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Two changes to Westmeath starting line-up ahead of Armagh clash

Friday, 7th July, 2017 12:23pm

Two changes to Westmeath starting line-up ahead of Armagh clash

Ciaran Curley in possession for Westmeath when the sides met in the league in 2013. PHOTO: JOHN MCCAULEY

The Westmeath team for Saturday's All-Ireland qualifier clash with Armagh shows two changes from the side which was hammered by Dublin in the Leinster semi-finals.

Sam Duncan of Milltownpass has been drafted in at wing-forward for his first Championship start, with Kelvin Reilly also selected for a starting berth.

Making way are Athlone's Alan Gaughan and Maryland's Callum McCormack, and there are also a number of positional changes, with Kieran Martin placed at centre-forward.

Up and coming young players such as Boidu Sayeh (Rosemount), Alex Gardiner (Garrycastle) and Finbar Coyne (Milltownpass) could be in contention to be sprung from the bench against Armagh.

Westmeath suffered a record 31-point defeat (4-29 to 0-10) to All-Ireland champions Dublin on June 25, and now face a very difficult task in lifting themselves for tomorrow evening's assignment against Armagh.

Interestingly, Armagh were on the other side of a one-sided game this season - during the Allianz Football League, they dished out a 30-point drubbing to Offaly, who Westmeath needed a replay to overcome in this year's Leinster championship.

Tom Cribbin's charges take on Armagh tomorrow evening (Saturday) at TEG Cusack Park (throw-in 7pm). The match will be preceded by the Westmeath camogie team taking on Waterford in the All-Ireland Premier Junior Championship at 4.45pm.

In addition to the challenge of lifting spirits following the annihilation at the hands of Dublin, Westmeath also have to buck the trend of a very poor Championship record against Ulster teams.

Since the introduction of the All-Ireland football qualifiers in 2001, Westmeath have been eliminated from the Championship by Ulster counties on ten occasions. One of those was at the All-Ireland quarter-final stage in 2004 when Derry defeated then Leinster champions Westmeath.

The other exits at the hands of Ulster teams as follows - Fermanagh (2002, 2013 and 2015), Monaghan (2003), Donegal (2007), Tyrone (2008), Derry (2010), Antrim (2011) and Cavan (2014). Indeed, the only Ulster counties Westmeath haven't lost to in the Championship are the two they have yet to face - Armagh and Down.

Back in 2013, Westmeath clinched promotion from Division 2 of the League with a win over Armagh, but the counties have yet to meet in the Championship.

Meanwhile, James Morgan of Crossmaglen Rangers returns to the Armagh team for the clash against Westmeath in Mullingar, with Mark Shields losing out.

Having lost to Down in their Ulster quarter-final, Armagh recorded a 0-20 to 0-11 win over Fermanagh in the first round of the qualifiers.

Westmeath will need to curb the influence of midfielder Niall Grimley, with Jamie Clarke is obviously a major dangerman in attack. Full-back Charlie Vernon and team captain Rory Grugan are also key figures for the Orchard men.

Westmeath (All-Ireland SFC Qualifiers Round 2B v Armagh)

1. Darren Quinn (Tyrrellspass)

2. Mark McCallon (Garrycastle)

3. Kevin Maguire (Caulry)

4. Jamie Gonoud (Tyrrellspass)

5. David Lynch (St Malachy's)

6. Frank Boyle (Killucan)

7. James Dolan (Garrycastle)

8. Paul Sharry (St Loman's Mullingar)

9. Ger Egan (Capt., Tyrrellspass)

10. John Egan (Athlone)

11. Kieran Martin (Maryland)

12. Sam Duncan (Milltownpass)

13. Kelvin Reilly (St Loman's Mullingar)

14. John Heslin (St Loman's Mullingar)

15. Killian Daly (Mullingar Shamrocks)

 

Armagh (v Westmeath)

1. Blaine Hughes

2. Aaron McKay

3. Charlie Vernon

4. Paul Hughes

5. Aidan Forker

6. Brendan Donaghy

7. James Morgan

8. Stephen Sheridan

9. Niall Grimley

10. Ciaran O'Hanlon

11. Anthony Duffy

12. Rory Grugan

13. Jamie Clarke

14. Andrew Murnin

15. Gavin McParland

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