Westmeath manager Paul Bealin is optimistic his outfit will stay the course against All-Ireland champions Dublin on Sunday.
Westmeath’s return to the league’s top tier was marked by an eight-point defeat to Cork last weekend and Bealin was disappointed by the manner in which his side faded from the contest in the final quarter. The interval scoreline was tied at 0-5 apiece, but Cork killed the game with nine consecutive points to Westmeath’s one at the change of ends.
Dublin travel to Mullingar for the second round of league fixtures and while accepting a result will be difficult to garner, the Lake County manager is hopeful his outfit will be competitive over the 70 minutes.
“We are still finding our feet in Division 1,” noted Bealin. “We matched Cork for 40 minutes and just didn’t have it after that to stay with them. This weekend we are hopeful we will be able to match Dublin for a lot longer than 40 minutes. It is a big ask, but you’re not going to get anything easy in Division 1.”
In team news, Brian McIver has made three changes to the Derry team that drew with Tyrone for this weekend’s trip to Killarney. Niall Holly comes in for Patsy Bradley at midfield; Kevin Johnston replaces Benny Heron in the right corner-forward slot, while Ciaran McGoldrick gets the nod for the number 15 shirt ahead of Ciaran McFaul.
Tyrone boss Mickey Harte has rung wholesale changes for the visit of Mayo with starting berths handed to Peter Hughes, Tiernan McCann, Ronan O’Neill, Colm Cavanagh and Emmet McKenna. For Mayo, Jason Gibbons replaces the injured Tom Parsons at midfield.
Meanwhile, Henry Shefflin, Brian Hogan and Jackie Tyrrell have not been included in the Leinster squad for this weekend’s Inter-provincial semi-final against Ulster.
DERRY (NFL Div 1 v Kerry): T Mallon; D Brown, C McKaigue, D McBride; G O’Kane, M Lynch, A McAlynn; F Doherty, N Holly; SL McGoldrick, J Kielt, E Lynn; K Johnston, E McGuckian, C McGoldrick.
MAYO (NFL Div 1 v Tyrone): R Hennelly; K Keane, G Cafferkey, C Boyle; L Keegan, S McHale, B Harrison; A O’Shea, J Gibbons; C Carolan, K Higgins, A Gallagher; K McLoughlin, A Moran, D Coen.
TYRONE (NFL Div 1 v Mayo): N Morgan; C Clarke, B Tierney, C McGinley; P Harte, T McCann, C Cavanagh; C Grugan, E McKenna; S McGuigan, P Hughes, D McCurry, M Donnelly, R O’Neill.
ARMAGH (NFL Div 2 v Down): P McEvoy; A Mallon, C Vernon, P Hughes; M Shields, C McKeever, C Rafferty; S Harold, E Rafferty; B Mallon, K Dyas, T Kernan; J Clarke, S Campbell, R Tasker.
DOWN (NFL Div 2 v Armagh): S Harrison; D McCartan, P Turley, D O’Hagan; R Boyle, A Carr, C Garvey; K McKernan, R Mallon; D O’Hanlon, M Poland, J Johnston; D O’Hare, N Madine, C Maginn.
LAOIS (NFL Div 2 v Louth): G Brody; R Kehoe, M Timmons, P O’Leary; D Strong, P Begley, P McMahon; K Meaney, J O’Loughlin; J Finn, D Kingston, B Sheehan; R Munnelly, C Meredith, D Conway.
MONAGHAN (NFL Div 2 v Meath): R Beggan; R Wylie, D Wylie, F Kelly; D Mone, C Walshe, C Boyle; G Doogan, P Finlay; T Kerr, S Gollogly, P Kennan; D Malone, J McCarron, C McGuinness.
FERMANAGH (NFL Div 3 v Sligo): C Snow; J Woods, T Daly, M O’Brien; D McCusker, R McCluskey, B Mulrone; R O’Callaghan, E Donnelly; C Cullen, R Jones, L Cullen; E Maguire, S Quigley, T Corrigan.
SLIGO (NFL Div 3 v Fermanagh): A Devaney; R Donovan, M Quinn, K Cawley; C Harrison, N Ewing, J Kelly; J Kilcullen, C Griffin; P Hughes, M Breheny, E McHugh; A Marren, D Kelly, S Coen.
WEXFORD (NFL Div 3 v Roscommon): S Roche; R Tierney, G Molloy, C Carty; B Malone, J Breen, T Rossitor; D Waters, P Byrne; C Kehoe, M Furlong, B Brosnan; C Lyng, J Holmes, K O’Grady.
ANTRIM (NFL Div 4 v Wicklow): C Kerr; K O’Boyle, M Johnstone, J Crozier; T Scullion, M Sweeney, J Laverty; M McCann, N McKeever; C Kelly, M Pollock, P Kelly; P Cunningham, B Hasson, R McGrady.
CLARE (NFL Div 4 v Leitrim): P De Loughrey; Stephen Collins, K Hartnett, M McMahon; M Ó Murphy, D Ryan, S Hickey; G Brennan, C O’Connor; S Brennan, S McGrath, Sean Collins; M O’Leary, D Tubridy, J Malone.
LEINSTER panel (Inter-provincial v Ulster): G Maguire (Dublin), P Kelly (Dublin), J Boland (Dublin), C Keaney (Dublin), R O’ Dwyer (Dublin), D Sutcliffe (Dublin), P Ryan (Dublin), M Carton (Dublin), D O’Callaghan (Dublin), P Murphy (Kilkenny), T Walsh (Kilkenny), E Larkin (Kilkenny), C Fennelly (Kilkenny), E Murphy (Kilkenny), A Fogarty (Kilkenny), C Kenny (Wexford), L Chin (Wexford), R Keogh (Wexford), A Shore (Wexford), J Guiney (Wexford), G Sinnott (Wexford), J Bergin (Offaly), D Currams (Offaly), W Hyland (Laois), D English (Carlow), N O’Brien (Westmeath).
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved