Flanagan brings in veteran forward Dolan for Westmeath

Dessie Dolan, who won an All-Star award when Westmeath were last crowned Leinster champions in 2004, will start for the Lakesiders against Carlow in Sunday's provincial Championship opener.

Flanagan brings in veteran forward Dolan for Westmeath

Dessie Dolan, who won an All-Star award when Westmeath were last crowned Leinster champions in 2004, will start for the Lakesiders against Carlow in Sunday's provincial Championship opener.

Manager Pat Flanagan has made two changes to the team that lost the recent Allianz League Division 2 final to Derry, with Dolan and team captain Kieran Gavin both restored to the starting line-up.

Denis Corroon drops to the substitutes bench for the Mullingar encounter (throw-in 3.30pm), as does Ciaran Curley who started at full-forward in the 1-18 to 0-15 loss to Derry at Croke Park.

Veteran attacker Dolan, who scored three points as a substitute against Derry, is pencilled in at top of the left.

Gavin, meanwhile, will lead the team from full-back having recovered from the burns he suffered on his shoulder and face in a recent work accident involving boiling water - he is a technical service representative for Chem-Aqua water treatment.

Flanagan has also made a couple of positional switches with John Gaffey now stationed at wing back, James Dolan moving to wing forward and Ger Egan in the opposite corner to Dolan.

Looking forward to getting his side's Championship campaign underway at Cusack Park, Gavin told the Westmeath Examiner: "It's going to be great occasion. Hopefully it won't get to us - we'll just go out there and focus on the football.

"Carlow are going to be flying, and if we put ourselves in their position and they were in our position, we'd be coming up here looking for a scalp.

"So that's the way Carlow are going to approach it. They're going to give it one hell of a shot, and we just have to match them for energy and work-rate, and hopefully the scores will materialise and we'll come out on top."

WESTMEATH (SFC v Carlow): Gary Connaughton; Mark McCallon, Kieran Gavin (capt), Kevin Maguire; Doron Harte, Paul Sharry, John Gaffey; David Duffy, John Heslin; Kieran Martin, Callum McCormack, James Dolan; Ger Egan, Denis Glennon, Dessie Dolan.

Subs: Eoin Carberry, Damian Dolan, Aaron Purcell, Paul Bannon, Darragh Daly, Dennis Corroon, Ciaran Curley, Lorcan Smith, Ronan Foley.

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