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Dublin: 3 °C Saturday 24 March, 2018

Calculators at the ready…here’s the Allianz hurling league permutations

The round-robin games conclude this weekend.

WE’RE ONLY A few days off the first weekend of March but the new condensed structure for the Allianz hurling league means the round-robin games will come to a close this weekend.

pjimage (1) Horgan, Maher, Cooney and Gillane are all in action in key games this weekend. Source: INPHO

The marquee Division 1 final is pencilled in for 24 March with quarter-final ties slated for 11 March and semi-final clashes scheduled for 18 March. The lower league finals are scheduled for 11 March.

We’ve taken a look at what’s in store for all the counties ahead of the last round of group games.

It’s important to note that if two teams are level on points, the head-to-head record will be decisive but if three teams are tied, scoring difference will come into play.

Division 1A

The only certainty here is that Wexford and Clare, both on six points, have booked league quarter-final places. That leaves two other quarter-final spots up for grabs with the remaining two sides involved in the relegation play-off.

Matthew O'Hanlon and Cathal Malone Wexford and Clare players in action at Innovate Wexford Park on Sunday. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

Sunday’s games all start at 2.30pm with Tipperary facing Cork in Semple Stadium, Kilkenny hosting Wexford in Nowlan Park and Waterford entertaining Clare in Walsh Park.

The clash of Tipperary and Cork is a crucial one. A Tipperary win or draw means it will be Cork against Waterford in a relegation play-off as if Waterford and Kilkenny end up on four points, Kilkenny will prevail due to their recent victory over the Deise.

A Cork win would change the complexion of the division. If John Meyler’s side and Kilkenny were to triumph, they would both reach the quarter-finals and leave the battle to avoid the drop seeing Tipperary take on Waterford.

Wins for Cork, Wexford and Clare would see Cork, Tipperary and Kilkenny all level on four points to bring scoring difference into the equation. Currently it’s Tipperary (+9), Kilkenny (+3) and Cork (-10), which leaves the Rebels with plenty to do.

Finally victories for Cork, Wexford and Waterford would see three counties along with Kilkenny on four points. In that instance it’s difficult to see scoring advantage work in Waterford’s favour as they are currently -19.

Derek McGrath Waterford boss Derek McGrath. Source: Oisin Keniry/INPHO

Division 1B

The crunch game here will be a battle between Galway and Limerick in Salthill. Both have impeccable records to date with four victories and it’s a winner takes all game in the race to secure promotion. A draw would suffice for Limerick given their scoring difference (+56) is superior to Galway’s (+27).

Galway, Limerick and Offaly have all booked quarter-finals here with Antrim destined for the relegation play-off. That means the clash of Laois and Dublin in O’Moore Park will be critical. Whoever wins will book a quarter-final place, the loser will be in the relegation play-off and a draw will suffice for Laois as their scoring difference (-18) is better than Dublin’s (-30).

Pat Gilroy Dublin hurling manager Pat Gilroy. Source: Tommy Grealy/INPHO

Division 2A

Westmeath are in pole position with four wins from four at the top of the table. Two points behind them, both Carlow and Kerry on six points are still in contention. Westmeath entertain Kerry in Mullingar while Carlow travel to face Meath in Navan.

Carlow are ahead of Kerry as they have already defeated the Kingdom so if both sides lose or draw their games, then it’ll be Carlow against Westmeath in the final.

A win for Kerry will see them book a final place while Westmeath only need a draw. Wins for Carlow and Kerry would leave three teams on eight points. The scoring difference is currently Westmeath (+16), Carlow (+35) and Kerry (+45) so the latter duo are in the driving seat in that regard.

If Meath and Westmeath triumph, that will leave Kerry, Carlow and Meath all on six points with the Kingdom’s healthy scoring difference proving critical there.

The clash of Kildare and London in Ruislip is a relegation decider with a draw sufficient for Kildare due to scoring difference.

Division 2B

Mayo are top with eight points and have already qualified for the final. Down, who take on Mayo in Ballycran on Sunday, are second on six points while Wicklow, who entertain Derry, and Donegal, who travel to face Armagh, both on four points.

Those three counties are all in contention but a draw or victory will suffice for Down. Both Wicklow and Donegal need Down to lose and then triumph themselves. The current scoring difference sees Down (+19), Wicklow (+9) and Donegal (+1) if that comes into play.

Derry are rooted to the bottom of the table and destined for the relegation play-off while Armagh on two points are in danger of joining them given they need to be successful on Sunday and improve their scoring difference (-21).

Division 3A

In this division Warwickshire are top with seven points and only need a draw or victory over Roscommon to book a final place. Roscommon and Louth are both on five points with Tyrone on four points still in contention as well.

Roscommon are at home to Warwickshire with Louth entertaining Monaghan and Tyrone travelling to take on Longford. Victories for Roscommon and Louth would propel them into the hunt while Tyrone need to win and hope they get favourable results from Warwickshire and Monaghan.

Longford are already nailed on as the bottom team who will drop to Division 3B next season.

Division 3B

Finally in the bottom tier, Lancashire on eight points are assured of a place in the final. Second placed Leitrim are on four points and will join them if they defeat Cavan on Sunday in Ballinamore.

Sligo and Cavan, both on two points, have outside chances with Sligo taking on Fermanagh on Sunday, who are already out of the running at the bottom of the table.

- This article was updated at 20.00

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