Home advantage a plus in challenging double header

Westmeath’s hurlers and footballers will be hoping to make the most of home advantage as they prepare for tough challenges from Derry and Laois respectively. The hurlers get the action under way at 12.45pm when they will be looking to collect their first points of the campaign having lost the opening round against Kerry.

Derry had an impressive 2-19 to 0-10 win over Wicklow in their opening round so they are sure to travel with confidence. Westmeath came out on top on a scoreline of 3-19 to 2-13 in the corresponding fixture played in Celtic Park last year.

Westmeath have lost a number of key personnel since last season but Brian Hanley will be hoping that his new-look team can rise to the challenge and collect two valuable league points.

At 2.30pm our footballers face up to a well-balanced Laois side who salvaged a draw with Louth in a high-scoring affair last weekend. Laois currently sit on three points so will be going all out to jump up the league table on Sunday. The O’Moore men had seven points to spare when the sides last met in Cusack Park in 2010.

Pat Flanagan has made two changes to the starting team with John Gaffey and David Duffy coming in instead of Doran Harte and Ronan Foley. Paul Sharry’s absence certainly weakens our defence while Dessie has to be content with a place on the bench as he nurses a dodgy hamstring.

Westmeath have shown that there is great spirit in their camp having overturned a six-point half-time deficit last weekend and they did something similar against Louth despite being a man down. They have a good home record in recent times but will need to play for the full 70 minutes if they are to maintain their place at the top of the division. I wouldn’t rule out another draw.

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