Rebels take on Déise in opener
JIMMY BARRY-MURPHY’S Cork have been pencilled in to start their 2012 Allianz Hurling League Division 1A campaign at home to Waterford.
Cork are provisionally scheduled to take on Michael Ryan’s side on Sunday, February 26 followed by a trip to Dublin on Sunday, March 11 and the hosting of Galway on March 18.
It is anticipated the league will conclude with the visit of Kilkenny on March 25 and an away date with Tipperary on April 1.
Waterford face a difficult start to Division 1A with the opener away to Cork preceding All-Ireland champions Kilkenny (home) and then Tipperary (away).
In a repeat of this year’s final, Kilkenny and Tipperary are set to meet in round one at Nowlan Park on February 26.
Tipperary are in line to play Dublin on Saturday, March 24 with the game possibly forming part of the Allianz Spring Series at Croke Park.
[b]Meanwhile, Limerick and Clare are expected to open up Division 1B under lights at the Gaelic Grounds.
The game has been provisionally set for Saturday, February 25, although there is a possibility that the round one fixture could take place on the night before.
Speaking recently, GAA director general Paraic Duffy has not ruled out the possibility of Friday evening league games between neighbouring counties or those within the vicinity of one another.[/b]
Limerick are also shaping up to take on Offaly under lights on Saturday, March 24.
Next year’s Allianz Hurling League will start two weeks later than usual because of the smaller divisions — six teams next year as opposed to the previous eight.
Four of the five rounds in Division 1A and 1B are expected to take place on consecutive weekends in March and April.
Provisional 2012 Allianz Hurling League fixtures:
DIVISION 1A – February 26: Cork v Waterford, Galway v Dublin, Kilkenny v Tipperary;
March 11: Dublin v Cork, Tipperary v Galway, Waterford v Kilkenny
March 18: Cork v Galway, Kilkenny v Dublin, Tipperary v Waterford.
March 24: Dublin v Tipperary
March 25: Cork v Kilkenny, Galway v Waterford
April 1: Waterford v Dublin, Kilkenny v Galway, Tipperary v Cork.
DIVISION 1B – February 25: Limerick v Clare
February 26: Offaly v Laois, Antrim v Wexford
March 11: Clare v Antrim, Wexford v Offaly, Laois v Limerick
March 18: Offaly v Antrim, Wexford v Limerick, Laois v Clare.
March 24: Limerick v Offaly
March 25 Clare v Wexford, Antrim v Laois
April 1: Wexford v Laois, Offaly v Clare, Antrim v Limerick.