Antrim hurlers face Offaly in crucial Division 2A Hurling League match

Antrim's Ryan McCambridge plucks a high ball out of the sky in the 2015 league contest against Offaly
Antrim beat Offaly last summer but the Midlanders defeated the Saffrons in the recent Kehoe Cup final

Antrim hurlers face Offaly on Sunday in a match likely to prove crucial to their promotion hopes in Division 2A.

The Saffrons go into the Tullamore game on a maximum four points after beating probably the weakest sides in the division, Wicklow and Mayo.

Offaly are on two points after a narrow opening win over Meath was followed by a three-point defeat in Kerry.

Realistically, the four-time All-Ireland champions will have to win to keep their promotion hopes alive.

The recent form guide suggests a close contest at O'Connor Park.

Antrim defeated the Midlanders 3-23 to 4-18 in a thrilling Joe McDonagh Cup contest last summer which contributed to Offaly's ignominious slide into this season's third-tier Christy Ring Cup.

However, last month Offaly earned a 1-16 to 1-15 victory over the Saffrons in the Kehoe Cup final.

But Antrim appear to have gained a bit of momentum since then.

In addition to their 0-20 to 0-11 away win in Wicklow and thumping 4-17 to 0-9 home success over Mayo, the Saffrons also drew with All-Ireland champions Tipperary in a challenge game in Belfast last weekend.

That form suggests Antrim should go into the Tullamore contest in the better frame of mind.

However, Offaly are at the point of no return in terms of them arresting the decline which has accelerated over the past 12 months so it may not be easy for Darren Gleason's Saffrons.

ALLIANZ HURLING LEAGUE FIXTURES

Saturday

Division 1 Group A
LimerickvWaterfordGaelic Grounds, 19:00 GMT
Division 1 Group B
CarlowvDublinCullen Park, 17:00
Division 2A
MeathvKerryTrim, 14:00
Division 2B
DownvWarwickshireBallycran, 12.30
Division 3B
LeitrimvCavanBelturbet, 14:00

Sunday - 14:00 GMT unless stated

Division 1 Group A
WestmeathvCorkMullingar
GalwayvTipperarySalthill
Division 1 Group B
ClarevLaoisEnnis
WexfordvKilkennyWexford
Division 2A
MayovWicklowCastlebar, 13:00
OffalyvAntrimTullamore
Division 2B
RoscommonvLondonDr Hyde Park, 13:00
DerryvKildareOwenbeg
Division 3A
LongfordvArmaghPearse Park
LouthvDonegalDarver
MonaghanvTyroneCastleblayney
Division 3B
FermanaghvSligoEnniskillen