There is plenty at stake as round four of the Westmeath senior football championship takes place this weekend. St Loman’s and Shamrocks can all but secure their place in the automatic semi-final spots with wins over Coralstown/Kinnegad and C/F/C/W respectively.
For the likes of Athlone, Maryland, The Downs, Castledaly, Bunbrosna, and Kinnegad a win this weekend is vital if they are to push for a quarter-final spot.
The action gets underway on Friday evening in Kilbeggan where Garrycastle, although not firing on all cylinders at present, will have too much craft and firepower for Killucan. This will leave the green and reds on six points and safely through to the knockout stages.
On Saturday there are two crunch group one games down for decision. The Downs and Bunbrosna face each other knowing that defeat will all but end hopes of progressing to the knockout stages. It is bound to be a tense affair but with Bunbrosna hitting form in recent weeks they might just shade it. Aidan Finnan and Padraig Walsh are likely to give Bun an edge in midfield and if they can get enough ball to Peter Tormey he may prove the difference between the sides.
Athlone and Maryland go head to head in Tubberclair at 7pm on Saturday evening. Again this is a case of winner takes all. Maryland have two wins under their belts while Athlone’s only points came in the opening round against C/F/C/W. Both sides will be keen to make amends for their previous round performance where Athlone were trounced by Shamrocks and Maryland were nicely beaten by Bunbrosna.
There hasn’t been much between these sides in recent years and Saturday’s game will be no different. The Drumraney outfit rely heavily on Kieran Martin, Callum McCormack, and Joe Harte, and we will have to ensure this trio in particular are well marshalled if we are to prevail.
With a few hugely talented youngsters in our ranks I expect to see a different Athlone side than took the field in Cusack Park. The likes of Stephen Ward, Ray Connellan, and Charlie McMickan are among the best young footballers in the county. Motivation won’t be a problem for us against Finbar Egan’s side and provided we perform I expect us to shade it.
The meeting of Castledaly and Tyrrellspass is perhaps the most interesting of all the round four games. Tyrrellspass were unlucky to lose out to Garrycastle in their last outing and will be keen to get back to winning ways here. Castledaly edged out Kinnegad by two points in round three and will see this as a big opportunity to secure a quarter-final spot.
Tom Coffey seems to be making progress with the light blues and with a more potent forward unit than Castledaly I expect the men from the Tidy Village to progress.
On Sunday evening the two Mullingar sides, who are the form teams of the championship thus far, are in action in Cusack Park. The reigning champions should have little difficulty in accounting for struggling C/F/C/W at 5pm while St Loman’s will be confident of accounting for Coralstown Kinnegad at 7pm.