Delaney to return?

The calculators and actuaries could be brought into action this weekend to make the final call on things in Division IA of the Allianz National Hurling League.

The calculators and actuaries could be brought into action this weekend to make the final call on things in Division IA of the Allianz National Hurling League.

Things are so tight among five of the six teams that small margins will decide matters before the places in the quarter-finals and relegation zone are decided by the results in the three matches on Sunday. Scoring differences will definitely come into the equation.

All-Ireland champions, Clare, are the only team without a care this weekend because they have gone through to the knock-out stages already. The Kilkenny/Waterford clash at Nowlan Park (2pm) should be a humdinger because everything is riding on the outcome for both sides.

“Everything is on the line,” insisted Kilkenny manager, Brian Cody after his side suffered their second League defeat, this time against Dublin in Parnell Park. “It is a big match against Waterford. It is the nature of the League so far. They have all been big games. They have all been tough. Wins have been hard earned.

“It will be the same this time.”

The Suirsiders travel to the ’Park after losing to Clare at the weekend. However, typical of this up-and-down League in which home teams have won virtually all games, they can point to a win over Dublin as one of their big results.

“Waterford are good,” warned Dublin boss, Anthony Daly. “They have a good way about them, and they are well organised.”

“Facing such pressure games can help the new guys find their way in the inter-county game,” Mr Cody insisted. “The players are all the time learning things. It will be a beneficial game for us.

“We are going for it, a win,” he insisted.

Kilkenny are the defending champions, is should be remembered. Last year they recovered after losing their opening two matches to win the title. The blooding of new players has been more pronounced this time, but expect a more conservative approach this weekend.

Don’t be surprised if the hugely experienced J.J. Delaney makes his first appearance of the season. Mr Cody hinted that the Fenians (Johnstown) man could be ready for a return.

If Delaney is selected, expect him at full-back with Brian Hogan at No. 6 as the Cats return to a more familiar looking shape. Survival is the name of the game!