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Saturday 21 October 2017

MATCH CENTRE

TODAY

ALLIANZ NHL

DIVISION 1 QUARTER-FINALS

Dublin v Limerick

Croke Park, 5.0, (Live Setanta)

Limerick's Killmallock contingent are back and available for the first time this year, just 10 days on from their All-Ireland club loss to Ballyhale Shamrocks on St Patrick's Day - though Paudie O'Brien and Graeme Mulcahy are the only two to make the starting alignment.

Shane Dowling returns from suspension while Wayne McNamara, Seamus Hickey and Tom Condon are back from injury.

In fact, Kevin Downes is TJ Ryan's only absentee.

Enough of Ger Cunningham's changes worked last weekend that the likes of Ryan O'Dwyer and Niall McMorrow should get another big chance to prove their long-term worth to the Dublin starting XV.

ODDS: Dublin 5/6, Draw 9/1, Limerick 5/4

VERDICT: Dublin

TOMORROW

Offaly v Tipperary

O'Connor Park, 3.0.

"I wouldn't rule us out yet," said Eamonn O'Shea wryly in Parnell Park after his team's 12-point defeat to Dublin on the League's opening night.

Four wins later and not only are they the form team in the country, they've joined Kilkenny in the betting for this year's All-Ireland.

His team are dripping with attacking options, with O'Shea's biggest selection decision currently which style of hugely prolific forward to pick.

Offaly finished their Division 1B campaign with away victories over Limerick and Antrim but this, even at home, is a series of bridges too far.

ODDS: Offaly 8/1, Draw 20/1, Tipperary 1/16

VERDICT: Tipperary

Cork v Wexford

Páirc Uí Rinn, 4.0.

Alan Cadogan and Mark Ellis are out for a Cork team still probably seeing stars from the number Tipperary did on them last week in front of their own people.

A dozen points ahead with 17 minutes to go, Cork squandered all they had earned. The result may have been largely academic, but the nature it was chastising.

Two defeats in their last two Division 1B games scuppered Wexford's chances of promotion but they proved themselves capable last summer of occasionally taking on and beating the big boys and they'll get as much, if not more, in the short term out of putting it up to Cork than they would by going up.

ODDS: Cork 3/10, Draw 12/1, Wexford 3/1

VERDICT: Cork

Waterford v Galway

Walsh Park, 4.0 (TG4 deferred)

Waterford continued that now three-year old tradition of springing straight back up to Division 1A the season after relegation.

Galway lacked the same motivation as Dublin in Parnell Park last week but the elements were there and they should finish this League strongly.

ODDS: Waterford 4/5, Draw 9/1, Galway 13/10

VERDICT: Galway

DIVISION 1A RELEGATION PLAY-OFF

Kilkenny v Clare

Nowlan Park, 2.0 (Live TG4)

Brian Cody and Davy Fitzgerald have, for two managers at the apex of their craft and with reputations for fiery sideline presences, always gotten on pretty well.

This should test that particular arrangement.

Fitzgerald screamed at his players as they gathered in their huddle in the middle of Nowlan Park last week that they would be back and would win but the signs aren't great.

Brendan Bugler is out, his appeal against a two match-ban refused.

The King is gone but the other half dozen or so Ballyhale Shamrocks players will return in some guise and it's just simply incomprehensible that Kilkenny would drop to Division 1B by virtue of being beaten at home.

ODDS: Kilkenny 1/3, Draw 11/1, Clare 11/4

VERDICT: Kilkenny

MATCH CENTRE

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