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NHL Division 1A Round Five Preview

By Matthew Hurley

We move to the final week of the Allianz Hurling Leagues and as with every campaign, there is a group of teams that have something to play for and a few with eyes fixed towards to championship.

It’s been an interesting last weeks in Division 1A with Limerick struggling for most of it, while the chasing pack Galway, Cork and especially Tipperary have showed why they can put it up to the Treaty in future months.

In all, 3 teams are fighting for top spot (Tipperary, Cork and Galway) with 3 teams essentially playing for nothing (Limerick, Waterford and Westmeath).

However, Galway and Cork’s game wouldn’t even matter if Tipperary beat Waterford so it could be a very easy afternoon in determining who gets the ultimate prize, but if Waterford put up some sort of a fight, the games on Sunday could be very intriguing right up to their conclusion’s.

Westmeath v Limerick

When: Sunday 13th June, 1:45pm

Where: TEG Cusack Park

Channel: GAAGO

Referee: Chris Mooney (Dublin)

The definition of a dead-rubber if there ever was one. It’s been a very mixed League season for John Kiely’s men with the good seen last week against Cork while the bad could be seen against Galway and Waterford.

Referee Alan Kelly was very lenient on Limerick’s ‘swarming’ style last Saturday night, which played nicely into what they were trying to do.

For this game however, it’s about blooding in new talent, maybe even more than Colin Coughlan or Cathal O’Neill last week.

The main objective is to avoid injuries before their big Munster Championship clash with Cork, do that and Kiely will be happy enough with the last couple of weeks.

As for Westmeath, a team who are already confirmed for a relegation play off, they will hope that they won’t be on the end of another hammering.

Davy Glennon looks as if he could be out for the whole season, which would be a huge loss, especially given this might be the Lake County’s one and only chance in getting back to the Liam McCarthy Cup through the Joe McDonagh given Offaly could be back next year.

Their objective will be the same as Limerick’s, to avoid big injuries at all costs. The result in this seems pretty irrelevant but Limerick’s youngsters should put up a big score in order to impress Kiely for the weeks ahead.

Verdict: Limerick by 18

Cork v Galway

When: Sunday 13th June, 1:45pm

Where: Pairc Ui Chaomh

Channel: TG4 App

Referee: Paud O’Dwyer (Carlow)

And so onto the real big games of the weekend. This game might not even matter if Tipp beat Waterford in the other game but both sides here will still be focused on doing their part.

It was a sense of crashing back down to earth for Cork last week, with their young side taking a heavy beating off Limerick.

It was a harsh lesson for them, but with Galway’s clear goal threat, the Rebels can’t afford to make those elementary mistakes again.

The Tribesmen’s goal threat was shown against Waterford last week, hitting 4 goals as they swatted their opponents aside.

If they do that again against an inexperienced Cork full back line, the game could be over very quickly.

You would have to imagine however that Kieran Kingston would make a few personnel changes having seen them capitulate in the first half last week.

It depends how much Galway want it too, they picked a second-string team v Tipp and that ended in a pretty comprehensive defeat.

I think both sides will play strong sides though as momentum is key and there is possible silverware at stake.

The real question is who would want this more. Judging by the whole season to date, you would have to say Cork.

However, with both side’s apparent goal threat, it could easily end up being a score for score type of game.

This will result in the 2 teams cancelling each other out, which might result in a share of the spoils.

Verdict: Draw

Waterford v Tipperary

When: Sunday 13th June, 1:45pm

Where: Walsh Park

Channel: GAAGO

Referee: James Owens (Wexford)

The job is pretty simple for Liam Sheedy’s men, win and they top the group. Anything less, and they are at risk of dropping out of top spot.

You have to feel however that their opposition are on the same boat as Limerick and Westmeath in the sense they have nothing to play for.

Liam Cahill will undoubtedly be disappointed with 2021 so far as the Deise have to register a complete performance so far.

Yes, they beat Limerick, but were up a man for most of the game, while against Cork, Westmeath and Galway, they struggled for large parts of those games.

It has the feeling of second season syndrome for Waterford as they prepare for Clare in their first Munster Championship game.

Avoiding unnecessary injuries is the main aim here as they prepare for that game.

Tipperary, who were well under par last year, seem to have the right balance this time round, as they are unbeaten to date.

They will probably remain with 0 losses on the board by Sunday evening as they look for either a League Final place or a joint Title (depending on how the season develops).

As it turns out, they will possibly play Waterford on their first championship outing, which makes this games huge for them.

There’s more on the line for the Premier County on Sunday, and I think that will be enough to see off this lacklustre Waterford side.

Verdict: Tipperary by 6

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