After last week’s break for the hurlers, the small ball is our priority this weekend as all teams are back in action in the National Hurling Leagues.
However, because of Storm Ciara’s excursions last weekend, there are also three NFL games to be played on Sunday in Divisions 2, 3 and 4: Laois v Cavan (Div 2), Louth v Offaly (Div 3) and Wicklow v Sligo (Div 4).
Thankfully, most games did go ahead despite the inclement weather last week, and it was another good week for my selections with 9/13 landing.
As it takes centre stage, all live games this weekend are in the NHL.
Waterford travel to the Gaelic Grounds to take on Limerick at a re-scheduled time of 2pm on Sunday because of adverse weather conditions.
On Sunday, Galway host Tipperary at 2pm and this game will be televised live on TG4.
NHL Division 1A – Limerick v Waterford (Throw-in @ 2pm, on 16/02):
This is a top-of-the-table clash, with both of these teams picking up two wins from two games so far.
Limerick are the form team in the country at the moment and they certainly have the Indian sign over the Déise right now, too. They beat them twice last year, in the Munster Championship and in the League Final.
As well as John Kiely’s men are doing, they are far from being at full strength. This shows the depth in their squad. The likes of Kyle Hayes, Peter Casey and Shane Dowling have yet to feature in the league this year.
Liam Cahill will be very happy with how his new team has started the season. They had a narrow victory over Cork on the opening day and recorded a far more comfortable win away to Westmeath. However, away to Limerick will be a whole new kettle of fish.
Limerick’s performances against fellow All-Ireland contenders Tipperary and Galway were very impressive. I think they can get the job done with a few points to spare on Sunday afternoon.
Limerick v Galway Full-Time Highlights in Round 2 of the Allianz National Hurling League. Watch it here on GAANOW!
Galway: 0-14 pic.twitter.com/jTsUngS02X
— The GAA (@officialgaa) February 2, 2020
Verdict: Limerick -2 (Handicap Betting) @ 4/6
NHL Division 1A – Galway v Tipperary (Throw-in @ 2pm, live on TG4, on 16/02):
All-Ireland Champions Tipperary are winless after their opening two games so they will be keen to bring two points home from Galway on Sunday.
Liam Sheedy’s men face another huge task on Sunday afternoon when they travel up to Pearse Stadium to take on the Tribesmen.
I don’t feel that the League is a major priority for the Premier County this year, as I’m sure Liam Sheedy has retaining the Liam McCarthy as his side’s main focus. However, I have no doubt he would like to end their losing run this weekend.
New Galway manager Shane O’Neill is still trying to find his best team and their patchy performances so far this year have demonstrated that.
Galway are missing two big players from the forward-line this year – Johnny Glynn and Joe Cooney. These have been big ball-winners for the Tribesmen in the last few years and O’Neill will be hoping that some of his fringe players can make the step up this year.
I think that Tipp have the more settled team of the two at the moment so I fancy them to win what should be a very tight game.
Verdict: Tipperary @ 10/11
Westmeath v Cork Verdict: Cork -12 (Handicap Betting) @ 5/6 (Sun)
Laois v Cavan Verdict: Cavan @ 7/4 (Sun)
Louth v Offaly Verdict: Offaly @ Evens (Sun)
Wicklow v Sligo Verdict: Sligo @ 4/7 (Sun)