Reigning champions St. Lomans had to allow for extra reserves as they saw off the stern challenge provided by Athlone in Hogan Park, Moate on Sunday evening. Reduced to 14 players midway through the second half, Luke Dempsey's charges could have succumbed to intense Athlone pressure at this time and when Ryan Gaffey pointed to put the Shannonsiders in front, it seemed that St. Lomans were facing a rare Westmeath senior football championship loss.
However, they game managed from here on and with Ken Casey to the fore kicking crucial points, they turned a one point deficit into a four point lead. A late scoring flourish from Athlone reduced the gap to a mere two points but the shrill of the final whistle ensured that the four in a row aspirants garnered their second win from this year's Group 1 round robin fixtures.
The Downs produced a strong second half display to beat Killucan by 2-15 to 0-8. Following a tight opening period The Downs led by 0-7 to 0-4 at the interval before eventually pulling clear. Adam Loughlin and Niall Mitchell were instrumental for The Downs, who will face Coralstown-Kinnegad on August 17 in their next outing.
Despite a six point contribution from Ger Leech, Coralstown-Kinnegad were defeated 1-19 to 0-12 by Tyrrellspass, who have won their opening two encounters.
Garrycastle maintained their impressive start with a narrow 1-13 to 2-8 win over Mullingar Shamrocks on Saturday evening in Rosemount. An action packed finish culminated with Garrycastle goalkeeper Shane Moran making a dramatic penalty save from Killian Daly. Moran had also been called into action on several occasions during the match, but Garrycastle responded following the concession of an early goal to lead 1-7 to 1-5 at half-time. Jordan Warde rattled the Garrycastle net, and Shamrocks, with Denis Corroon impressing continued to battle. James Sheeran supplied an important goal, while the accuracy of Alex Gardiner and Ger Heneghan was critical in attack. Cathal Mannion, Jason Nugent, Michael Monaghan, and Sheeran all contributed scores for Garrycastle, who came thundering back in the closing stages. The impressive Warde had notched a second goal for Shamrocks, who led 2-7 to 1-8, but Garrycastle found the necessary answers in the last quarter.
Kevin Stone, Paddy Holloway, and MJ Kelly were heavily involved for Castledaly, who drew with Rosemount, 1-12 to 2-9. Stone struck a late levelling goal for Castledaly, who subsequently led before Sean Pettit nailed a point to earn Rosemount a draw.
Callum McCormack's injury scarcely aided Maryland's cause as they lost 2-18 to 1-12 against St Mary's on Friday. McCormack was forced off in the 17th minute, but Maryland were unable to build on an encouraging start. Kieran Martin netted a consolation goal for Maryland, who had trailed by nine points at the break.
It was another disappointing Championship outing at Croke Park for Roscommon, who suffered a 4-24 to 2-16 All Ireland quarter final Group Phase loss against Dublin. Summer losses to Galway, Tyrone, Donegal, and Dublin have been a blow for Roscommon, who did register wins over Leitrim and Armagh. At GAA headquarters, though, Roscommon have suffered with Tyrone and Dublin both registering emphatic successes.
From an early stage it was apparent that Dublin with Eoghan O'Gara and Cormac Costello in splendid form would prove too strong for Roscommon. O'Gara struck 2-2, while Costello notched nine points with Paul Flynn and Michael Darragh MacAuley also rattled the Roscommon net.
At the opposite end Diarmuid Murtagh showed glimpses of his ability clipping six points, while Donie Smith and Gary Patterson added goals. With Roscommon opting to make several changes in an effort to afford players a Championship opportunity, the primrose and blue can reflect upon a campaign where strides were made but no doubt, Kevin McStay and his management team will need to refocus and address where improvements are necessary if they are to progress even further next year.
Westmeath Ladies exit championship
Westmeath Ladies suffered an 8-18 to 1-6 All Ireland quarter final loss against Cork on Monday. Cork led by 3-5 to 0-3 at the interval with Westmeath under severe pressure from an early stage. Westmeath manager Stephen Maxwell acknowledged Cork's brilliance following the game.
"Over the last 12 years Cork have been the best team in the country and they are probably back to their best now," Maxwell reflected. "Dublin had the All-Ireland win last year, but Cork are absolutely flying it, and I don’t envy Donegal trying to do what we had to do."