Permutations in abundance as Garrycastle suffer very surprising senior football championship relegation

Athlone GAA supporting stalwart Liam Finnegan is pictured in celebratory mode following Athlone's senior football championship win over Mullingar Shamrocks in Kinnegad on Friday.

Athlone GAA supporting stalwart Liam Finnegan is pictured in celebratory mode following Athlone's senior football championship win over Mullingar Shamrocks in Kinnegad on Friday.

ronan fagan

Westmeath senior football champions as recently as 2019, Garrycastle will play their championship football in the intermediate grade in 2024, following their fourth consecutive loss in this year's competition on Sunday evening.

Relegation to the intermediate championship grade is a seismic blow to a club who contested the All-Ireland club final in 2012, a team which was laden with stellar talent, but now a rebuild process awaits and with no guarantee of a swift return to the higher echelons of Westmeath championship football, Garrycastle will be hoping that a fresh impetus of player from the club's underage pool can feed through to the adult ranks in due course and assist the aspired for return to the Flanagan Cup competition.

Knowing only a victory over Tang would suffice in this Section B fixture, Garrycastle were well in the contest over the duration. Trailing at half time by the minimum, such a scoreline was replicated at the shrill of the final whistle, goals from Martin Rock and the impressive Adam Neary achieving victory for Tang and a result which also ensures a place in the quarter final for the 2021 intermediate champions.

Athlone remain in contention for the second Section B quarter final berth following a last gasp win over Mullingar Shamrocks in Kinnegad on Friday night. An evenly contested affair, a late goal from Sean Dowd proved the difference, as Eoin Jordan's charges claimed a two point victory.

With one round of fixtures to play in the round robin phase of the senior football championship, Athlone must defeat Garrycastle and hope that the result of the Moate All Whites/Mullingar Shamrocks game works in their favour to advance to the knockout phase of the competition.

Moate All Whites also remain in contention for a quarter final berth. Having defeated Athlone and Garrycastle in their opening two fixtures, the All Whites have suffered consecutive losses, surprisingly so to Shandonagh on Saturday evening in TEG Cusack Park. However, a win for Moate over Mullingar Shamrocks in their last outing coupled with a loss for Athlone would see the All Whites progress to the knockout phase.

Meanwhile, in Section A of the senior football championship, South Westmeath's sole club representation, Caulry succumbed to a heavy defeat on Saturday evening in TEG Cusack Park, suffering a 16 point loss to St Lomans.

Surprisingly fielding a weakened team, Shane Curran's charges scored a mere two points in the first half of this one sided contest. Although the Mount Temple/Bayling club added eight points to the scoreboard in the second moiety it was to no avail as an impressive St Lomans refused to relent, the victory securing their place in the semi-final of this year's competition.

Caulry remain primely placed to secure a Flanagan Cup quarter final berth and play reigning county champions The Downs in their final Section A fixture in the hope of achieving same. The Downs, Leinster senior club finalists in 2022, have been surprisingly eliminated from progression at this stage of the competition season and will play their senior championship football in Section B next year.

To matters intermediate football championship and South Westmeath clubs all harbour knockout phase aspirations with one game remaining in the round robin phase of this year's competition.

Intermediate championship finalists in 2022, Tubberclair were defeated by Milltown on Sunday afternoon, but remain primely positioned in Section A. Martin McCabe's charges play Ballymore in their final group outing and will advance to the semi-final of the competition with a win.

Castledaly are placed second in Section B following their five point victory over the 'Bridge. Trailing by five points at half time in this contest, Paul Kelly's players reeled in the scoreboard deficit in the second period to emerge with a merited win.

Their closing contest with Rosemount, the Cill Óige derby, promises to be an eagerly contested occasion. Fresh from their superb second half showing against Ballymore which saw the black and amber reverse a two point half deficit into a five point win, much is to play for when these local rivals collide, achieving a semi-final berth a live possibility for both clubs should results go in their favour as the round robin phase of this year's competition comes to a conclusion.


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