The Allianz Hurling League is nearing its business end and here we preview all of the Round 4 fixtures taking place this weekend.
Saturday, February 23rd
Allianz HL Division 2A round 4
London v Kerry, McGovern Park, 2pm
Kerry got back to winning ways in Round 3 with their trouncing of Mayo in Tralee and head across the water this weekend looking to keep the heat on Westmeath at the top end of the table.
London started poorly against Meath the last day before eventually taking some tarnish off the score-line of a six-point defeat in Trim, but don’t look like bouncing back against Fintan O’Connor’s in-form side.
Allianz HL Division 2B round 4
Warwickshire v Derry, Pairc na hEireann, 12pm
Derry now lead the way in Division 2B after their thrilling win in Newbridge last Sunday and are heavy favourites for the early throw-in in Birmingham on Saturday.
Sunday, February 24th
Allianz HL Division 1A round 4
Clare v Wexford, Cusack Park, 2pm - TG4 (deferred coverage)
Clare were pipped and punished by Patrick Horgan’s frees late on against Cork in Round 3 and are coming up against a Wexford side this weekend which recently upset Tipperary with a spirited finish on home turf.
The Model County’s last two results certainly suggest that Davy Fitzgerald and his players have their eye on silverware and are sure to provide the hosts with another stiff test at Cusack Park on Sunday afternoon.
Clare are 1/2 favourites with the bookmakers to bounce back from the loss to the Rebels and will need aces up front like Peter Duggan, John Conlon and Tony Kelly to hit their rhythm if they are to keep it to script.
Wexford got some inspiration off the bench from Lee Chin and Rory O’Connor against Tipp and expect to see both of those getting more minutes in Round 4 as they look to keep the pressure on unbeaten Limerick at the top.
Tipperary v Kilkenny, Semple Stadium, 2pm - TG4 (live coverage)
This old rivalry hits the home of hurling on Sunday and neutrals will be keeping their fingers crossed for a cracking contest once the sliotar gets thrown in in Thurles.
These two lost out in their last league assignments and will view this derby as the ideal chance for a response with the atmosphere sure to be kicked up a notch at Semple Stadium.
Tipperary announced this week that they’d be welcoming Eamon O’Shea back into their management set-up in what is surely a boost for Liam Sheedy and his players going forward this season.
After consecutive losses to Limerick and Wexford, getting back to winning ways this weekend with an improved performance will be the only aim for Tipp and how they’d love to do so against this opposition in front of their home crowd.
Limerick v Cork, Gaelic Grounds, 2.30pm
Limerick’s form in the league’s top tier has proved unmatchable thus far and it’s part of the reason why they’re welcoming Cork as 8/15 favourites on Sunday.
After trouncing Tipp in Round 2, the All-Ireland champions caught fire before the interval against Kilkenny the last day and never looked back as Aaron Gillane and Shane Dowling did a good portion of the damage against the holders.
Gillane will get a break from inter-county duty this weekend as he focuses on leading Mary Immaculate College to Fitzgibbon Cup glory over UCC.
Cork, of course, will also have a number of players involved in the same game but the star of the show from their perspective so far has unquestionably been Patrick Horgan.
The Glen Rovers marksman hit a whopping 0-16 in last weekend’s victory over Clare and Limerick will know they can’t afford him too many opportunities at the Gaelic Grounds on Sunday.
Allianz HL Division 1B round 4
Offaly v Galway, O'Connor Park, 1pm
Galway head for Tullamore on Sunday after bouncing back from their shock draw against Carlow with a relatively comfortable victory over Dublin on home turf.
The Leinster champions are 1/50 favourites to down the struggling hosts here and it’s hard to envisage anything but the plan going according to script for Micheál Donoghue’s side at O’Connor Park.
The Faithful men are rooted to the bottom of Division 1B after three defeats and will have Joe Canning and Co to contend with this weekend.
Carlow v Laois, Netwatch Cullen Park, 2pm
This looks an airtight one to call with Laois having gotten off the mark thanks to an emphatic first-half display against Offaly last weekend.
Carlow, meanwhile, were brought back down to earth from their draw with Galway in Round 2 after Waterford thumped them in Dungarvan.
To make matters worse for the Barrowsiders, ace marksman Marty Kavanagh picked up an injury in the Deise defeat which leaves him in doubt for the O’Moore men’s visit on Sunday.
Dublin v Waterford, Parnell Park, 2pm
Table-toppers Waterford head for the capital this weekend looking to make it four wins out of four and they’re fancied to do so at odds of 4/7.
Austin Gleeson and Jamie Barron returned to boost the Deise men towards a comfortable victory over Carlow in Round 3 and they’ll be keen to try and keep their team on an upward curve, having guaranteed themselves a quarter-final place already.
Dublin shipped their first loss of the campaign to Galway last weekend and how Mattie Kenny would love for his side to cause an upset here in front of their home support.
Allianz HL Division 2A round 4
Westmeath v Meath, TEG Cusack Park, 12.30pm
This derby hits Mullingar early on Sunday afternoon and it sees the hosts set to enter as 2/7 favourites over their neighbours.
Indeed Westmeath have well and truly set the pace in Division 2A so far and should get the job done for a fourth consecutive time when the Royals come to visit.
Mayo v Antrim, Ballina, 1pm
Just a point separates these two in the table with Mayo having played a game less than Antrim so far.
The Saffrons went down by two points to league leaders Westmeath last time out and get the nod here to return to winning ways when they head west this weekend.
Allianz HL Division 2B round 4
Down v Donegal, Ballycran, 2pm
Down were in control throughout their Round 3 meeting with Warwickshire and welcome Donegal to Ballycran on Sunday looking to gather two more points.
The Tir Chonaill men are still awaiting a first win in the league and don’t look like tearing up the script in this Ulster derby.
Wicklow v Kildare, Aughrim, 2pm
David Herity’s Kildare were pipped late by Derry last weekend and must get back to winning ways against Wicklow here in order to keep the pressure on the now league leading Oak Leafers.
The Lilywhites are sure to get nothing easy on their trip to Aughrim but should have enough to come through nonetheless.
Allianz HL Division 3A round 4
Louth v Armagh, Darver, 12.30pm
One of the early throw ins on Sunday comes at the Louth GAA Centre of Excellence where Armagh will be fancied to secure their third win of the campaign as the two teams above them get set to battle it out at Dr Hyde Park a little bit later on.
Monaghan v Lancashire, Inniskeen, 2pm
Helped by the return of their Castleblayney contingent, Monaghan caught fire brilliantly last weekend with a five-star performance versus Tyrone and should be comfortable at home to bottom-placed Lancashire.
Roscommon v Tyrone, Dr Hyde Park, 2pm
This should be an interesting one as Roscommon look to stay two points ahead of the rest and home advantage could help them shade it against a Tyrone side which were brought back down to earth against Monaghan last time out.
Allianz HL Division 3B round 4
Cavan v Longford, Kingspan Breffni, 12.30pm
Cavan were trounced by Sligo in the last round and face another big ask when their in-form neighbours pay them a visit early on Sunday.
Leitrim v Fermanagh, Pairc Sean MacDiarmada, 2pm
This battle at the bottom could go either way going on form, so it’s Leitrim that get the nod here given that they’ve home advantage in their favour.
Join the hoganstand.com match tracker on Saturday and Sunday for live coverage of the Allianz Football and Hurling Leagues.Tweet