Westmeath make the long and difficult trip to Celtic Park, Derry this Sunday safe in the knowledge that losing their unbeaten tag is about all that is at stake. With promotion secured and given that it is very likely the same teams that will be contesting the division 2 final on April 28 it is not surprising that Pat Flanagan has opted to rest many of his regulars.
From the Armagh game Gary Connaughton, Mark McCallan, Michael Curley, James Dolan, John Heslin, Kieran Martin, Callum McCormack, Ger Egan, Ciaran Curley, and Denis Glennon all make way.
They are replaced by Eoin Carberry in goals, Damien Dolan, Paul Sharry, and Doran Harte in the half-back line; Darragh Daly at midfield; Declan Mullen and Paul Bannon in the half-forward line; and Ronan Foley, Lorcan Smyth, and Dessie Dolan in the full-forward line.
While 10 changes seem a lot it is still a strong team and are well capable of putting up a good challenge to the home side even if the absence of Martin, McCormack, and Glennon might leave us short on scoring power up front.
Lorcan Smyth is being given his chance to show his undoubted talent and it will be interesting to see how he fares. He could well be a valuable option up front as the year progresses.
Celtic Park is a difficult place to get a result at the best of times and with the home side needing the points a win seems unlikely for the Lake County. However with their fighting spirit and winning mentality I won’t be backing against another upset.