Preview: Weekend’s Allianz Hurling League action:

It’s the final regulation round of the Allianz Hurling League across all three divisions this weekend with the promotion, relegation, and semi-final pictures all coming into focus.

There’s a lot to play for, and below we delve into the various permutations across all three divisions.


Sunday, March 19

Allianz Hurling League Division 1 Group A

Clare v Cork, Cusack Park, Ennis, 1.45pm

Westmeath v Galway, TEG Cusack Park, 1.45pm

Limerick v Wexford, TUS Gaelic Grounds, 1.45pm

There are semi-finals in the Allianz Hurling League Division 1 with the top team in Division 1A playing the second team in Division 1B and vice versa.

Cork have already booked their place in the semi-finals regardless of how they fare in their final group match against Clare in Cusack Park because they’ve won all four of their matches to date.

Limerick are best placed to join them with three wins from four matches, and a draw or a win against Wexford will guarantee their progression.

Galway and Clare are still in with a shout of making the semi-finals, but they’ll need results to go their way.

If Limerick lose to Wexford and Galway beat Westmeath and Clare beat Cork, then Limerick, Clare, and Galway will all finish on six points and score-difference will decide which team progresses to the semi-final.

In that scenario Clare would be odds on because their scoring difference currently stands at +36 while Limerick’s is +22 and Galway’s is + 3.

If only two teams finish level on six points then their head to head record will decide who goes through to the semi-finals. Because Limerick have beaten both Clare and Limerick, they would progress if only one of them finishes level with them on six points.

Westmeath are already resigned to playing a relegation play-off against Laois even if they beat Galway in their last game because they lost to the only other team who could finish with just two points, Wexford.

Sunday, March 19

Allianz Hurling League Division 1 Group B Round 5

Antrim v Tipperary, Corrigan Park, 1.45pm

Dublin v Laois, Parnell Park, 1.45pm

Kilkenny v Waterford, UPMC Nowlan Park, 1.45pm

Tipperary, with four wins from four, are already though to the semi-finals. The outcome of the meeting between Kilkenny and Waterford at Nowlan Park will decide who joins them there. A draw will suffice for Kilkenny, but Waterford must win to leapfrog the Cats.

At the other end of the table Laois are already resigned to playing Westmeath in the relegation play-off.

Sunday, March 19

Allianz Hurling League Division 2A

Carlow v Derry, Netwatch Cullen Park, 1pm

Kerry v Down, Austin Stack Park, 1pm

Offaly v Kildare, Glenisk O’Connor Park, 1pm

Both Offaly and Kildare have four wins from four and play in a top of the table clash. The winner will progress straight to the Division 2A Final while the loser will have home advantage against Kerry in the Division 2A semi-final.

The Winner of the Division 2A Final will be promoted to Division 1.

Carlow, Down, and Derry are still fighting for their lives in this division. A draw for Carlow against Derry will be enough to see them survive whereas Derry need to win and hope that Kerry do them a favour against Down.

If Down beat Kerry and Carlow defeat or draw with Derry, then Derry are relegated. If Derry defeat Carlow and Kerry defeat or draw with Down, then Down are relegated.

If both Down and Derry draw their matches this weekend then Derry will be relegated because of their inferior scoring difference.

Sunday, March 19

Allianz HL Division 2B

Donegal v Tyrone, Letterkenny, 1pm

London v Meath, Ruislip, 1pm

Sligo v Wicklow, Markievicz Park, 1pm

Meath have already qualified for the Division 2B Final regardless of how their match against London goes.

Wicklow are guaranteed a place in the semi-final but can also secure home advantage for that match if they draw with or beat Sligo. The winners of the Donegal v Tyrone match will play them in that semi-final.

The winner of the Division 2B Final will play in Division 2A next year.

London and Sligo are resigned to contesting the Division 2B relegation play-off regardless of how this weekend’s games go. The loser of the Division 2B relegation play-off will drop down to Division 3A.

Saturday, March 18

Allianz HL Division 3A

Armagh v Fermanagh, Box-It Athletic Grounds, 2pm

Monaghan v Roscommon, TBC, 2pm

Louth v Mayo, Darver, 2pm

Everything is still to play for in Division 3A. Monaghan are top of the table on six points ahead of Roscommon, Louth, and Fermanagh who all have four points, but the Farney County aren’t assured yet of making the Final.

You could have a situation where Monaghan, Roscommon, Louth, and Armagh all end up on six points each, at which stage scoring difference would separate them.

Whichever team finishes top goes directly into the Division 3A Final, while the second placed team has home advantage against the third-placed team.

Mayo are currently bottom of the table on three points below Fermanagh on the head to head to head rule who also have three points.

And yet if Mayo and Fermanagh both win their matches and Monaghan beat Roscommon, then Mayo and Fermanagh will contest the Division 3A semi-final.

The margins are razor-tight in this division, and it’ll make for fascinating watching on Saturday.

Whichever team finishes bottom will drop to Division 3B.

Saturday, March 18

Allianz HL Division 3B round 5

Lancashire v Warwickshire, Páirc na hÉireann, 2pm

Leitrim v Longford, Drumshanbo, 2pm

Cavan are already guaranteed a place in the Division 3B League Final and Leitrim and Longford will contest the semi-final. Their game on Saturday will decide which of them has home advantage for that semi-final.