Thursday, May 30, 2024

Crucial weekend for hurlers and footballers

By Damien Maher

Westmeath’s senior hurlers face Carlow in the National Hurling League Division 2 ‘A’ final next Saturday in Tullamore (4pm) as the battle to win promotion continues. And on Sunday, the county’s senior footballers meet Offaly at TEG Cusack Park (3pm) in a massive game that could well determine their National Football League status for next season.
Michael Ryan’s senior hurlers failed to gain a result at Netwatch Dr Cullen Park, Carlow last Sunday which would have eliminated the Barrowsiders and Carlow’s 0-20 to 1-15 victory means the counties must meet for a second time in next Saturday’s final. A draw would have meant Westmeath faced a final date with London, but they missed a great opportunity when a late free was overturned following a retaliation and from the throw-in, Carlow engineered the insurance point.
A disappointed Ryan admitted next Saturday’s final is a massive moment in his side’s season.
“It’s a huge game; it’s a game we have to win. Come next Saturday when the ball is thrown in, we have got to go and deliver,” he said when asked on his thoughts ahead of the final against Carlow.
Ryan confirmed Westmeath will be without Castletown-Geoghegan star, Niall O’Brien for the final, but he’s hoping Niall Dowdall will be back in contention for a starting place and he said the management team will consider changes if necessary.
“Sunday’s win was a big result for Carlow, they’ll take a bit from that, but I’d like to think that there’s more in us. We weren’t at our best and our decision making wasn’t as good as it should be. It was a fantastic battle and a fantastic game,” he observed.
“We’ll look at every player and see what he did or didn’t bring to the game and we’ll look at our panel and see if there are ways that we can improve it. I’d like to think there’d be a little bit of regret in our boys when we look back at this,” he added.

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