A stirring and character laden second half performance, the result of which saw the retrieval and overcoming of an eight point half time deficit, ensured Garrycastle departed Cusack Park, Mullingar, as Westmeath senior football county champions on Sunday afternoon.
A victory which seemed extremely unlikely come the shrill of the interval whistle, Garrycastle under the dual management of Gary Dolan and John Keane, summoned up such a cohesive second half display which overpowered St. Lomans, leading to several playing turnovers and an offensive thirty minutes which yielded scores of the highest calibre.
Failing to attain early rhythm, St. Loman’s made a whirlwind start to the contest, netting three goals in the opening quarter to rock Garrycastle and when Alex Gardiner failed with a penalty as half time approached, there appeared little hope of silverware returning to Athlone.
The second half introduction of James Sheerin proved pivotal as he became a focal point for all attacks and St. Loman’s, who enjoyed freedom of movement in the opening half, became limp in their play as Garrycastle players forced proceedings with pressurised play and fitting county final scores.
Conor Cosgrove also impacted in his substitute role and when Eoin Monahan goaled midway through the second half to leave Garrycastle in the scoreboard ascendancy, the momentum swing was most definitely with the victors as St. Loman’s failed to effect the umpire’s white flag on more than two occasions in the latter period.
The influence of long serving Garrycastle playing stalwarts, Doron Harte, John Gaffey and James Dolan, was very much evident as the game progressed with club captain Harte, in particular, the fulcrum for many of his team’s attacking forays from his centrefield berth.
Their first county final annexed since 2014, the club’s eighth in total, this will be one of the most cherished on field occasions for a team whose second half display was one deserving of success.
An opening round Leinster club championship contest against Longford champions Killoe now awaits and based on Sunday’s performance, Garrycastle have the attributes to make strides in the provincial competition.