After a break since early April the Westmeath senior football championship resumes this weekend with a full round of games down for decision. History has shown that a lot can change during the long siesta and that is what makes predicting this weekend’s games all the more difficult.
Cusack Park will host a double header on both Saturday and Sunday evenings. Coralstown/Kinnegad and Killucan face each-other at 6pm on Saturday. The red and whites marked their return to senior ranks with a good win in the opening round and Jack Cooney’s men could well make it two wins out of two. They will have to handle the significant threat posed by Paul Greville if they are to claim the bragging rights in this local derby.
Mullingar Shamrocks are reported to be experiencing their own problems this year with injuries and absentees not helping their cause. They were well beaten by St Loman’s in the opening round but I expect St Malachy’s to suffer a backlash this weekend from last year’s beaten finalists. Denis Coroon is back on board to strengthen their cause and it is difficult to see anything but a Shamrocks win.
The Downs will be hoping to get back to winning ways following their opening round defeat to Athlone but Maryland could add to their woes when the sides meet in Moate on Saturday evening.
Tyrrellspass drew with Garrycastle in the opening round but should collect their first win when they meet Bunbrosna in Cusack Park on Sunday. Padraig Walsh is unavailable for Bun which weakens them significantly around the middle. Denis Glennon is nursing an injury but is expected to play and his side should have too much firepower.
The tie of the round sees reigning champions Garrycastle up against Castledaly in the second game in Cusack Park on Sunday evening. Garrycastle will be without a host of regulars including Cathal Mullen, John Gaffey, and David O’Shaughnessy while Gary Dolan has an ankle injury. Castledaly are motoring well and will be quietly confident of causing an upset here. It could easily happen but I still expect the reigning champs to shade this one. James Dolan and Dessie will do enough to see their side claim their first win of the campaign.
The final game of the round is the meeting of Athlone and St Loman’s which at the time of going to print is fixed for Cusack Park on Monday evening. While both clubs had looked for the game to be changed from the weekend is seems naive in the extreme to fix it for the same evening as Ireland playing their final group game in the European championship. Surely common sense should prevail. The Saints were hugely impressive in their opening round win over Shamrocks. While Conor Lynam is a huge loss to them and John Heslin has a question mark over him as he needs keyhole surgery on a knee injury, they will be expected to account for Athlone. Traditionally however we never fear St Loman’s and we will be out to cause an upset. It won’t be easy though.