It wasn’t what anybody expected at the start of the 2013 Allianz Hurling Leagues but reigning All-Ireland champions, Kilkenny and runners-up, Galway are both in relegation trouble at the bottom of Division 1A with two rounds remaining.
They have each lost two of three games, leaving them one point adrift of Cork and Waterford and two behind Clare and Tipperary. Galway made a good start to the League, beating Kilkenny in the first round but have since lost to Clare and Tipperary, going down by eleven points to the latter in Pearse Stadium on Bank Holiday Monday.
Kilkenny, who lost to Galway and Tipperary in the first two rounds, finally got into their stride when beating Waterford on Bank Holiday Monday.
Allianz hurling league divison 1A, Tipperary move to the top of the table
Sunday: Clare v Kilkenny, Ennis, 2.0; Galway v Cork, Pearse Stadium, 2.30; Waterford v Tipperary, Walsh Park 2.30.
Promoted from 1B at the end of last season’s League, Clare have not only adapted to life in the top tier but actually head the table on scoring difference from Tipperary after two rounds.
Clare and Tipperary have each won two of three games, putting them in strong contention for a semi-final place with two rounds to go. Clare host Kilkenny, who finally got off the mark when beating Waterford on Monday, in Ennis on Sunday while Tipperary travel to take on Waterford who are on three points.
Cork are also on three points as they prepare to travel to Pearse Stadium to take on Galway who have lost two of three games. They beat Cork in League and Championship last year and badly need to extend that run if they are to escape from the relegation zone.
Allianz hurling league division 1B: Limerick leap to the top
Sunday: Carlow v Antrim, Dr. Cullen Park, 12.45; Wexford v Dublin, Enniscorthy, 2.0; Offaly v Limerick, Tullamore, 2.0
Limerick, who lost out to Clare on the promotion trail last year, have made it clear that they intend to make another big push this season and have already opened up a two point lead over Wexford, Dublin and Offaly. It makes their clash with Offaly in Tullamore on Sunday vital for both while the same applies to Wexford and Dublin who meet in Enniscorthy. Carlow and Antrim, who meet in Dr. Cullen Park are deep in relegation trouble, having each lost their first three games.
Allianz hurling league division 2A: Westmeath join promotion trail
Saturday: Kildare v Kerry, Newbridge, 2.0; Sunday: Wicklow v Westmeath, Aughrim, 12.45; Derry v Laois, Celtic Park, 2.0
Westmeath have hoisted themselves into promotion contention after beating Laois by three points on Bank Holiday Monday which means a four-way tie at the top. Laois, Westmeath, Kerry and Derry each have four points, followed by Wicklow on two points while Kildare have still to register their first win.
Allianz hurling league division 2B: Meath top the table
Sunday: Roscommon v Meath, Athleague 1.0; Mayo v London, Castlebar, 12.30; Armagh v Down, Athletic Grounds, 2.0.
Meath have raced to the top of the table with three straight wins, leaving them two points clear of London with Mayo a point further back. Meath take on bottom-of-the-table Roscommon, who are still seeking their first win while London travel to Castlebar to take on Mayo. Down and Armagh, both of whom are on two points, meet in the Athletic Grounds.
Allianz hurling league division 3A: Only one point separating the top three
Saturday: Fingal v Fermanagh, Croke Park, 5.15.
Sunday: Monaghan v Tyrone, Inniskeen, 2.0; Donegal v Louth, Letterkenny, 2.0.
Donegal v Louth in Letterkenny is a 1 v 2 clash and will have a major bearing on who reaches the final. Donegal have won all three games so far while Louth have won two and drawn one. So too has Fingal who head for Croke Park to take on Fermanagh (2pts) on Saturday evening as part of the spring series which will also feature Dublin v Down in football. Meanwhile, Inniskeen will host the bottom of the table clash between Monaghan and Tyrone, both of whom have lost their opening three games.
Allianz hurling league division 3B: Neighbours in top of the table clash
Sunday: Longford v Warwickshire, Glennon Brothers Park, 12.45; Sligo v Leitrim, Markievicz Park, 2.0
Sligo and Leitrim both won their first game so their clash in Markievicz Park on Sunday will be crucial as both bid to reach the final. Longford and Warwickshire, who meet in Longford, will be hoping to get back in contention after losing their first game.