Westmeath secured promotion to Division 1 for 2020 after they beat Kerry last weekend. However, with the new format for 2020 it looks like they could end up straight back in Division 2 for 2021, they have 5 tough games, very tough games in fact, as their reward for getting up to the top flight.
The 2020 League will see Division 1 be split into a Group 1 and Group 2 format. Group 1 which Westmeath are in hasn’t been kind to them. 2018 All Ireland Champions, Tipperary, the winner of the Kilkenny and Cork game ( which is on this coming weekend), Waterford and Galway. Westmeath will do very well to win a game in my opinion, but then again the other argument is that is where they want to be. So it’s a catch 22 situation, my argument though is looking at Group 2 it appears easier on paper at least, why weren’t they put into that ? Group 2 will see Wexford, Clare, loser of Kilkenny/Cork, Dublin, Laois and Carlow, I am pretty sure Westmeath supporters would fancy on winning a game or two in this division.
It’s difficult to know whether playing in Group 1 will be of any benefit to Westmeath. What if they suffer hammerings? Will the GAA restructure the league again? Would the GAA consider scrapping the pre-season tournaments and do a 12 team division 1 ? Probably not. Westmeath don’t get me wrong are fully deserving of their promotion, my argument is the GAA should have been fairer to them instead of putting them in with the big boys, considering Group 2 looks a bit weaker.
Anyway, all the credit must go to Carlow who maintained their status in Division 1 after beating Offaly this weekend and Westmeath on their promotion but Offaly hurling is now in the doldrums, they have gone way back. Donal Og Cusack speaking on RTE League Sunday wasnt impressed with them either, he said “Every game for Offaly seems to carry the ‘make or break’ headline,Outside of the two decades of the 1980s and 90s, Offaly have only one Leinster Under-21 title. They’ve achieved zero in every other decade he said”.