Westmeath v Waterford, Sunday, 3 pm, Cusack Park, Mullingar
Westmeath will welcome Waterford to Mullingar on Sunday in the All-Ireland football qualifiers. The game throws in at 3 pm.
Westmeath come into the game after losing out to Laois in the Leinster quarter-final narrowly. Manager Jack Cooney will be looking for his side to put in a big performance here. He will look Kevin Maguire and Killian Daly in the heart of the defence at full back and centre back. In midfield, Sam Duncan may be given an opportunity. In attack players like Ger Egan, John Heslin and Kieran Martin will all look to come up with the scores.
Waterford come into the game after pushing Clare very close in the Munster quarter-final. They probably should have won that game in the end. Benji Whelan will look to Ray O Ceallaigh at full back and Shane Ryan at centre back to drive the side on. Shane Aherne and Tommy Prendergast will be in midfield once more. In attack, much will rely on Michael Curry and Dylan Guiry.
The sides meet in championship football for the first time. They have previously met in the Allianz League in 2017 when Westmeath won a division 4 league game 3-13 to 2-11.
Jack Cooney speaking to the Westmeath Examiner said “They (Waterford) proved from this year’s Munster football championship that they are capable of putting it up to the counties in the higher divisions. They almost beat Clare on that occasion and in last year’s All-Ireland qualifiers they sprung a massive shock after they dumped Wexford out of the championship. We certainly won’t be taking them for granted.”
Benji Whelan speaking to Waterford News and Star said “These players are going to grow from these games; they’re absolutely going to improve. Every game we’ve played this year, we’ve sat down assessed it and learned from it. The summer months is when lads want to play. If these proposals go ahead, it’s going to make things extremely difficult for the club player.”
Westmeath are favourites at odds of 1/10. Waterford are 15/2 to cause an upset and come away from Cusack Park with the win. The draw is 14/1. I expect Westmeath to win. Westmeath -7 in the handicap betting would be my selection.