Pat Flanagan has already made no secret of the fact that his side’s best chance of maintaining division two status is to win their home games. Not surprisingly then this Sunday’s game against Monaghan has to be seen as a six-pointer.
Last weekend’s humbling 2-11 to 0-8 defeat away to Tyrone will have taken away much of the feel-good factor generated by the surprise win over Galway and the u21 quarter-final success over Carlow the previous week.
Tyrone are a different class than the Lake County at present and they were never troubled by the visitors. They enjoyed a healthy 1-6 to 0-2 half-time cushion and could afford to kick 15 wides en route to their nine point win.
John Heslin again underpinned his talent with a fine display while Denis Glennon kicked three points when introduced after 24 minutes.
Monaghan, who themselves are rebuilding, have been impressive in all but one of their outings to date. Last week they enjoyed a comfortable 2-24 to 1-15 win over Louth. Hitting 2-24 is a fair achievement and an indicator of the challenge that lies ahead for the Lake County.
One big plus for Westmeath is that Monaghan’s away form has been far less impressive than when they play in Clones. The beat Kildare and Louth on home soil but lost away to Meath and Derry.
Even allowing for that Monaghan will be warm favourites to collect both points on offer. They have kicked 67 points in their four games to date while Westmeath have only managed 36. Westmeath will have to improve their tally here if they are to defy the odds.
Westmeath supporters will be hoping that Denis Glennon will be available from the off as he certainly adds to our potency up front. He is recovering from a back injury so Flanagan may be wary of rushing him back into action.
The Westmeath rearguard will have to thwart the influence of Paul “Jap” Finlay, Chris McGuiness, and Owen Duffy who kicked 1-12 between them last Sunday. Tommy Freeman is doubtful due to a hamstring injury but if he does tog he will also take close watching.
Flanagan is sure to have his men ready for an ambush and if they can repeat the spirit shown against the Tribesmen then they might just quieten the Farney army.