Westmeath SFC enters crucial group phase stage

Another crucial weekend in the Westmeath SFC awaits with six interesting matches scheduled. Group 1 table toppers St Lomans and Tyrrellspass collide in an eagerly anticipated encounter on Saturday evening, while the first part of that double header promises to be interesting too.

Athlone and The Downs both crave a place in the knockout stages of the competition so that fixture is loaded with significance. Killucan and Coralstown-Kinnegad collide on Friday evening with both clubs eager to post their first victory of the 2018 Championship.

Lomans and Tyrrellspass, though, haven’t had too much difficulty thus far reeling off three victories on the spin in impressive fashion. John Heslin’s recent return from injury has bolstered Lomans, who remain the team to beat, but Tyrrellspass have performed adequately since July. Tyrrellspass have defeated Killucan, Coralstown-Kinnegad and Athlone so they won’t be short on confidence entering this game.

Athlone lost to Tyrrellspass by one point and Lomans by two, but they are completely aware that the full complement of spoils need to be gleaned against The Downs. That is a demanding task, though, because The Downs have won two out of their three encounters. The Downs eventually shrugged off Corlastown-Kinnegad’s resistance to emerge 1-9 to 0-10 winners on August 17 and they will be primed for the Athlone battle.

Garrycastle sit on top of the pile in Group 2, but the tussle with Rosemount on Sunday should be revealing. While Garrycastle have maximum points, Rosemount have won two and drawn one of their three clashes so they will be eager to maintain their fine form too.

Mullingar Shamrocks were disappointed to be beaten by Garrycastle, but that result was sandwiched either side of triumphs over Castledaly and Maryland, who meet themselves on Saturday.

Cooney to be ratified as Westmeath senior football manager

Jack Cooney is set to become the Westmeath senior football manager. The highly rated Cooney will be put forward for ratification at a County Board meeting on September 12. Brian Murtagh was the last Westmeath native to take charge of the midlanders in 1992. A Westmeath selector under Paidi O Se in 2004, Cooney also served in a similar role with Donegal in 2015. Cooney managed Rhode and Corlastown-Kinnegad and Westmeath GAA Chairman Billy Foley is excited about the appointment. “I am delighted that the selection committee have chosen Jack as our next football manager,” Foley says. “We hope all clubs will get behind us now in selecting our first native manager in many years. “We had a fantastic committee and I believe they have done a super job with their combined experience in selecting the right man to lead Westmeath Footballers in the 2019 season.”

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