The Allianz Hurling League returned over the weekend with a full round of fixtures.
Here is how the matches unfolded from Division 1A to Division 3B.
Limerick commenced their league campaign with a 1-17 to 2-11 win over Wexford at Wexford Park.
The All-Ireland champions hit 14 wides, and nearly paid for it after a late Wexford comeback, which saw Conor McDonald hit the woodwork in the dying minutes for the home side.
Cathal Dunbar scored an early goal for Davy Fitzgerald’s hosts, before Aaron Gillane found the net for the visitors. Both Wexford full-back Liam Ryan and Limerick full-forward Seamus Flanagan were both sent off after just 27 minutes.
Jack O’Connor scored Wexford’s second goal, but a late surge wasn’t enough to prevent newly promoted Limerick from picking up a win on the road.
Reigning league champions Kilkenny made an excellent start to their title defence.
The Cats beat Cork 2-18 to 0-07 at Nowlan Park after a dominant second half showing.
Richie Leahy’s goal meant Kilkenny entered half time with a 1-08 to 0-11 lead, and Brian Cody’s men kicked on after the interval.
Billy Ryan scored their second goal as they pulled away from the Rebels.
Tipperary started their league campaign with a 2-16 to 1-11 win over Clare in Liam Sheedy’sfirst game in charge.
New captain Seamus Callanan – who missed an early penalty – plundered 2-07 against the Banner County, who were reduced to 14 after Tony Kelly’s red card early in the second half.
Check out the full-time highlights between Tipperary and Clare here! pic.twitter.com/welZMrIgbA
— The GAA (@officialgaa) January 26, 2019
Beaten All-Ireland finalists Galway made a winning start with a 1-27 to 2-15 win over Laois.
Joe Canning notched 10 points, and Davy Glennon hit the back of the net for the Tribesmen.
Micheál Donoghue’s team led by 14 points at one stage in the second half, but a Laois fightback narrowed the winning margin to nine at Pearse Stadium.
John Lennon scored a brace of goals for Laois.
— The GAA (@officialgaa) January 29, 2019
Dublin produced an impressive display in their 3-15 to 0-18 win over a resilient Carlow at Parnell Park.
Darragh O’Connell scored a fourth minute goal for Dublin, but a strong Carlow half saw the Dubs trailing by 0-11 to 1-06 at half time in the capital.
Substitute Donal Burke bagged 1-04 for the hosts in the second half, with Eamonn Dillon grabbing the county’s other goal.
Waterford demolished Offaly by 2-28 to 0-07 in Thurles, with Stephen Bennett contributing a colossal 0-16 for the Déise.
It took Offaly 17 minutes to register a score, but Waterford only led by seven ( 0-12 to 0-5) at the interval.
However, the home side soon asserted their dominance over the match, with DJ Foran and Jack Prendergast scoring their goals.
Westmeath picked up a comfortable 2-17 to 0-15 win over London in Mullingar.
Allen Mitchell and Niall Mitchell grabbed the goals for the hosts, who led by 11 at half time at Cusack Park.
London’s Conor Kennedy was also sent off in the closing stages.
Mayo and Meath drew 0-17 apiece in Ballina.
The Connacht county clawed back a three point deficit in the final 10 minutes to seal a share of the spoils.
Antrim started their league campaign with a 2-16 to 1-21 home loss to Kerry.
Kildare had six points to spare over Donegal in Letterkenny, beating the home side by 2-16 to 1-13.
Two Ulster counties clashed as Derry beat Down by 1-16 to 0-14 in Ballycran. Alan Grant’s goal for the hosts – the only goal of the game – proved crucial as Derry closed out the win.
Wicklow also came away from Birmingham with a comprehensive 2-21 to 0-12 win over Warwickshire.
Tyrone ran out as comfortable 2-17 to 0-10 winners over Lancashire in Abbottstown on Saturday.
Roscommon hammered Louth 3-18 to 1-12 in Dundalk, with Gearoid Egan (2) and Conor Mulry finding the back of the net for the visitors.
Sunday was a day to forget for Monaghan, who were thumped 4-11 to 0-05 by Armagh at home, with Dylan McKenna (2), Stevey Renaghan, and Eoin McGuinness scoring the away side’s goals.
Sligo won their first league encounter by the finest of margins, beating Fermanagh 2-14 to 1-16 on home soil.
Cavan also claimed a one point win, overcoming Leitrim by 2-09 to 1-11 in Ballyconnell.
David is the editor of The Season Ticket.
He is a qualified journalist, and a long-suffering Meath and Liverpool supporter.