Senior hurlers host Laois after securing quarter-final berth
Sunday’s programme is the most exciting so far in the Allianz Hurling League as the concluding round will decide several key issues in a campaign which has more than lived up to expectations.
2019 ALLIANZ HURLING LEAGUE DIVISION 1A: LIMERICK GUARANTEED QUARTER-FINAL SPOT
Sunday (2.0): Clare v Limerick, Ennis; Cork v Tipperary, Páirc Uí Rinn; Wexford v Kilkenny, Innovate Wexford Park
All-Ireland champions, Limerick (6 points) have already qualified for the quarter-finals, leaving the other five counties battling it out for the remaining three places in the final round. Wexford, Kilkenny, Cork and Clare are all on four points but Tipperary (2 points) could still make the quarter-finals if they beat Cork, depending on results elsewhere.
Tipperary beat Cork in last year’s League while the sides drew in the Munster championship. Limerick beat Clare in last year’s League quarter final, winning on frees after they were level following extra-time, but the Bannermen turned the tables in the Munster championship, winning by 13 points.
Kilkenny and Wexford met three times last year, with the Cats winning all three. They won the 1A contest by 0-22 to 0-19, the League semi-final by 1-27 to 2-15 and the Leinster ‘round robin’ by 0-22 to 1-18.
2019 ALLIANZ HURLING LEAGUE DIVISION 1B: THREE ALREADY BOOKED IN FOR QUARTER-FINALS
Sunday (2.0): Carlow v Offaly, Netwatch Cullen Park; Dublin v Laois, Parnell Park; Waterford v Galway, Walsh Park
Galway (7 points), Dublin and Waterford (6pts each) have already qualified for the quarter-finals and will be joined by either Laois (3pts) or Carlow (2pts).
This will be the first Waterford v Galway game since the 2017 All-Ireland final which the Tribesmen won. Dublin and Laois met in last year’s League, when the Dubs won by 3-23 to 0-17 in Portlaoise.
Played in O’Moore Park on Sunday, March 11 last year Dublin cruised to a 15-point victory over hosts Laois, Portlaoise to fend off any relegation play-off fears and book their berth in the quarter-finals.
“It’s great to play the games so close together. That’s been a positive. The players really enjoy that,” said Dublin then manager Pat Gilroy afterwards.
“For us, I’d always look at the league that you want to be finishing with your best performances rather than starting with your best performances, and taking it into the championship.
“For us, we’ve seen certainly an improvement from the Limerick game and that’s important.
“It’s been a very competitive league, a very tough group stage.
“We’re after getting to see loads of players; we’re after learning a huge amount about them. Today was a real championship game, so it was good to come out the right side of it.”
Dublin newcomer Ronan Hayes enjoyed a memorable after when scoring 2-4 from play with both his goals coming in the last ten minutes while Donal Burke also had a fruitful day with a tally of 0-11 (four from play).
By the half-time interval Dublin were coasting to victory when holding a 1-15 to 0-6 lead.
The Dubs hit the opening five points of the match and may have had a goal but Paul Winters early effort, following a long ball from Donal Burke, was wide of the target.
Dublin’s first goal arrived in the 19th minute when Ryan O’Dwyer’s angled his drive to the corner of the net.
Dublin led by 14 points at one stage of the second half before Laois rallied temporarily to cut the deficit to nine but Dublin finish the game on a high with Kilmacud Crokes man Hayes grabbing two goals.
SCORERS – Dublin: D Burke 0-11 (0-6f, 0-1 ’65’), R Hayes 2-4, R O’Dwyer 1-1, F Mac Gib 0-2, C Keaney, D Sutcliffe, J McCaffrey, P Ryan, C McBride 0-1 each. Laois: PJ Scully 0-6 (0-4f), C Dwyer, R King (0-2f) 0-3 each, N Foyle 0-2, E Rowland (0-1f), B Conroy, P Purcell 0-1 each.
DUBLIN: A Nolan; P Smyth, B O’Carroll, E O’Donnell; S Barrett, C Crummey, J McCaffrey; C Costello, F Mac Gib; D Burke, C Keaney, D Sutcliffe; R Hayes, R O’Dwyer, P Winters. Subs: J Madden for Barrett (inj 24), C O’Sullivan for O’Dwyer (48), P Ryan for Winters (58), R McBride for Keaney (63), C McBride for Costello (67).
LAOIS: E Rowland; L Cleere,L Bergin, J Phelan; P Lawlor, M Whelan, E Killeen; P Purcell, J Ryan; B Conroy, C Dwyer, W Dunphy; R King, N Foyle, M Kavanagh. Subs: C Stapleton for Cleere (21), PJ Scully for Kavanagh (34), C Taylor for Killeen (34), E Lyons for Purcell (70), C Phelan for J Phelan (70).