Preview: Weekend’s Allianz Hurling League action:
Allianz Hurling League Division One Group A

Sunday March 12

Clare v Galway, Cusack Park, 1.45pm, TG4

Westmeath v Limerick, TEG Cusack Park, 2pm

Cork v Wexford, Páirc Uí Chaoimh, 3.45pm, TG4

It has been a satisfactory start for Cork under Pat Ryan, who host Wexford at Páirc Uí Chaoimh on Sunday afternoon.

Another healthy crowd is expected at the Leeside venue as Cork’s mixture of emerging and established hurlers seek to glean a fourth win on the spin.

Wexford, who suffered a heavy defeat against Clare just under a fortnight ago, will be eager to summon a defiant response.

Next month’s Leinster SHC opener away to Galway is edging closer for Darragh Egan’s outfit, who were blitzed by a rampant Clare team.

Still Wexford were without a number of influential figures in that match as Egan affords opportunities to younger players.

Ross Banville did clip eight points for Wexford in that game, while Charlie McGuckin is also making an impact for the Model County.

Having enjoyed high scoring victories over Limerick and Galway, Cork did enough to overcome Westmeath.

Shane Kingston and Shane Barrett clipped important scores against the gritty midlanders with Cork maintaining their fine start to 2023.

Clare, beaten with surprising comfort by Limerick, were much improved against Wexford as Aidan McCarthy added another 1-10 haul.

David Reidy, Tony Kelly, Peter Duggan, and the promising Mark Rodgers also pinched goals for Clare, who face Galway in Ennis.

It should be a lively enough encounter because Galway will be eager to generate a bit of form and momentum ahead of the Championship.

Losses in Salthill to Cork and Limerick – despite a brave revival mission against the All-Ireland champions – ensure Galway require favourable results elsewhere to have a serious chance of reaching the knockout stages.

Joe Fortune’s Westmeath, with Killian Doyle prominent, were gutsy against Cork, but now face another stern assignment.

Limerick, prompted by Tom Morrissey’s dynamic display, collected the spoils at Pearse Stadium and will head for the midlands heartened.

The depth of John Kiely’s panel remains strong with Ciarán Barry, Micheál Houlihan, Donnacha O’Dalaigh, and talented teenager Shane O’Brien enjoying productive cameos so far in the league.

Allianz Hurling League Division One Group B

Saturday March 11

Tipperary v Waterford, FBD Semple Stadium, 7.15pm, TG4

Sunday March 12

Antrim v Laois, Corrigan Park, 1pm, BBC iPlayer

Kilkenny v Dublin, UPMC Nowlan Park, 1.45pm, TG4 deferred

These are encouraging times for Tipperary, who have made a blistering start under Liam Cahill.

Several new players have been effective for the Premier County with Gearoid O’Connor drilling the frees in impressive fashion in recent weeks.

Alan Tynan’s industry has been another positive factor for Tipperary, who will be fully aware of Waterford’s ability.

Davy Fitzgerald’s outfit have accumulated five points in the competition, but did need to summon strong finishes against Laois and Antrim.

Similar to Cahill in Tipperary, Fitzgerald will be keen to increase the depth of the Waterford panel for the significant challenges that await in Munster.

Austin Gleeson has made some brilliant interventions as a substitute and Waterford should enjoy operating at FBD Semple Stadium.

Billy Drennan’s 1-29 in three games has been a notable aspect for Kilkenny, who face Dublin at UPMC Nowlan Park.

Unsurprisingly Derek Lyng continues to integrate some promising young players into the Kilkenny set-up and the upcoming fixture against Dublin should provide a physical test.

Despite the unavailability of some players, Dublin have still delivered gritty displays with Donal Burke prolific in attack.

Micheál Donoghue will be satisfied with how Dublin have competed, but any match with Kilkenny, regardless of the level, is revealing.

Avoiding a relegation play-off is what Antrim and Laois want to do so the Corrigan Park clash can be classed in the vital category.

Conal Cunning remains an accurate forward for Darren Gleeson’s team, who have produced good displays in the league.

With Ryan Mullaney influential, Laois’ challenge was fended off by Waterford before Kilkenny also won in Portlaoise.

Allianz Hurling League Division 2A

Saturday March 11

Kildare v Kerry, Newbridge, 2pm

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

Sunday March 12

Down v Derry, Ballycran, 1pm

Allianz Hurling League Division 2B

Saturday March 11

London v Sligo, McGovern Park, 1pm

Tyrone v Meath, O’Neill’s Healy Park, 2pm

Sunday March 12

Donegal v Wicklow, Letterkenny, 1pm

Allianz Hurling League Division 3A

Sunday March 12

Roscommon v Armagh, Dr Hyde Park, 2pm

Louth v Fermanagh, Darver, 2pm

Mayo v Monaghan, Hastings Insurance MacHale Park, 2pm

Allianz Hurling League Division 3B

Saturday March 11

Longford v Lancashire, Glennon Brothers Pearse Park, 2pm

Cavan v Leitrim, Kingspan Breffni, 2pm