Dublin v Cork, O' Toole Park, Crumlin, Saturday, 2.30pm
Cork will be aiming to get their campaign off to a winning start with a tricky away tie to Dublin. Louise O’Hara leads the Dublin team for the season and is one of the key performers in a youthful line-up. Cork, under the management of Paudie Murray, will look to key performers such as Anna Geary, Julia White and Rena Buckley. Cork’s overall strength and depth may prove too much for Dublin.
Galway v Wexford, Kenny Park, Athenry, Saturday, 2.30pm
All-Ireland champions Galway will be keen to lay down a championship marker on their home patch. Tony Ward has an injury-free panel but this year but is without the services of Therese Maher, who has retired. Lorraine Ryan captains the side while up front Brenda Hanney, Ailish O’Reilly and Clodagh McGrath are vital. Wexford looked hungry and sharp in their recent Leinster final win over Kilkenny. Kate Kelly and Ursula Jacob will lead the forward line while Mary Leacy is their defensive lynch-pin. Wexford may shade this one.
Derry v Clare, Celtic Park, Derry, Saturday, 1.45pm
Clare reached this year’s league final and will aim to build on that success. Under the management of Colm Honan, they have made steady progress and should get their campaign off to a winning start. Nikki Kaiser and Deirdre Murphy are vital players while for Derry much will depend on Karen Kielt, midfielder Sinead Cassidy and the McGoldrick sisters, Meabh and Grainne.
Kilkenny v Offaly, Nowlan Park, Saturday, 7pm
Kilkenny defeated Offaly in the recent Leinster championship and looked impressive in their league final win over Clare. Miriam Walsh at centre-forward and Aoife Neary are two key operators for Graham Dillon’s side. Offaly, under the management of Aidan Franks, face a tough opening assignment. Much will depend on Elaine Dermody up front and also Michaela Morkan.