Make or break time in Westmeath football championship

The heat is certainly on this weekend as a number of clubs face make or break games in the Westmeath senior football championship. With the exception of the two Mullingar sides who are already safely through to the semi-final, every other club has something to play for this weekend. For some, like Athlone and Castledaly, a win is simply a must if they are to maintain their interest in this year’s championship beyond this weekend. For others like Maryland, C/F/C/W, Killucan, and Kinnegad a win is a necessity if they are to avoid a dreaded relegation battle.

Athlone’s clash with Bunbrosna in group A is black and white. Athlone must win to make the quarter-finals while a win or a draw will suffice for the men from the north of the county. Form wise there is very little between the two teams and it is likely that this will be a one- or two-point game either way.

Since joining the senior ranks a number of years ago Bunbrosna have certainly been a bogey team for Athlone and have the upper hand in recent meetings. We did beat them in last year’s Feis Cup final but they had two points to spare in our league outing earlier in the year.

Our win over Maryland was a huge confidence booster and while our league outing against Tang last Sunday didn’t go according to plan I wouldn’t be reading too much into that result. We know what is at stake and with so many young players in our ranks, making the quarter-finals would be an important building block for the future.

Bunbrosna for their part have never made the knockout stages and they won’t be lacking in motivation or hunger when the ball is thrown in. Their strong midfield pairing and the scoring threat of Peter Tormey are just two of the angles we will have to counter.

It really is a 50/50 game but if we can build on our second half performance against Maryland then we are in with a great chance. Anything less though and it is curtains for us.

Last year’s beaten semi-finalists Maryland will be leaving nothing to chance when they take on pointless C/F/C/W in Shandonagh on Sunday at 1pm. If Maryland were to lose this both sides would finish level on two points and would have to play again to decide who is in the relegation final. C/F/C/W are reported to have a number of players back on board that were so badly missed this year so it might not be as straightforward as one might think. With that said it is difficult to see Maryland losing this one.

The final game in group A is the meeting of Mullingar Shamrocks and The Downs. While the reigning champs have little to play for they won’t want to get into the habit of losing games and I expect them to win this with a bit to spare.

In group B there is a real dogfight for third place in the group. In-form St Loman’s top the group while Garrycastle can secure second place with a win over Kinnegad this weekend. The real battle is for third spot. Tyrrellspass and Castledaly currently sit on four points but with the ‘Pass taking on bottom side Killucan and Castledaly up against table-toppers St Loman’s, it is certainly advantage Tyrrellspass.

A win for Castledaly, which is a possibility especially in the absence of Paul Sharry, would most likely result in a playoff game between them and Tyrrellspass to see who goes through. Killucan look almost certain to be in the relegation final.

With so much at stake there is sure to be plenty of talking points and as the ad says ‘Nothing beats being there’ so get out and support your team.

Delvin remain senior while n the Quarter-finals Plunkett’s and Castletown advance to hurling semi’s.

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