While thoughts of competitive Westmeath senior football championship action may be presently miniscule for those competing club aspirants, the months will soon elapse with the round robin phase of this year’s quest for the Flanagan Cup due to commence towards the end of July with a culmination date in October.
As club players start their preparations on an individual basis, the administrative hope is a return to the championship format of 2019 with two groups each containing six competing teams.
Four teams will advance from Group 1 to the knockout stage (the top two clubs in this group progressing directly to a semi-final berth ), while the remaining clubs coupled with the top two teams in Group 2 will contest the quarter final phase of the competition.
This particular format has yet to be confirmed but should it be later this month, it will feature both Athlone and Garrycastle, both of whom will be hopeful of a prolonged existence in the championship when their quest for silverware supremacy commences.
Garrycastle, champions in 2019, will be hoping to erase the memory of their senior football championship experience in 2020, when they were surprisingly defeated by a Luke Loughlin inspired The Downs team in a pulsating quarter final fixture. Under the managerial guidance of Gary Dolan and John Keane, they will be hoping to add the Flanagan Cup to their club roll of honour for the ninth occasion.
Local club rivals, Athlone, who have retained the services of All-Star and former May footballer, Liam McHale, for the coming competitive season, will aspire to build upon their championship progress in 2020.
Advancing to the knockout phase of the competition courtesy of a draw with Caulry, Athlone defeated Rosemount in an end to end quarter final contest before tasting defeat to Tyrrellspass in a final four fixture.
Working with former club playing stalwarts, Fergal Murray and John Egan, the county’s most successful club will be seeking to achieve their 21st senior football title in 2021.
Meanwhile, Group 2 of the senior football championship will feature Rosemount, Caulry and Moate All Whites, all of whom will have thoughts of advancement to the quarter final phase of the competition.
Rosemount, quarter finalists at this level for the past two seasons, will be striving for further knockout phase progress when the championship throws in. Former St Mary’s Rochfortbridge supremo, Ian Bradley, is now at the managerial helm and he will be assisted on the sideline by Rosemount native, Damien Kelly and Ronan Fagan.
Caulry, who endured managerial upheaval mid championship in 2020, survived a relegation battle with Castledaly, but will be hoping to avoid a similar fate in 2021. The Mount Temple/Baylin club have appointed former St Brigid’s and Roscommon custodian, Shane Curran, for managerial inspiration and will be hoping his experience proves key when championship action starts.
Reigning intermediate football champions, Moate All Whites, who last attained the Flanagan Cup in 1997, will be seeking to cement their status as a senior club, their round robin contests with fellow South Westmeath teams, certain to prove enticing games.