As the Westmeath GAA All County Football League Division One ebbs towards its early June conclusion, the trajectory of both senior clubs from Athlone appears to be progressing in opposite directions.
With a sole victory to date, that coming over bottom placed and winless Tyrrellspass, relegation seems to await Athlone. Having lost their initial three fixtures, the county’s most successful club at senior level, replaced manager Dobsey Prendergast, but the new management team at the helm - Emmett Collins, John Egan and James Kilroy, who are being assisted by Darren Magee, have tasted success on that one occasion and with games to come against The Downs in Pairc Chiarain and Shandonagh, it will take a cohesive and determined effort to avoid slipping into the second tier of league competition.
By contrast, town rivals, Garrycastle, who stuttered as the ball was thrown in at the start of this league campaign, losing their initial two fixtures, are now unbeaten in five games, and with winnable round robin contests against Mullingar Shamrocks and Tyrrellspass remaining, may annex a place in the league final which will feature the division’s top two teams.
Garrycastle hosted Athlone in a revised round two fixture and emerged with a ten point victory. League supremacy over their near neighbours for now, but surely a clser contest will ensue when the near neighbours meet in round four of the senior football championship during the summer months.
Under the managerial reign of Benny O’Brien, Rosemount are in prime position on top of division one, having suffered their only league loss at the weekend, losing by the minimum to Coralstown-Kinnegad.
The O’Growney Park team’s top of the table clash with Tang in the next round of league fixtures will possibly secure a final spot for the victorious team come the shrill of the final whistle on Sunday week.