Caley Maher profiles all six teams in this season’s Allianz Hurling League Division 1B
Manager: TJ Ryan (3rd season)
Key men: Declan Hannon, Shane Dowling, Gavin O’Mahony, Seamus Hickey
2015 league: A second place finish for them with three wins, one loss and one draw so missed out on promotion again. Badly beaten by Dublin in league quarter-final in Croke Park
2015 Championship: Beat Clare and lost to Tipperary in Munster SHC. Beat Westmeath in the Qualifiers but were then knocked out by Dublin
2016 Championship: Play winners of Tipperary and Cork in Munster SHC semi final on June 19
Prediction: After finishing second to Waterford in last year’s league, they will be keen not to have slip-ups like the upset against Offaly. TJ Ryan will be hoping that the introduction of 18 new faces to his panel will rejuvenate things and get them over the line this year.
Promotion Odds: 7/4
Manager: David Fitzgerald (5th season)
Key Men: David McInerney, Colm Galvin, Conor Ryan
2015 League: Found themselves in a relegation battle with Kilkenny after finishing last with only two points in Division 1A so back in the dreaded 1B this time round
2015 Championship: Lost to Limerick in Munster SHC quarter-final. Beat Offaly the first day out in the Qualifiers but knocked out by Cork
2016 Championship: Play Waterford in the Munster SHC Semi final on June 5
Prediction: After a more than disappointing 2015 campaign all round, Davy Fitzgerald and his men will be determined to bring back the form of the 2013 campaign. The introduction of Donal Óg Cusack and Jimmy Payne will be a great addition to the banner this season.
Promotion Odds: 10/11
Manager: Liam Dunne (5th season)
Key Men: Harry Kehoe, Lee Chin, Mathew O’Hanlon (Capt), Conor McDonald
2015 League: A mid table finish with three wins and two losses before losing to Cork in the league quarter-final
2015 Championship: Lost to Kilkenny in Leinster SHC Semi final. Lost to Cork in All Ireland SHC Qualifiers.
2016 Championship: Play Dublin in Leinster SHC Quarter Final on May 29.
Prediction: With their U-21s being a dominant force in recent years, the Wexford management will be hoping to bring this form to senior level in 2016. They will need midfielder Harry Kehoe to continue with his rich vein of form of late to urge on the rest of his team mates.
Promotion Odds: 4/1
Manager: Eamon Kelly (1st season)
Key Men: Shane Dooley, James Mulrooney
2015 League: Avoided a relegation battle by winning three and losing two of their games. Beaten by Tipperary in the league quarter-final
2015 Championship: Lost to Laois in Leinster SHC Quarter final and were then knocked out by Clare in the Qualifiers
2016 Championship: Play Westmeath in Round 1 of the Leinster SHC in Mullingar on the May 1.
Prediction: After finishing level on points with Wexford in this division last year, they would love to do one better this time. However they will struggle against the group’s favourites, Limerick and Clare.
Promotion Odds: 20/1
Manager: Ciaran Carey (1st season)
Key Men: Shane Nolan, Philip Lucid, Daniel Collins
2015 League: Winners of the Division 2A league final and then beat Antrim in the playoff to be promoted
2015 Championship: Defeated Derry in the Christy Ring Cup final to earn promotion to the Liam MaCarthy in the 2016, where they’ll jump province to join the round robin stage of the Leinster championship
2016 Championship: Play Carlow in the first round of the Leinster SHC on the 1st of May
Prediction: After 2015 being an excellent year for Kerry hurling, the Kingdom will be keen to see how they fair out against better opposition. Limerick begend Carey being at the helm this year will surely be a boost for them but they will have it all to do.
Promotion Odds: 150/1
Manager: Seamus ‘Cheddar’ Plunkett (4th season)
Key Men: Willie Hyland, PJ Scully, Matthew Whelan (Capt)
2015 League: Finished in a relegation battle with Antrim after only one win and four defeats. Won that game to stay up.
2015 Championship: Defeated by Antrim in the first round of the Leinster SHC but bounced back to come through the Round Robin stage and then beat Offaly in the Leinster quarter-final. Beaten by Galway in the Leinster semi-final and by Dublin in the first round of the All Ireland SHC Qualifiers
2016 Championship: Play the runner-up of the qualifier group in Leinster SHC quarter final
Prediction: The news of numerous retirements and players who cannot commit due to work will be a blow but, as Plunkett said himself, it will give younger players a chance to prove their worth. Have Kerry first up and then Offaly. Win the first one and they’ll stay up, win the second and they’ll reach the quarter-finals
Promotion Odds: 25/1