A Leinster Senior League local derby is the highlight of the local football scene this weekend as Willow Park entertain Mullingar Athletic at DPD Park on Friday night (kick off 8pm ).
Under the guidance of management duo Declan Holohan and David McGuinness, Willow Park have started their Senior Division 1B league campaign in impressive style and presently top the table with four wins from their initial five outings.
The squad’s blend of experience and youth has formed the basis for this positive start with Willow Park stalwarts Garry McHugh, Benny McGuinness and Mark Nicholson interacting knowledgeably on the playing field with those that have advanced to play at senior level from the club’s successful youth teams.
The addition of Ryan Gaffey has added fresh impetus on the left wing, while Kevin Murray is in goalscoring form since the league campaign commenced. Claudio de Silva has also impressed as the season enters full flow mode.
Although exiting the Metropolitan Cup in the club’s most recent fixture was not ideal, Willow Park will be hopeful of a swift return to winning ways, but will find a challenging ninety minutes awaits against Mullingar Athletic who presently occupy fifth spot on the league table.
Ironically, Dublin University, the team who ended Willow Park’s cup campaign, will provide the opposition in the second round of the FAI Intermediate Cup, an away fixture, with the contest due to take place on or prior to October 21.
Meanwhile, Willow Park’s second team are continuing in the same vein as their Leinster Senior League counterparts as they too top their respective league table - the CCFL Senior Division, with four wins from their opening six games.
Last year’s league winners, Monksland United, now under the guidance of former St. Peter’s manager Philip Coffey, are just three points of the ultimate place with a game in hand and will be hoping to rein in that margin as the season progresses with aspirations to keep the title on the west side of Athlone the obvious goal.