The opening round of games of this year’s Shay Murtagh Precast Westmeath senior football club championship took place last weekend and there were plenty of talking points not least of which was Tyrrellspass’ draw with beaten all-Ireland finalists Garrycastle.
Indeed Garrycastle had to come from five points down in the closing quarter to share the spoils as they go in search of four titles in a row.
Rumours of Tyrrellspass’ demise may have been a bit premature because with players of the quality of Denis Glennon, Ger Egan, and the outstanding David Glennon they could well go far in this year’s championship. They also have a number to return from injury including Martin Flanagan.
The concession of two relatively soft goals didn’t help the Garrycastle cause while Tyrrellspass were not helped with the sending off of veteran midfielder Adrian Corcoran five minutes into the second half. The book was balanced when Dessie Dolan received his marching orders on a second yellow with 10 minutes remaining.
Both sides will be satisfied with a draw and will welcome the eight week break till round two. Garrycastle’s main task now is to appoint a new manager and to recuperate after a long season while Tyrrellspass will be hoping to have more key players available for the next outing in June.
A second surprise was the ease with which St Loman’s disposed of last year’s beaten finalists Mullingar Shamrocks. The Saints had nine points to spare over their neighbours who were badly hampered by the absence of midfielders Darragh Daly and Denis Coroon and full-back Kieran Gavin.
Elsewhere Athlone got their campaign off to a winning start against The Downs on a scoreline of 1-8 to 0-5. Athlone dominated proceedings in the opening half but found it difficult to put scores on the board. The Downs, who appear to be very much in transition, failed to score in the opening half and trailed 1-4 to 0-0 at the break.
Padraig Farrell’s men did improve in the second half but the dismissal of Ben Hogan and John Smith did little to help their cause.
Since the game Athlone manager Tom Coffey has been appointed as interim manager of the Offaly senior footballers. He will remain on as Athlone manager however, as the town side attempt to build on an encouraging start.
Castledaly proved too strong for Killucan and ran out comfortable winners on a scoreline of 2-12 to 0-11. Alan Stone (1-4 ) and Paul Kelly (1-3 ) were the scorers in chief for Derek Heavin’s side while Paul Greville signed off with 0-6 to his name for the losers.
Maryland’s greater firepower saw them record a 0-19 to 1-10 win over St Malachy’s while Coralstown/Kinnegad laid down a marker with an eye-catching 1-10 to 0-4 win over Bunbrosna.
Tubberclair, Caulry, and Rosemount all got off to winning starts in the intermediate championship while Rosemount and Shandonagh shared the spoils as did C/F/C/W and St Mary’s Rochfortbridge.