ONLINE

Live blog on RTÉ Sport Online and the RTÉ News app.

RADIO

Live commentaries on RTÉ Radio 1's Saturday and Sunday Sport.

Saturday

Division 1

1400 Westmeath v Galway, live on TG4

1530 Dublin v Kilkenny, live on Eir

1730 Limerick v Tipperary, live on RTÉ2 and Eir

Sunday

Division 1

1345 Wexford v Laois, live on TG4

1545 Cork v Waterford, live on TG4

A round-up of all the weekend's fixtures on Allianz League Sunday at 9.30pm

OTHER FIXTURES

Sunday

Division 2A

1300 Kerry v Down

1400 Meath v Offaly

1400 Carlow v Wicklow

Division 2B

1400 Donegal v Roscommon

1500 Mayo v Derry

WEATHER

Saturday will see sunny spells with scattered showers, particularly in the southwest, with highest temperatures of 14 to 18 degrees in moderate to occasionally fresh southwesterly breezes.

Sunday promises to be blustery day with widespread showers turning heavy at times, particularly over the western half of the country, with the risk of hail. Highest temperatures of 13 to 15 degrees, with moderate to fresh southerly winds.


And so we are back into competitive hurling action.

One hundred and forty-seven days after Limerick raised aloft Liam MacCarthy in Croke Park, the first round of the new-look league begins, with the Treaty men the main attraction when they host neighbours Tipperary at the Gaelic Grounds.

The 90th staging of a league season has an unusual feel to it. Teams have had little collective training time, even allowing for those that breached protocols, and early season competitions have bitten the dust as society finally gets to grips with Covid-19.

Will the players be ring rusty from such a lay-off, or rejuvenated given the absence of the early season slog?

All-Star corner back Sean Finn said he hadn't picked up a hurley until last month following Limerick's All-Ireland success, which is the tune many of the elite players have been humming, publicly at least, stating the benefits of a proper break.

What we do know is that there will be five consecutive weeks of league action, no finals - if the top teams in the two divisions end up meeting in championship it will double up as the league decider – and just a week's break before the start of championship.

Given the close proximity of the provincial campaigns, Tipperary’s Shane McGrath has suggested it could be the least important league campaign in living memory.

Dónal Óg Cusack disagrees however, taking the view that there are a lot of questions for each of the teams that need answers, while the new playing rules will also get their first run out.

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Head of national referees Donal Smyth said earlier this week that in-house games with referees had highlighted how many of the players are unfamiliar with some of the new rules governing the game.

"With the goalscoring rule particularly some players didn’t realise the consequences," he said.

Fans won’t be permitted to attend games, but there is plenty of coverage across all platforms. Five games over the weekend will be televised, while all 1A and 1B games are available throughout the League on GAAGO.

Counties in Division 2 and 3 have permission to stream their own games.

The standout fixture will see All-Ireland champions Limerick begin their bid for three league titles on the trot when they welcome Tipperary to the Gaelic Grounds.

The Treaty men have nine survivors from the team that started the All-Ireland final victory over Waterford six months ago, with Dan Morrissey, Declan Hannon, Graeme Mulcahy and Aaron Gillane all absent, while reigning Hurler of the Year Gearoid Morrissey and 2017 winner Cian Lynch are among the substitutes.

Liam Sheedy’s side will look more to the likes of Paddy Cadell, Robert Byrne and Jake Morris over the next five weeks to build up more experience to complement the old reliables.

Division 1A very much has a Munster vibe to it – only Clare are pitched in 1B – with outliers Galway and Westmeath clashing in Mullingar.

The Tribesmen have handed starts to Jack Fitzpatrick, Shane Cooney and Jarlath Mannion, with Joe Canning, who was hospitalised with concussion in the All-Ireland semi-final defeat to Limerick back in November, sidelined despite manager Shane O’Neill saying the Portumna man was "flying" in training.

The meeting of Cork and Waterford could give the earliest indications of where both teams stand in 2021.

With Anthony Nash retired and Conor Lehane, Aidan Walsh and Christopher Joyce no longer part of the panel, Kieran Kingston will be hoping players such as Sean O'Leary Hayes (pictured above), Daire Connery, Shane Barrett and Brian Turnbull will push the Rebels on, while the Deise for their part must go about proving that an All-Ireland final appearance was no flash in the pan after a few years of struggle.

In 1B, Davy Fitzgerald’s final year in charge of Wexford begins at home to a Laois side with Cheddar Plunkett back at the helm.

Brian Lohan will be seeking to put a winter of discontent for Clare GAA off the pitch to the background when the Banner make the long journey to Belfast to take on Darren Gleeson’s Antrim.

The competitive return of John Conlon, who missed last year’s championship through injury, is a huge fillip, though the Clonlara man will don the number six jersey at Corrigan Park, while Harty Cup winning joint captain of St Flannan’s College, Cian Galvin, and Broadford’s Paddy Donnellan will make their debuts at midfield and corner back respectively.

The opening game of the group sees Dublin entertain Kilkenny at Parnell Park, where the sides will do well to match the seesaw nature of their last clash, the Leinster semi-final in November.

A 3-13 to 0-07 interval lead for the Cats looked to have ended the game as a contest, but the Dubs rallied, with Huw Lawlor’s 74th-minute point the winning score of the game. Dublin’s subsequent feeble display to Cork in the qualifiers means Mattie Kenny’s side have questions to answer with regards to their credentials.

The Cats claimed provincial honours against the odds against Galway, but their surrender to Waterford in the All-Ireland semi-final has people again wondering whether Brian Cody can possibly raise a gallop for yet another Liam MacCarthy bid.

Watch coverage of the Allianz Hurling League clash between Limerick and Tipperary on Saturday GAA Live on RTÉ2 and RTÉ Player from 5pm

Watch a round-up of all the weekends fixtures on Allianz League Sunday (9.30pm)