SATURDAY 26 MARCH
Allianz Hurling League Division 1 semi-final
Cork v Kilkenny, Pairc Ui Chaoimh, 7.15pm
Division 1 relegation play-off
Antrim v Offaly, Pairc Tailteann, 3pm
Division 2A semi-final
Westmeath v Kerry, TEG Cusack Park, 1pm
Division 2B semi-final
Donegal v Sligo, Letterkenny, 2pm
Division 2B relegation play-off
Mayo v Wicklow, Bord Na Mona O'Connor Park, 12.30pm
Division 3A semi-final
Roscommon v Armagh, Dr Hyde Park, 2pm
Division 3B semi-final
Longford v Leitrim, Glennon Brothers Pearse Park, 2.30pm
SUNDAY 27 MARCH
Division 1 semi-final
Wexford v Waterford, UPMC Nowlan Park, 3.45pm
Score updates or live blogs on all games on RTÉ Sport Online and the RTÉ News app.
Live updates and commentaries on Saturday Sport and Sunday Sport, RTÉ Radio 1
Cork v Kilkenny and Wexford v Waterford are live on TG4. Antrim v Offaly is live on TG4's YouTube channel.
Highlights of all the weekend's action on Allianz League Sunday, RTÉ2 and the RTÉ Player, from 9.30pm.
Saturday: It will be a dry day with sunny spells and a light easterly breeze. Highest temperatures of 13 to 17 degrees, coolest near southern and eastern coasts. Sunday: Mist and fog will clear from most areas on Sunday morning but may persist along parts of the north and east coast. It will be dry with sunny spells and light east to southeast or variable winds. Highest temperatures of 13 to 17 degrees. For more go to met.ie.
Once more unto the breach
So here we are then, at the characteristically convoluted and questionably needed last-four stage of Division 1.
Saturday night's first Division 1 semi-final is a rematch of last August's All-Ireland semi-final extra-time epic, which Cork eventually won.
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The prevailing wisdom is that the Rebels, without a league title since 1998, are hungry to frank their progress last season with silverware and they could afford to rest the likes of Mark Coleman, Tim O'Mahony, Ger Mellerick, Darragh Fitzgibbon and Patrick Horgan against Wexford as qualification had already been secured by wins in their first four games.
Though as the inimitable Brian Cody said before Kilkenny's win over Waterford last week: "Why would you not want to win? It always matters whether you want to win or lose. If it doesn't matter there is something wrong."
After winning back-to-back Leinster titles but twice falling at the All-Ireland semi-final stage, Cody has been looking over his options during the league campaign. David Blanchfield's emergence at wing-back has allowed the verstaile Padraig Walsh to take up a half-forward role that seems to suit a player of his shooting ability (0-15 from play).
TJ Reid could be back having spent the time since Ballyhale's All-Ireland club final defeat recovering from niggling groin and abdominal injuries.
Cork haven't been in the final since 2015 when they lost to Waterford. Kilkenny were joint winners with Galway last year but last played a final in 2018 when they beat Tipperary.
Dónal Óg Cusack's verdict: "Cork's running game, speed of foot and transfer has been impressive. And while Kilkenny will ask more questions of that style than anyone else has in this year’s league, I expect, in front of a huge home crowd, that Cork will prevail."
Sunday's second semi-final sees Wexford take on Waterford.
The Yellowbellies were the only Division 1 team to win every group match, an impressive showing in Darragh Egan's first year in charge.
Rory O'Connor has been in superb form (3-32, 3-16 from play) and a first league title since 1973 would boost confidence, especially in the absence of the injured Lee Chin (knee).
Egan's fellow Tipp man Liam Cahill is a bit further down the road with Waterford, widely considered to be the biggest threat to Limerick's All-Ireland crown this season.
But as Shane Dowling wonders, can they afford to give too much away so close to the start of the Munster championship?
Waterford have scarcely missed their All-Ireland-winning Ballygunner contingent, only losing against Kilkenny when already effectively through to the semi-finals, as Stephen Bennett bagged 6-40 (2-07 from play) across the five games.
They will be a different threat entirely with the likes of Pauric Mahony and Dessie Hutchinson back among the starters.
Dónal Óg Cusack's verdict: "With Tadhg de Búrca back pulling the strings at the heart of the Waterford defence and Mikey Kiely carrying the form from a fine Fitzgibbon Cup campaign into the full-forward line, Waterford look like the team here."
Another game with a lot on the line is the meeting of Joe McDonagh Cup contenders Antrim and Offaly in Saturday's Division 1 relegation play-off.
The Saffrons struggled to replicate their fine 2021 league form this campaign and lost all five group games, though only Tipperary (29) beat them by more than four points.
Offaly, who were promoted last year, lost their five games by an average of 16.6 points per match, the seven-point defeat to Wexford being their best result.
Antrim are trying to avoid relegation to Division 2 after two seasons in the top flight. Offaly were promoted last year. They last met in the Allianz League in 2020 when the Division 2A game finished level.
Antrim could be without veteran forward Neil McManus due to a hamstring injury.
Dónal Óg Cusack's verdict: "Relegation play-off days can be lonely and desperate. The two teams will fight to the death but Antrim, even though they might be without their talisman Neil McManus, should have enough experience to survive."
Down, who finished on eight points, await the winners of Division 2A semi-finalists Westmeath and Kerry, both of whom won three of their five games. Westmeath beat Kerry by six points in the opening round of this year's League.
Derry, who won all five games, are through to the Division 2B final. Donegal beat Sligo by two points when the semi-finalists met in round 2 this year.
Tyrone and Roscommon both finished on nine points in Division 3A. They drew their group game, leaving Tyrone to take top spot as they had a better scoring difference than Roscommon.
The Connacht men now take on third-placed Armagh (6pts) to decide who qualifies to play Tyrone in the final. Roscommon beat Armagh by a point in round 4.
Fermanagh (8pts) are through to the Division 3B final where they will play Longford (6pts) or Leitrim (4pts). Longford beat Leitrim by a point in Round 4.