The Westmeath football club championship throws in this weekend with a host of competitive fixtures at senior, intermediate and junior levels, taking place at GAA grounds throughout the county.
As excitement levels begin to build amongst local clubs ahead of the football championship's start, both Athlone and Garrycastle will aspire to commence their respective campaigns as they form an attractive double bill of senior fixtures in Hogan Park, Moate, on Saturday evening.
Fresh from their rout of Rosemount in the division one league final on Friday, where a fourteen point win saw a consecutive title annexed, Garrycastle are suitably primed for their contest with reigning county champions, Mullingar Shamrocks.
Under the managerial guidance of Gary Dolan and John Keane, the green and red clad club had a slow start to their competite season but have gradually gained playing momentum and will prove a stiff test for the holders in the second fixture to take place in Moate on Saturday evening (throw in, 7.30pm ).
The county's most successful senior championship club, Athlone, open proceedings in Hogan Park with a 6pm throw in against Tyrrellspass. Both teams endured loss laden league campaigns, with relegation from the top division the end result for the two clubs.
With wins proving elusive, Athlone will be determined to commence their championship campaign with a much needed victory to instill confidence ahead of what will be a closely contested Group One of the senior football championship.
The absence of Tyrrellspass talisman, Ger Egan, may tip the game towards Athlone's favour, but the Pairc Chiaráin club, will need to stay concentrated and disciplined for the duration to ensure a positive start and momentum prior to their second fixture against Mullingar Shamrocks, a midweek contest, on Wednesday, July 24.
Rosemount and Castledaly will compete for Group Two supremacy and a place in the knockout phase of the senior championship, with the defeated division one league finalists facing St. Mary's Rochfortbridge in Cusack Park, Mullingar, on Sunday evening at 7.30pm.
Castledaly, senior football champions in 2008, who played a highly entertaining draw against Milltown in the division two league final this past weekend, start their campaign against Shandonagh on Saturday evening, with Cusack Park also being the venue for a 6pm throw in.