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While they are far better known for their small ball game, the black and amber Cats from Kilkenny are standing in Mayo's way of reaching the All Ireland Junior Football Championship final tomorrow afternoon in Tullamore. Kilkenny who only field a football team at junior level have progressed to this stage of the competition after winning the British junior crown, travelling over and back to Great Britain for all their games this summer so far. In the final of that championship they saw off the challenge of Scotland to book their final four spot.
Though Westmeath were eventually beaten 2-15 to 1-13 by Offaly in last Sunday’s Bord Na Mona Walsh Cup opener, new manager Michael Ryan was encouraged by the midlanders' second half performance.
If last Sunday’s hurling action is anything to go by we are in for one hell of a summer. After watching some tame games during the league I must admit I was worried that we would live in the shadow of football again this year. However, after last Sunday it looks as though the hurlers can give the big ball players a good run for their money this year.
There was so much drama in last Sunday’s final league action that the GAA hierarchy could be forgiven for doing a U-turn on the reinstatement of the semi-finals that was passed in congress last Saturday.
Westmeath footballers will be hoping it’s a case of third time lucky when they take the field against Louth in Croke Park this Saturday evening at 7pm. Louth came out on top when the sides met in the championship last summer and again in the first round of this year’s league campaign.
If Carlsberg did league fixtures they couldn’t have organised it any better than the way this year’s final round of league games has panned out. There will be plenty of excitement and drama up and down the country this weekend as the final pieces in the promotion/relegation jigsaw are put together. Cusack Park, Mullingar will host the mouth-watering clash of old rivals Westmeath and Offaly in what is essentially a winner takes all contest. Whichever side wins gains promotion to division two, though a draw would also suffice for Offaly.
It’s on a sad note that I start this week's column after the passing of Eamon Hennessy, one of Kilkenny's most devoted fans. The kind-hearted Eamon who lost his battle with illness last Tuesday was known and respected the length and breadth of Ireland.
Following their impressive 1-15 to 1-5 win over Laois in the opening round, Westmeath u21 footballers now face neighbours Offaly this Wednesday (March 9) in Pairc Chiarain Athlone at 7.30pm.
With nine of the side that lost last year's All-Ireland final to Clare featuring, the Cats done a second half demolition job in this Bord Gais Energy Leinster Under 21 hurling Championship at a Nowlan Park, Kilkenny on Wednesday night.