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Westmeath manager Michael Ryan admitted his side were “devastated” not to cause an All Ireland hurling qualifier shock against Limerick at Cusack Park on Saturday evening.
Mayo have been drawn to play Fermanagh on July 9 in their first qualifier appearance since 2010. It does pose the toughest draw they could have got however home advantage should make them overwhelming favourites. Fermanagh have two seriously good forwards in Tomas Corrigan and Sean Quigley, and their midfielder and captain Eoin Donnelly is an inspirational player for his county but we are dealing with a seasoned Mayo team who should be more than capable of dealing with their threat, Naturally Fermanagh folk are gutted as an away trip to Mayo was the last thing they wanted. It really was the nightmare draw for the Ernesiders. Incidentally Mayo are priced at 1/12 to prevail while you can get 7/1 on Fermanagh. I’m mystified at such short odds on Mayo.
Encouraged by a satisfactory Championship campaign, Westmeath footballers will be keen to develop further in 2016.
Sunday’s Westmeath Senior Football Championship final promises to be an interesting encounter, as a rapidly improving Castledaly seek to take St Loman’s scalp at Cusack Park.
Joe Canning v Joey Holden
As Mayo people, it really does not seem to bother us right now because we most definitely dine at the top table in terms of Gaelic football. Not only have the Mayo team won five Nestor cups in a row but more impressively they have qualified for the All-Ireland semi-final five years in a row, beating Donegal twice, Cork twice, and Down in those quarter finals. Two of them, victories against Cork in 2011 and Donegal in 2013, were when they were All Ireland champions.
Mayo qualified for a mouth-watering All-Ireland semi final with Dublin after an emphatic and clinical display against Donegal in the quarter final. I’m not going to lie, I was worried about this one, and I wasn’t sure how Mayo would cope against a team with 14 or 15 players constantly behind the ball. It’s very easy to get the life sucked out you playing against such tactics; in this regard Mayo were superb.
Mayo got over their heartbreaking loss to Galway in the Connacht final with a 24 point win over Tyrone in their qualifier game a few weeks ago, while Mayo were totally dominant in that game, the return to action of Claire Egan after missing the whole league campaign and the championship up to that was one of the most pleasing things for Mayo manager Frank Browne.