A sporting relationship kindled courtesy of All-Ireland senior football club success for St Brigids in 2013 will be revisited in Hogan Park, Moate, on Saturday evening as Rosemount play Athlone in a Westmeath SFC quarter final fixture (throw in, 5pm ).
Current Athlone manager, Liam McHale, was a member of the St Brigid’s management team which achieved that much lauded success, his counterpart on Saturday evening, Frankie Dolan, scoring the crucial point to etch the South Roscommon club into the annals of club football history.
Both managers, in their first season with their respective teams, will be eager to secure a place in the final four and remain on course to lift the prestigious Flanagan Cup, Athlone last winning the prized silverware in 1998, while Rosemount previously tasted Westmeath SFC glory in 1989.
Having attained two round robin victories courtesy of wins over Castledaly and The Downs, Rosemount will be favourites for this eagerly anticipated quarter final fixture.
Confidence will be brimming amongst management and the playing squad as they play an Athlone team without a senior championship win since 2018 and who reached this final eight fixture as a result of their draw with Caulry in Tang on Saturday evening, having suffered a loss to reigning champions, Garrycastle, in their opening Group 1 contest.
Speaking to the Athlone Advertiser this week, Rosemount manager, Frankie Dolan, noted the coaching attributes of the former Mayo All-Star and the challenge which will be posed by Athlone on Saturday evening in Moate.
“Rosemount will be slight favourites as the game throws in on Saturday but it is now knockout championship football and there will be an air of competitive tension to the game, of that I am certain,” Frankie asserted.
Noting the two successes to date, Frankie spoke of the positive atmosphere presently prevalent within the Rosemount camp as the player’s minds focus on the quarter final fixture on Saturday.
“While a break of three weeks from competitive action is not ideal, our training sessions have been intense and the mindset of management and players has been one of positivity as we focus on the challenge presented by Athlone.
“Liam is a football coach held in high esteem at both club and intercounty levels and he will have Athlone well drilled and prepared for the game and we have to be prepared for the challenge which awaits.
“Despite what some may think this is certain to be a closely fought contest with little between the teams come the end of the game. Hopefully we can perform as we did in the first half against The Downs when we were firmly in the ascendancy but our second half display on that occasion will not be good enough to beat Athlone I believe,” Frankie added.
With no spectators present on Saturday evening, the supporting environment will be vastly different for the players who will have to mentally adapt to the eery surrounds.
“This will be our first experience playing championship football without supporters present, they will be wholly missed, but we have to mentally adapt to the situation and have a positive mindset at all times.
“Such positivity can only be beneficial to our aspirations on Saturday evening and hopefully, progression to the next phase of the championship,” Frankie concluded.