Club Focus: Athlone will be bidding to add to their impressive tally of titles

Top: To the future: Athlone captured the Minor Football title in 2017 for the first time in 24 years with this talented side. Back row (L-R): Joseph Devins, Diarmuid Martin, Eamon Martin, Stephen O’Connor, James Finlass, Brendan Martin, Kieran Colclough, Sean Dowd, John Duddy, David Cleary, Josh Beaumont, Patrick McGettigan, Mark Tallon, Rytis Liaukevicius, Joseph Offorjama, Deba Okodugha. Front row (L-R): Enda Daly, Conor Rushe, Kevin Rowan, Mark Egan, Luke Kelly, Shane Allen, Patrick Ryan, Aaron Forde, Anthony Johnson, Niall Doolan, Tadhg Prendergast and Kevin Cleary. Bottom: From 1955 to 1960, Athlone won six senior titles in-a-row and pictured is the 1955 team which started it all. Back row (L-R): Christy Keogh, John McCann, Des Lynch, Harry Murtagh, Jimmy Reynolds, Seamie Nugent, Bernie Colclough, Kieran Hunt, Des McCann. Front row (L-R): Brendan McMahon, Brian Scanlon, Tom Henson, Peter Woods, Paddy McCormack, Paddy Killilea, Mick Scanlon, Mick Brooks and Kieran Henson.

Over the years, many may have laid claim to the title of the most successful football club in Westmeath, but there is absolutely no arguing that it belongs to the Athlone GAA Club, who have won a record 20 Senior Football Championships in their time.

The Shannonsiders are one of the oldest clubs in Westmeath, formed in 1885 and their dominance of the Senior Football Championship during the 1950s is quite remarkable.

Their headquarters is Páirc Chiaráin, which officially opened in 1960 and is located on the Ballymahon Road and they cater for a large number of participants, providing Gaelic football for a sprawling population in an area of Westmeath that has had to compete hard with other very popular sports over the years.

Athlone’s six-in-a-row of Westmeath senior titles (from 1955-’60 inclusive) still ranks as the best ever achieved by any of the present day clubs in Westmeath and they have a proud tradition of being competitive at senior level.

While the club did suffer a decline in fortunes and were relegated to Intermediate level in 2014, they made an immediate recovery and are once again regarded as a club with the potential to achieve greater things.