Clonkill duo Darragh Egerton (man of the match) and Brendan Murtagh (captain) after last year’s SHC final. Photo: John McCauley

Clonkill to begin four-in-a-row bid against Crookedwood

Few would bet against Clonkill retaining the Westmeath Examiner Cup and winning a fourth consecutive Westmeath senior hurling title in 2021 – though it would be an achievement nearly 90 years in the making.

It was Clonkill who last realised such a lofty achievement, bossing the county’s premier hurling competition between 1929 and 1932 back in what was still the Irish Free State. Some sides have come close to the magic quartet since – Castletown Geoghegan in 1959, Clonkill themselves in 1942, while Lough Lene Gaels, St Brigid’s, Delvin and Brownstown have managed hat-tricks – but not since 1932 has the four-in-a-row been achieved.

The Loughegar men take on newly-promoted senior ‘B’ champions Crookedwood on the opening day of this year’s championship, while Raharney and Castletown Geoghegan – the two clubs best positioned to stop Clonkill’s march – face each other in their opener. Meanwhile, Lough Lene Gaels will take on neighbours Castlepollard.

The draws for the county hurling championships took place online last Wednesday night, overseen by Brendan Shaw, Westmeath GAA fixtures secretary, and Westmeath hurling committee chairman Matty Conaty.

Meanwhile, at senior ‘B’ grade, Delvin will be looking to find their way back to the top tier, and begin their campaign against Fr Dalton’s, while Clonkill’s second-string – last year’s IHC kingpins – take on St Brigid’s, with Brownstown due to meet the winners of a 2020 playoff between Raharney and Cullion.

Slevin’s Coaches SHC ‘A’ draws

Round one: Lough Lene Gaels v Castlepollard, Raharney v Castletown Geoghegan, Crookedwood v Clonkill.

Round two: Castletown Geoghegan v Crookedwood, Castlepollard v Raharney, Clonkill v Lough Lene Gaels.

Round three: Castletown Geoghegan v Clonkill, Castlepollard v Crookedwood, Raharney v Lough Lene Gaels.

Round four: Lough Lene Gaels v Castletown Geoghegan, Crookedwood v Raharney, Clonkill v Castlepollard.

Round five: Lough Lene Gaels v Crookedwood, Raharney v Clonkill, Castlepollard v Castletown Geoghegan.

Slevin’s Coaches SHC ‘B’ draws

Round one: Delvin v Fr Dalton’s, Brownstown v Raharney or Cullion, St Brigid’s v Clonkill.

Round two: Raharney or Cullion v St Brigid’s, Fr Dalton’s v Brownstown, Clonkill v Delvin.

Round three: Raharney or Cullion v Clonkill, Fr Dalton’s v St Brigid’s, Brownstown v Delvin.

Round four: Delvin v Raharney or Cullion, St Brigid’s v Brownstown, Clonkill v Fr Dalton’s.

Round five: Delvin v St Brigid’s, Brownstown v Clonkill, Fr Dalton’s v Raharney or Cullion.