Home Rule gives Clare and Kilkenny vital edge
MARTIN BREHENY – PUBLISHED 20 MARCH 2014 02:30 AM
If home advantage maintains its remarkable level of influence in Division 1A of the Allianz Hurling League, next Sunday’s final round will leave Clare and Kilkenny filling the top two places, with Galway, Dublin, Waterford and Tipperary having their fate decided on scoring difference
Unusually,11 of the 12 games in the first four rounds produced home wins, with Clare’s success over Tipperary in Thurles the only away victory. In contrast, four of the 12 games in 1B have been away wins while there have been two draws and six home victories.
The 92pc home success rate in 1A will certainly encourage Kilkenny, Clare and Tipperary, who host Waterford, Galway and Dublinrespectively.
Clare have already qualified for the quarter-finals but need a point against Galway to ensure that they top the group. Davy Fitzgerald’s high-achievers are the only guaranteed quarter-finalists from 1A, while the four slots from 1B will be filled by Cork, Limerick, Wexford and Laois. Placings in 1B will be decided by Sunday’s final round.
There’s certain to be several twists and turns during the three games in 1A, where Clare have six points, followed by Galway, Kilkenny, Dublin and Waterford on four points, leaving Tipperary at the bottom on two points.
Eamon O’Shea’s men also have the worst scoring difference (-13 points). It means they have to win by a minimum of four points to move ahead of Dublin who are on -7.
As well as being two points clear at the top, Clare also have the highest scoring difference (+15), followed by Galway (+7) and Kilkenny (+5). Dublin and Waterford are tied on -7 reach.