There were contrasting on field fortunes for local clubs, Athlone and Garrycastle, in the second round of Westmeath senior football championship fixtures played this past weekend.
Boosted by their opening round draw with their town rivals, Athlone journeyed to TEG Cusack Park, Mullingar, on Saturday evening to play The Downs, who had claimed a one point victory over reigning champions St Lomans in their first Group 1 game.
Despite a slow start which saw Liam McHale’s charges concede a goal in the opening two minutes, Athlone, striving to win the Flanagan Cup for the first time since 1998, responded to this scoring blow and reduced the deficit to the minimum before The Downs raised a green flag with half time approaching to extend their lead to four points.
A calmly converted Stephen O’Connor penalty afforded Athlone second half momentum but an experienced opposition, with John O’Mahony at the managerial helm, retained composure in the final quarter to win the game by three points.
With one point from their opening two fixtures, Athlone play Coralstown-Kinnegad in their third outing, the North Westmeath team achieving maximum return from their two games played to date.
A brace of goals from Alex Gardiner, complemented by green flags from Jason Nugent and John Gaffey, proved to be pivotal moments during Garrycastle’s comprehensive victory over Tyrrellspass, a game which also took place on the vast green swathe of TEG Cusack Park on Saturday.
To the scoring fore by the minimum at the interval, Garrycastle overwhelmed their opponents with a dominant second half display, controlling the tempo during a thirty minute period during which Tyrrellspass effected the scoreboard on two occasions.
The Downs provide Garrycastle with their next Group 1 opposition, a game which will be played the weekend commencing September 3.
Meanwhile, in Group 2 of the senior football championship, the trio of Moate All Whites, Rosemount and Caulry, all responded to opening round defeats with victories in their respective fixtures.
In a stirring second half performance, Caulry accounted for the challenge of Killucan on Saturday evening in Fr O’Growney Park, Rosemount, while Rosemount enjoyed a morale boosting eight point win over Shandonagh in TEG Cusack Park on Sunday afternoon, the same venue for Moate All Whites deserved success against Mullingar Shamrocks, a game which brought to a conclusion the second round of Westmeath senior football championship fixtures.