A successful start towards the retention of the Flanagan Cup, Garrycastle overcame a one point half time deficit to defeat local rivals, Athlone, in an eagerly contested Westmeath SFC opening Group 1 round robin fixture played in Tubberclair on Sunday evening.
Despite playing against the elements in the opening moiety of the game, Garrycastle displayed numerous traits equating to current champions status as their ability to dictate the play both in and out of possession was notable during playing proceedings.
The strength of their substitute bench was most notable with the management pairing of Gary Dolan and John Keane able to call upon Justin Barrett and Matthew Guiheen (regular starters during last year’s Flanagan Cup winning campaign ), while former Roscommon intercounty footballer, Ger Heneghan would certainly attain a starting position in many club teams within the county.
Speaking to the Athlone Advertiser post victory, John Keane noted his content with an opening day victory, noting his team’s positive response to Athlone’s early playing initiative.
“We had to be at our best to quell the early scoring onslaught from Athlone. We knew that they would be primed for the game but we responded very positively to the concession of the two first half goals to be in arrears by just the minimum at half time. Having played against the wind in the opening half this was certainly a positive for the team,” John remarked.
The playing persistence of the reigning champions in the second half afforded John cause for satisfaction.
“We were quite dominant in possession during the second half and worked hard to breakdown the Athlone defence and while we did not avail of all the scoring opportunities that presented, we were persistent in our play allowing for sufficient scores to win the game.
“Our main objective prior to throw-in was to garner two points and that we did,” John asserted.
Caulry provide the weekend opposition as Garrycastle seek swift back to back wins which would assure the holders of premier placement in Group 1 and a place in the quarter finals of the championship.
“We picked up a few bumps and bruises during the Athlone game with a number of players to be assessed so we will be reliant upon our playing panel to overcome the challenge presented by Caulry on Saturday evening.
“As reigning Intermediate football champions they will be eager to perform and have some of the finest crop of young players currently playing in the county. We expect a big challenge from Caulry this weekend, of that I am certain,” John concluded.