Preview: Weekend’s Allianz Hurling League action:
Saturday 25th March

Allianz Hurling League Division One Semi-Finals
Limerick v Tipperary, TUS Gaelic Grounds, 7.30pm

Sunday 26th March
Kilkenny v Cork, UPMC Nowlan Park, 4pm

Relegation Play/Off
Saturday 25th March
Westmeath v Laois, FBD Semple Stadium, 2pm, TG4 YouTube

Allianz Hurling League Division 2A Semi-Final
Saturday 25th March
Offaly v Kerry, Glenisk O’Connor Park, 2pm

Allianz Hurling League Division 2B Semi-Final
Saturday 25th March
Wicklow v Donegal, Aughrim, 1pm

Relegation Play-Off
Sunday 26th March
London v Sligo, Carrickmore, 1pm

Allianz Hurling League Division 3A Semi-Final
Saturday 25th March

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

Allianz Hurling League Division 3B Semi-Final
Saturday 25th March
Leitrim v Longford, Shane McGettigan Park, 2pm

Considering the four counties involved, the two Allianz Hurling League Semi-Finals this weekend carry real intrigue.

Tipperary, making smooth progress under Liam Cahill, face the most demanding assignment at the lot presently – an away fixture against All-Ireland champions Limerick.

The fact that John Kiely’s team are gradually returning to full strength means this will certainly be a match worth monitoring under the TUS Gaelic Grounds lights.

On Sunday an in-form Cork outfit, with plenty of emerging players getting valuable exposure at this level, face Kilkenny at UPMC Nowlan Park.

Pat Ryan will be delighted with how Cork’s campaign is unfolding, but Derek Lyng’s Kilkenny are bringing through new talent too.

One of the standout performers in the league so far has been Billy Drennan, who showcased his promise against Waterford in the last group game.

Nailing pressure frees, Drennan has excelled in 2023 for Kilkenny, who will relish the upcoming encounter with an evolving Cork side.

Before then, though, Saturday evening’s tussle will be a revealing 70 minutes for Tipperary ahead of the Munster Championship.

Only a month away the depth of the Tipperary panel, despite a string of unfortunate injuries, does appear to be improving.

Cahill has afforded chances to a raft of players with Alan Tynan and Gearoid O’Connor, amongst others, making a real impression.

Patrick ‘Bonner’ Maher’s relevance to the Tipperary cause shouldn’t be underestimated either and a hard working blue and gold team will hit the field.

Limerick were caught out by a late Cork rally on the opening weekend, but since then have brought back a number of experienced figures.

Kiely has no shortage of options, but Cian Lynch’s availability once more is noteworthy, while the Morrissey brothers remain influential figures.

A pumped up Kilkenny awaits Cork at UPMC Nowlan Park.

Similar to Ryan, Lyng has quietly and effectively made a satisfying start as senior Kilkenny manager. Following a successful stint at U20 level Lyng is completely aware of the talent in the county.

Hope and expectation is attached to an exciting Cork crop too, but Ryan will value the presence of Seamus Harnedy, who struck 1-3 against Clare before being forced off through injury.

Conor Lehane and Declan Dalton have also delivered fine displays in the league, while Padraig Power is highly regarded.

With the Ballyhale Shamrocks players returned Kilkenny have difficult selection decisions to make and this should be a very lively match.

The relegation play-off at FBD Semple Stadium on Saturday afternoon carries huge implications for Westmeath and Laois.

Westmeath and Laois have summoned gutsy performances during the round robin series, but gleaning a victory is what truly matters in Thurles.

Stephen ‘Picky’ Maher remains an accurate attacker for Laois, but Westmeath, who have been bothered by injuries recently, will be equally intent on retaining top flight status.

Already qualified for the decider, Kildare have enjoyed a productive stint in Division 2A with the semi-final meeting between Offaly and Kerry a high stakes match in Tullamore.

Wicklow and Donegal meet in a Division 2B Semi-Final, while London and Sligo clash in an important relegation play-off.

Armagh host Monaghan in a Division 3A Semi-Final, while Leitrim face Longford at the penultimate stage in Division 3B.