Westmeath and Offaly teams named for Leinster U-20 clash
Photo: Senan Baker scores a goal for Westmeath in last week's Leinster U-20 quarter-final versus Longford. Photo: John McCauley.
Westmeath have named their team to play Offaly in the Leinster Under-20 football championship semi-final tonight (Thursday) at TEG Cusack Park (throw-in 7.30pm).
Following the dramatic penalty shoot-out win over Longford, Westmeath manager Damien Gavin has opted to select an unchanged starting XV.
Senan Baker made a significant impact when introduced as a substitute against Longford, scoring a goal and converting two penalties in the shootout. But the young Caulry player - who was part of last year's Westmeath minor team - must again be content with a place on the bench.
There are no less than six Coralstown/Kinnegad players in the Westmeath team, two of whom have the same name - with a Ciaran Daly in defence and midfield.
Jordan McDonnell of St Joseph's scored three points when sprung from the bench versus Longford, and Gavin was delighted with the contribution of his subs.
"Senan (Baker) buried the ball in the top corner with his first touch. We were roaring at him to fist it over! Jordan (McDonnell), Liam Moran and Kehn Ruzzle came on and they all did well. Also, Jack Torpey came back in extra-time and did well," said Gavin afterwards.
"There was a great bit of fight in us. That’s the most important thing you can have in any team. If you have a bit of spirit and a bit of fight in you, you always have a chance.”
Senior panellist Brandon Kelly excelled against Longford, but Gavin warned that significant improvement would be needed overall for the clash with Offaly.
"We’ll have to improve an awful lot when we play Offaly. The lads who started are looking over their shoulders. The competition for places is driving lads on. Nobody is bigger than the team,” he said.
Gavin described the Longford match as "a great local derby", adding that "the game against Offaly will be no different".
"There will probably be only a kick of a ball in it again, but it’s great to be there,” he said.
Westmeath pulled off a major surprise by defeating a fancied Kildare side in the opening round.
Offaly have also kept faith with their starting team from the quarter-final. Jack Bryant's goal from a penalty proved crucial in their narrow win over Wexford (1-10 to 1-9).
There are many connections between the Westmeath and Offaly teams in the latest instalment of this local derby.
Offaly attacker Aaron Kellaghan was captain of the St Joseph's Rochfortbridge team which won the Leinster Schools senior football 'A' title last year, and he will be in opposition to a number of former school team-mates tonight.
In addition, Offaly manager Declan Kelly is very familiar with the Westmeath football scene, having guided St Loman's Mullingar to Flanagan Cup success last year.
The other Leinster U-20 football semi-final between Meath and Dublin also takes place tonight (Thursday) at Páirc Tailteann (7.30).
Westmeath (Leinster U-20 FC v Offaly):
1. Sean Martin (Coralstown/Kinnegad)
2. Josh Gahan (Coralstown/Kinnegad)
3. Charlie Drumm (The Downs)
4. Ciaran Daly (Coralstown/Kinnegad)
5. Enda Gaffney (St Loman's Mullingar)
6. Darragh Seery (Ballinagore)
7. Michael Byrne (Athlone)
8. Jack Murtagh (Milltown)
9. Ciaran Daly (Coralstown/Kinnegad)
10. Shane Fleming (Coralstown/Kinnegad)
11. Kevin O'Sullivan (The Downs)
12. Brandon Kelly (Milltownpass)
13. Jack Torpey (Coralstown/Kinnegad)
14. Ben McGauran (Milltown)
15. Devin Hill (Killucan)
16. Michael Lynam (St Joseph's)
17. Liam Moran (The Downs)
18. Morgan Gavigan (St Malachy's)
19. Ronan Hanley (Tang)
20. Senan Baker (Caulry)
21. Jordan McDonnell (St Joseph's)
22. Stephen O'Connor (Athlone)
23. Jamie Corcoran (Tyrrellspass)
24. Kehn Ruzzell (St Mary's Rochfortbridge)
25. Darren Bitu Mnguni (Shandonagh)
26. Rory Sheahan (St Loman's Mullingar)
27. Eoghan McCabe (Tubberclair)
28. Jack Gallagher (St Malachy's)
29. Owen McCabe (Ballymore)
30. Matthew Cox (Rosemount)
31. Sean Leech (Killucan).
Offaly (Leinster U-20 FC v Westmeath):
1. Sean O'Toole (Shamrocks)
2. Fionn Dempsey (Bracknagh)
3. Kieran Dolan (Shamrocks)
4. Lee Pearson (Edenderry)
5. Rory Egan (Edenderry)
6. John Furlong (Tullamore)
7. Aaron Brazil (Shannonbridge)
8. Ed Cullen (Clara)
9. Morgan Tynan (Ballinagar)
10. Ciaran Egan (Tullamore)
11. Cathal Flynn (Ferbane)
12. Cathal Donoghue (Kilcormac/Killoughey)
13. Cormac Delaney (Clara)
14. Jack Bryant (Shamrocks)
15. Aaron Kellaghan (Rhode)
16. Killian Kavanagh (Walsh Island)
17. Cathal Ryan (Daingean)
18. Tom Hyland (Bracknagh)
19. Harry Plunkett (Tullamore)
20. Gavin Young (Rhode)
21. Darragh Flynn (Ferbane)
22. Mikey Cunningham (Bracknagh)
23. Keith O'Neill (Clonbullogue)
24. Cormac Egan (Tullamore).