With the Westmeath senior club championship now having reached the knockout stages we are in for some serious action this weekend. Garrycastle and Corralstown/Kinnegad are both already safely through to the semi-finals. Their opposition in the semis will be decided over the course of this weekend. Maryland face a challenging outing against Tyrrellspass in Lakepoint Park on Saturday at 7.15pm while Mullingar Shamrocks and St Loman’s go head to head in a must-see tie in Cusack Park on Sunday at 6.15pm.
Tyrrellspass and Shamrocks will be the bookies’ favourites to progress against more inexperienced opposition, but the underdogs will not be unduly worried and are sure to do all in their power to reach the last four.
Tyrrellspass have reached this stage without firing on all cylinders so far. Having accounted for St Loman’s, Athlone, St Malachy’s and The Downs in the group stages,their only loss was a five point defeat to Kinnegad.
With Martin Flanagan and David Glennon back on board, in addition to the threat posed by Denis Glennon, it is hard to see Finbar Egan’s men causing an upset. Remember the majority of this Tyrrellspass squad are already holders of county medals and have contested a Leinster club final. They are seasoned campaigners at this level.
Maryland captured the intermediate title for the first time in 28 years last season and have already exceeded most people’s expectations by making the playoff stages. Somewhat unlucky not to have held out for victory against Mullingar Shamrocks, an improved performance will be needed against the men from the Tidy Village. Maryland will be looking to the experienced David Martin and the young but talent pair of Kieran Martin and Callum McCormack to provide the scores.
How the Maryland defence cope with the scoring threat posed by the Glennons and Flanagan will decide this game. Between them they scored 1-9 in their last outing.
Maryland enter the game without the burden of expectation and while I expect them to give a good account of themselves, I think they will fall short against a more experienced and better balanced Tyrrellspass side.
If there is to be an upset this weekend I think it will be in the derby clash of Mullingar Shamrocks and St Loman’s. While we were disappointed to lose out to the Saints in our last group game by five points, they were fully deserving of their win. On the same weekend, Shamrocks were lucky to snatch a draw against Maryland.
Two things impressed me about ‘Loman’s, their workrate and their ability to kick long-range points. In John Heslin they have unearthed a serious talent, and as well as doing the job around midfield he chipped in with four excellent points against us. Conor Lynam, Paul Sharry and Conrad Reilly are central to a potent attack, that have kicked an impressive 83 points so far in the championship.
Jimmy Davitt, Kenny McKinley, Gary Glennon and Paddy Dowdall bring experience to the Loman’s defence who will have their hands full with a very mobile Shamrocks’ attack. They will have to be at their best to keep tabs on the likes of Shane Colleary, Brian Melody, Brian O’Sullivan and the lively Darren Moore.
Shamrocks have been very strong at under-21 level in recent years and have been tipped by many as title contenders this year. Kieran Gavin, David Miller and Donie O’Donoghoe provide the basis for a strong defence while Anthony Clinton is capable of dominating mid-field.
Loman’s are well capable of causing an upset here but with Shamrocks sure to be hurt by their performance against Maryland a fortnight ago and with so much at stake I expect the green and white side of Mullingar to be happiest come Sunday evening.
Intermediate quarter finals
The intermediate quarter finals are down for decision this weekend also. On Saturday evening at 5.45pm in Lakepoint Park, St Mary’s Rochfortbridge will have to be at their best if they are to account for Castletown/ Finea/ Coole/ Whitehall.
On Sunday at 5pm in Cusack Park, Tang will be hoping to account for Ballinagore and set up a mouthwatering clash with neighbours Tubberclare in the semi-final.
Senior Ladies Football County Final
The ladies’ county final takes place on Sunday at 3pm in Castletowngeoghegan. Garrycastle will have to be at their best if they are to get the better of Corralstown/ Kinnegad.
Roscommon quarter finals
The quarter-finals of the Roscommon senior football championship are also taking place this weekend. A double header in Hyde Park on Saturday sees neighbours St Brigid’s and St Aidan’s going head to head at 5pm followed by the meeting of Clann na Gael and Western Gaels at 6.30pm.
On Sunday in Kiltoom, Castlerea and Padraig Pearses will battle it out at 5.30 followed by the meeting of St Faithleachs and Kilbride at 7pm.