The Shay Murtagh Precast Westmeath senior football championship threw in at the weekend with notable victories for both Athlone and Garrycastle in their respective groups.
Played before a sparsely attended Cusack Park, Athlone, aiming to claim senior championship silverware for the first time in twenty years, saw off the challenge of 2017 semi-finalists Coralstown/Kinnegad in their opening Group 1 contest.
A whirlwind start, during which Athlone netted two goals (Darren Magee and Danny Reid raising green flags ) inside the opening two minutes, was the perfect filip and were scoring blows from which Coralstown/Kinnegad could not recover. A third goal, courtesy of Jack Quinn had the winners nine points ahead at the interval, the same margin at which victory was achieved come the shrill of the final whistle.
Reigning champions St. Lomans await on the horizon for Athlone in the next round of fixtures and are certain to provide a stern test of the Shannonsider’s title aspirations.
Garrycastle open with a victory
Town neighbours, Garrycastle, also managed to annex a win in their initial Group 2 fixture. Aiming for a swift return to Group 1 of the senior football championship and a place in the knockout stages, Gary Dolan’s charges defeated last year’s intermediate champions St. Mary’s Rochfortbridge by three points, controlling the game for the majority at Hogan Park, Moate on Saturday evening.
An Alex Gardiner goal set the tone early in the first half and allowed Garrycastle enjoy a six point interval lead. Although whittled down to a mere three points at the game’s conclusion, it was a deserved success for the Athlone based team and with Mullingar Shamrocks providing the opposition in a fortnight, success here will leave Garrycastle in a strong position as the round robin fixtures progress.