Galway's Gearoid McInerney and Limerick's Gearoid Hegarty. Lorraine O'Sullivan/INPHO

Roscommon rise and Salthill hurling showdown: Allianz League talking points

Another busy weekend of action ahead.

1. How high can Roscommon’s stock rise?

The surprise Division 1 contenders that continue to exceed expectations, Roscommon are still the team to beat in the top tier. Davy Burke’s side, who were expected to struggle for survival this year, have had a yo-yo team tag but have now claimed impressive wins over Tyrone, Galway and Armagh.

The only question their form now poses, is just how far their winning momentum can take them? This weekend they will take a trip to Clones where they will face a Monaghan side who picked up their first win of the Allianz League last Sunday. That could be a tricky hurdle to surmount.

Preserving their Division 1 status is all but secure, but with the performances that Roscommon are churning out, they may have their eyes on bigger prizes.

2. Kerry selection dilemman with top players

The Allianz Leagues is a time to explore the depths in a team’s panel, but last Saturday, Kerry needed their more established stars to drag them back into the contest.

Jack O’Connor’s side were struggling against Mayo at half-time, sitting on a deficit of 2-8 to 0-3. David Clifford and Seán O’Shea were called from the bench and hit a combined five points in the second-half.

However, their intervention wasn’t enough as Mayo still surged to a seven-point win. Kerry are now in a precarious position. With two losses from three games, the pressure is gradually mounting. Heading into this weekend’s meeting with Armagh, will Clifford and O’Shea be required to play from the throw-in to get Kerry back on track?

3. Hurling showdown in Salthill

There is a glamour aspect to Sunday’s meeting in Salthill. That’s what happens when the reigning All-Ireland kingpins come to town. Galway take on Limerick in this Allianz Hurling Leagues tie, memories of last summer’s All-Ireland semi-final surely fresh in their minds. They lost that epic game by three points, the same margin of defeat in the 2020 meeting at the same stage of championship. Last February’s Allianz Leagues meeting saw Galway claim a statement six-point success in Limerick. Henry Shefflin would be content with a repeat as they aim to close the gap come summer. Both teams can relate with their results to date, one win apiece and a loss at the hands of Cork.

4. How will Donegal cope without Patrick McBrearty?

Donegal made a sizzling start to their campaign with a dramatic win over Kerry, but the recent rounds have not been as kind. They shipped their first defeat to Tyrone and the slide continued at the weekend when they fell short against Monaghan.

Added to that is the loss of their captain Patrick McBrearty to injury. After succeeding Michael Murphy in that leadership role, it’s unfortunate that this setback is occurring now. The talented Kilcar forward will now have to undergo surgery to repair a hamstring tear that he sustained in their recent game against Tyrone.

His absence is a blow to the Ulster side who are currently bottom of the table, and must face a Galway side that’s on the upswing. The Tribesmen earned their first win of the competition last weekend and will be eager to carry on with their winning run on Sunday afternoon.

5. Clare seek a hurling response

Contrasting games recently for the Clare hurlers. Their Round 1 Allianz Leagues tie featured a comprehensive win over Westmeath, posting 4-27 on the board. The second round was a different affair, the scoreboard told the tale of a six-point loss to Limerick but in truth the gap was far wider. They trailed by 14 entering the final quarter, their challenge smothered all over the pitch, such was the scale of Limerick’s dominance. Brian Lohan will have been unhappy with the problems that surfaced and will seek a respnse. Sunday’s opponents are famiilar, Clare have defeated Wexford in the last three seasons in championship.

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