Donegal’s greater fire-power proved the difference between the sides as John Joe Doherty’s men ran out easy seven point winners in Cusack Park on Sunday. Westmeath stormed out of the blocks racing into a 0-5 to no score lead after just 13 minutes. At this stage Brendan Hackett’s men were first to every ball and moving the ball well.
However, much to the dismay of the home support, that was as good as it got. Once Donegal got on the score sheet after 17 minutes they were not long in imposing themselves on proceedings.
Westmeath led by a single point at the break, 0-6 to 0-5. Considering Hackett’s men were without the services of Kieran Gavin and Francis Boyle, both of whom were named in the starting line-up, added to the host of retirements this year, Lake County supporters would have been pleasantly surprised at the opening half performance.
Unfortunately, Donegal captain Kevin Cassidy hit a rasper of a shot beyond the reach of Garry Connaughton, just after the break, and from then on things looked ominous for the home side. The forced withdrawal of Denis Glennon with a shoulder injury severely blunted the Lake County attack. Donegal began to find their range and hit a four unanswered points in the middle of the second half.
Denis Glennon was re-introduced late in the second half and managed to add a further point but it was a case of too little too late. Donegal finished strongly adding two injury time points and more importantly securing a brace of valuable league points.
On the plus side six or seven players made their league debuts on Sunday. John Gaffey, Tommy Warburton, Ger Egan, Paul Greville, Stephen Bracken and Gavin Hoey all tasted their first league action and will learn from the experience.
A major talking point is the lack of bite in attack at present. Denis Glennon aside, we need our forward division to become more clinical if we are to maintain our Division 2 status.
Westmeath v Armagh
Westmeath face a difficult task this Sunday as they travel in search of points to Crossmaglen. Armagh will be hurting, having lost their opening game to Meath by a point. Westmeath did defeat Armagh when the sides last met two years ago in Mullingar. However Crossmaglen is quite a fortress and Westmeath will be under no illusion as to the difficult challenge they face on Sunday.
A win on Sunday, unexpected as it might seem, is not impossible and could prove invaluable if we are to avoid relegation. A lot will depend on whether Brendan Hackett has a full hand to choose from. Kieran Gavin, Frank Boyle, and Denis Glennon are all carrying knocks but are expected to be available. With all on board Westmeath have, at the very least, a fighting chance.
Westmeath Championship draw 2010
The draw for this year’s championships in Westmeath took place last week in The Park Hotel Mullingar.
With 12 teams in the senior football championship, the draw is split into two groups of six. The top team in each group goes directly into the semi-final, with the second team in each group playing the third team in the opposite group in a quarter-final.
Killucan v Tubberclare, Athlone v St Loman’s, Maryland v Corralstown/Kinnegad.
This would certainly seem to be the easier of the two groups. While all teams will fancy their chances of emerging from the group, beaten county finalists St Loman’s will be tipped to top the group. Athlone and Kinnegad will be expected by many to also proceed to the knockout stages. Maryland made the knockout stages last year in their first year back in the senior ranks and will be looking to build on that this year. Newly promoted Tubberclare will be no pushover and will be hungry to maintain their senior status. They look well equipped to do so. Killucan too are well able to cause an upset when they hit form and cannot be written off completely.
Garrycastle v Tyrrellspass, Mullingar Shamrocks v St Malachy’s, Castledaly v The Downs.
This group can certainly be labelled ‘The group of death’ with five of the big guns of Westmeath football all thrown in together to fight it out. St Malachy’s would appear to be the odd one out and will be favourites for a relegation battle, but perhaps they’ll confound their critics.
The tie of the opening round is undoubtedly the meeting of Garrycastle and Tyrrellspass. Garrycastle will be expected to top the group. Tyrrellspass and Mullingar Shamrocks look the most likely to fill the remaining qualifier spots. Castledaly took a bit of a break last year having been crowned champions the year before and I wouldn’t be surprised to see them do well this year with their hunger back. The Downs struggled last year and will, at the very least, be hoping to avoid a relegation battle.
Overall an interesting championship lies in store. Dates have yet to be finalised but are expected to be announced shortly. The league gets under way this weekend with a full round of games spread over Friday and Saturday nights.
Caulry v Moate, Ballynacargy v Bunbrosna, Kilbeggan v Shandonagh.
Two very interesting opening ties as Caulry and Moate and Bal and Bun go head to head. Bunbrosna, Ballynacargy, and Caulry would be my fancies to emerge to the play-offs.
CFCW v Ballymore, St Mary’s v Rosemount and Tang v Ballinagore.
Tang, Ballinagore, and CFCW look most likely to emerge from the group.
St Fintan’s Multyfarnham v Loughnavalley, St Paul’s v Delvin, St Josephs v Milltown and Milltownpass v Ballycamoyle.
The hurling draws will be posted here next week.
Roscommon football round-up
Cavan 2 -20
This is a game that will be talked about for many a year to come, though not necessarily for the right reasons. Despite The Rossies having enjoyed a five point lead at one stage in the opening period, the sides entered the break on level terms, 1-6 to 0-9.
At that stage nobody present could have foreseen what was about to unfold in the second period. Cavan took complete control of proceedings as the Roscommon challenge dissipated completely.The Cavan men outscored the home side by 2-11 to 0-4 in the second half.
Such a beating does nothing for confidence in the camp. Yet in senior football there is no room for self pity, and Roscommon must travel to Brewster Park in Eniskillen this Sunday where Fermanagh await.
Fermanagh lost their opening game to Offaly. Home advantage will be a plus for them. Roscommon are bound to be embarrassed by their second half performance last weekend. The best way to get over such a display is to go out and win the next game. Expect a Roscommon backlash.