GAA Editor @BrianGBarry
How quickly are Dublin progressing, and more GAA weekend talking points
Last Updated: 16/02/19 4:14pm
Ahead of the weekend's GAA action, we look at at the main talking points.
How quickly are Dublin progressing?
The biggest test of the Mattie Kenny era to date comes on Sunday afternoon, as Dublin travel to Galway. The Tribesmen will be eager to bounce back following their draw with Carlow, but there is no doubt that this is a bigger game for the visitors.
After three narrow losses last summer, the Sky Blues will be eager to deliver some results this spring ahead of the championship.
The Dubs have had a positive start to 2019, as the former Cuala supremo seemingly has an idea of his best 15. With the spine of the team settled, there is real competition for places in the forward line, with Donal Burke, Danny Sutcliffe , Oisin O'Rorke and Eamonn Dillon among those to impress thus far.
After victories over Carlow and Offaly, they are facing a step up in standard. Sunday provides the first real litmus test of 2019.
Can Cork get lift-off?
Cork host Clare on Saturday night, with the game taking place at Páirc Uí Rinn. While a league title was never top of the agenda for the Rebels facing into 2019, with young players being blooded into the side, they are the sole Division 1A team without any wins thus far in the campaign.
Add in the venue controversies. and John Meyler will want his side to avoid any pressure building when the Banner come to town on Saturday night.
Clare travel south with a spring in their step after their victory over Kilkenny, and Cork will need to significantly raise their game to dig out a result.
Will Limerick pass the latest test?
The reigning All-Ireland champions are going about their business just the right way. They encounter another significant test this weekend when they travel to Kilkenny.
John Kiely's young side have admirably dealt with expectations up to this point, but face a step up on Sunday afternoon.
There's nothing Brian Cody would like more than sending the All-Ireland champions home with their tails between their legs. The Cats will be gunning to bring down the Treaty, and playing Kilkenny in Nowlan Park remains one of the trickiest assignments in hurling.
Can Carlow maintain momentum?
Carlow were the story of round two of the Allianz Hurling League, as they held Galway at home. However, there's no time to stand back and admire their achievements, as their trip to Waterford is coming down the tracks.
The Déise have been utterly dominant thus far, and with Laois and Offaly facing off this weekend, Carlow will know that they are far from safe from the clutches of a relegation play-off just yet.
Carlow showed they are at home at this level in their opening two games, after leading Dublin at half-time and drawing with Galway, but Waterford's early-season form ensures Colm Bonnar's charges will need to take another step up.
Will there be a shock in the club football semi-finals?
Anything other than Corofin and Dr Crokes wins would represent a major shock this weekend.
It's odds-on that the 2017 and 2018 All-Ireland champions will face off in the decider, but there's nothing like club GAA to provide a shock.
Mullinalaghta have defied expectations up to this point, overcoming Kilmacud Crokes in the Leinster final. The Longford champions have earned the respect of the country so won't be underestimated by the Killarney outfit. Nonetheless, the manner in which the Kerry champions returned to the All-Ireland series would suggest they will be hard to stop.
Similarly, Gaoth Dobhair's historic Ulster title was an indication that they're right at home at this level, but most are predicting that Corofin will be too strong.