That is one area Henry Shefflin will want to address against the All-Ireland champions, who proved too strong for Clare at TUS Gaelic Grounds.

Mícheál Houlihan’s club form was well documented, but a 0-12 haul in the win over the Banner illustrated his ability on the national stage.

Galway have offered opportunities to plenty of players in the Walsh Cup and league. It will be interesting to see how they fare against John Kiely’s decorated team.

Wexford and Clare have also enjoyed several hard fought encounters in recent years too.

On the first weekend against Galway, Wexford weren’t sufficiently clinical converting chances, but they responded by winning comfortably against Westmeath.

Clare, without a string of key performers, were soundly beaten by Limerick, but Brian Lohan will be hoping for an improved performance.

Aidan McCarthy and David Reidy were sharp in the defeat against Limerick.

At the opposite end of the field Clare will need to cope with Conor McDonald, who struck 1-2 in the Westmeath win.

The midlanders travel to Páirc Uí Chaoimh on Sunday for another demanding assignment.

Joe Fortune’s charges will again look to Killian Doyle and Niall O’Brien for inspiration and scores.

Cork have plenty of firepower in attack with Declan Dalton starring in the Galway triumph, clipping eight points with Conor Lehane mining 2-3 and Seán Twomey netting two goals.

Ciarán Joyce has been prominent at centre back too for Pat Ryan’s team, who are enjoying a fine start to 2023.

Allianz Hurling League Division One Group B
Saturday 25th February
Dublin v Tipperary in Croke Park at 5pm

Sunday 26th February
Waterford v Antrim in Fraher Field at 1pm
Laois v Kilkenny in Laois Hire O’Moore Park at 2pm

It has been a satisfactory start for new Dublin manager Mícheál Donoghue, who knows a tricky test awaits at GAA headquarters against Tipperary.

Liam Cahill’s passion and purpose means Tipperary are especially eager to demonstrate their ability in the coming weeks and months.

With Jason Forde potent and prolific, Tipperary made a positive statement when beating Kilkenny at UPMC Nowlan Park.

Injuries, though, to a number of important players will hinder Tipperary somewhat ahead of the Munster Championship.

Dublin are busy preparing for their own provincial campaign, but they did enough to overcome Antrim at Parnell Park.

That 11 players contributed points during the game will be a source of optimism for Donoghue with Donal Burke’s 0-10 haul influential.

Antrim, with a string of capable Dunloy Cúchulainn clubmen available again, make the long journey to Fraher Field to face Waterford.

Darren Gleeson’s well organised side caused problems for Kilkenny and Dublin, but will be disappointed that no Allianz League points were taken.

That is a sign of Antrim’s progress with Keelan Molloy and Conal Cunning effective against Dublin.

Waterford eventually shrugged off Laois resistance in Portlaoise with substitutes Austin Gleeson and Reuben Halloran effective in the closing stages.

Davy Fitzgerald’s team will be striving to remain unbeaten following the opening weekend draw against Dublin in Dungarvan.

Ryan Mullaney’s industrious display was one of the features of Laois’ game against Waterford.

Willie Maher will want his Laois players to demonstrate similar levels of performance in the upcoming Kilkenny encounter.

Billy Drennan has scored heavily for Kilkenny in the first two rounds, while John Donnelly illustrated his craft against Tipperary.

Responding to the Tipperary setback is precisely what Derek Lyng will want to accomplish this week.

Allianz Hurling League Division 2A
Saturday 25th February

Kerry v Offaly in Fitzgerald Stadium at 2pm

Sunday 26th February
Carlow v Down in Netwatch Cullen Park at 2pm
Derry v Kildare in Celtic Park at 2pm

Allianz Hurling League Division 2B
Sunday 26th February
Wicklow v London in Aughrim at 12.30pm
Sligo v Tyrone in Markievicz Park at 2pm

Allianz Hurling League Division 3A
Sunday 26th February
Monaghan v Louth in Castleblayney at 12.30pm
Armagh v Mayo in BOX-IT Athletic Grounds at 2pm
Fermanagh v Roscommon in Brewster Park at 2pm

Allianz Hurling League Division 3B
Saturday 25th February
Warwickshire v Longford in Páirc na hÉireann at 1pm
Lancashire v Cavan in Abbotstown at 2pm.