Westmeath SFC: Heslin sees red as Connellan's return can't save Athlone

September 09, 2018

St Loman's John Heslin.
©INPHO/Morgan Treacy.

It was a bad day for John Heslin and his St. Loman's team-mates in the Westmeath SFC.

In the second part of last evening's double-header at TEG Cusack Park, Heslin received a straight red card in injury-time as St. Loman's suffered their first championship loss since last year's dramatic Leinster club SFC final against Moorefield at the hands of Tyrrellspass. The Westmeath captain's dismissal means he will miss St. Loman's final group match against Coralstown/Kinnegad next weekend, but Luke Dempsey's charges are already guaranteed at least a quarter-final spot.

In what was a repeat of the last two county finals, St. Loman's led by 1-7 to 0-4 at half-time thanks to a goal from impressive newcomer TJ Cox. But with Ger Egan nailing seven second half frees, and nine in all, Tyrrellspass stormed back to win by 0-16 to 1-10 and maintain their 100 per cent record. With Paul Sharry having recently undergone back surgery and Shane Dempsey having moved abroad, it's clear that Loman's face a tough task in their quest to win a four-in-a-row of Flanagan Cups.

In the opening game, Ray Connellan's return from the AFL couldn't save Athlone from a 0-12 to 3-12 defeat to The Downs. Goals from Adam Loughlin-Stones, Philip Doherty and Luke Loughlin propelled The Downs to a surprisingly comfortable win, which has left Athlone on the brink of exiting the championship. Connellan was recently released by St. Kilda after spending the past two years Down Under.

Meanwhile, Paschal Kellaghan looks set to join new Westmeath football manager Jack Cooney's backroom team after being overlooked for the manager's job in his native Offaly.

The pair have worked together with Rhode in recent years and it's expected that Kellaghan will vacate his role as a coach with Tipperary to take up a similar role with the Lake County.

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