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Dublin: 10 °C Monday 25 March, 2019

6 talking points after the weekend's Allianz hurling league action

It was a good weekend for Cork, Dublin, Tipperary, Wexford, Limerick and Waterford.

1. Cork respond at home

Cork’s opening night woes against Kilkenny were well-documented last week. Jimmy Barry-Murphy didn’t mask his disappointment at their second-half fadeout but he couldn’t conceal either on Saturday night, his satisfaction at their improvement.

After a cracking first-half, Cork gained a grip and didn’t let go against Clare. Their defence was more resolute. The Kearney-Walsh midfield partnership offered glimpses of last summer’s Munster title-winning form. Patrick Horgan shot the lights out with 0-14. Alan Cadogan’s capacity to win frees served his team well and Luke O’Farrell showed his goalscoring touch. A good response in front of their home fans for the Rebels.

Jimmy Barry-Murphy Cork boss Jimmy Barry-Murphy and coach Mark Landers. Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

2. Dublin continue to fly under new boss

The league fixture list wasn’t the kindest to Dublin as it handed them last year’s All-Ireland finalists in their opening two games. But those assignments didn’t perturb Dublin and they continue to thrive under new manager Ger Cunningham. Last week’s demolition of Tipperary caught the eye but they followed that up with a successful raid of Nowlan Park today.

Granted it was a weakened Kilkenny team and they finished with 13 men. But Dublin still hit dizzying heights on the scoreboard with David Treacy and Danny Sutcliffe outstanding. They’ll welcome Cunningham’s native Cork to Croke Park on 7 March in a confident mood.

Conal Keaney and Cian O'Callaghan Conal Keaney and Cian O'Callaghan celebrate Dublin's win. Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

3. Clare face up to relegation battle

‘Disappointed and puzzled’ was Davy Fitzgerald’s reaction after his Clare side were overwhelmed in the second-half by Cork on Saturday night. The consequence of another defeat is that it places Clare under notable pressure in Division 1A. They’re the only team without a point now and must face up to a relegation battle.

The comfort is that they are at home for their next two games against Tipperary on 8 March and against Dublin on 14 March. Getting the likes of Tony Kelly back fit will be an objective for a week of hurling that will be telling for the Banner.

4. Callanan and O’Dwyer’s skill unlocks Galway

Tricky pitch conditions and a general February hurling atmosphere didn’t generate electricity in today’s Tipperary-Galway clash in Thurles. The home side had a greater need for points after last Sunday’s reversal and they delivered in Semple Stadium. The classy touches of Seamus Callanan and John O’Dwyer were key in settling this clash.

Last year’s Allstar winners struck home the priceless second-half goals that created a Tipperary lead which Galway could not bridge. O’Dwyer’s finish was clinical for the first while Callanan’s stickwork was a joy to watch. His innate skill saw him involved in the three best scores of the game with his 23rd minute assist for a Jason Forde point, a 29th minute point that he hit himself and that 45th minute goal when he scooped the ball to the Galway net.

Seamus Callanan and Padraig Mannion Tipperary's Seamus Callanan and Galway's Padraig Mannion. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

5. Wexford set the pace in Division 1B

Liam Dunne must be pleased with Wexford’s league start. They were the emerging team that caught the imagination most last summer with their journey to the All-Ireland quarter-finals. Trying to claim promotion now is a high priority and they’ve begun brightly.

Holding their nerve to see off Antrim last week was important and so was today’s emphatic success away to Offaly. They’re going to welcome this division’s big guns Waterford and Limerick to the south-east in the coming weeks. Two early wins were necessary and they’re top of the table now.

6. Waterford and Limerick’s promotion bid back on track

No one would have been too downcast by the draw at the Gaelic Grounds last weekend but equally Waterford and Limerick were both aware they’d missed the chance to strike a decisive blow for themselves and dent a challenger’s hopes in the Division 1B promotion race.

This weekend was all about getting back on track. Pauric Mahony inspired Waterford to do just that as they crushed Laois in the second-half last night. Today Limerick made the long trek to Ballycastle and a powerful late surge ensured they were rewarded. Limerick’s trip to Wexford on 8 March is now a huge game while Waterford must head to Tullamore.

Callanan and O’Dwyer hit the net as Tipperary get first league points with win over Galway

Ger Cunningham’s Dublin see off 13-man Kilkenny as Treacy points the way

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About the author:

Fintan O'Toole

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