By Kieran Galvin
Darren Quinn has been named in the Westmeath team in place of regular goalkeeper Gary Connaughton for this Saturday's All-Ireland first round qualifier against Louth.
Connaughton recently departed to the US for the rest of the summer and Quinn, Westmeath's deputy keeper in recent years, was naturally seen as the Tubberclair man's replacement. Quinn's involvement in Saturday's was thrown into doubt when it emerged he had been suffering from back spasms.
However, Quinn has been named in the team in what is the only change from the team which suffered a narrow and unlucky defeat to Louth in the Leinster championship clash at Navan on May 20.
In a cruel twist of fate, Connaughton broke his ankle in his first game since he moved to the US.
With Quinn making his first championship start, Rosemount's Eoin Carberry has been named as substitute goalkeeper for Saturday's qualifier at Cusack Park (throw-in: 7pm).
Midfield ace John Heslin has been passed fit to play, despite undergoing keyhole surgery for a knee cartilage problem last week.
Garrycastle's John Gaffey has again been selected at No. 3, as first-choice full-back Kieran Gavin continues his recovery from a long-standing quad muscle injury.
With home advantage on their side, Westmeath will be hoping to record an overdue win over Louth, who have been the dominant force in recent meetings between the counties.
Louth defeated Westmeath in the 2010 Leinster semi-final and twice during the 2011 Allianz Football League (the second time was the Division 3 final). In the opening round of this year's league, Louth also got the better of the Lake County men.
And, of course, avenging this year's Leinster championship defeat to the Wee County provides additional incentive for Pat Flanagan's charges.
Westmeath SF v Louth: 1. Darren Quinn, 2. Michael Curley, 3. John Gaffey, 4. Kevin Maguire, 5. Doron Harte, 6. Michael Ennis, 7. Daniel McDermott, 8. John Heslin, 9. Paul Bannon, 10. Kieran Martin, 11. Ger Egan, 12. James Dolan, 13. Denis Glennon, 14. David Glennon, 15. Paul Sharry.
Subs: 16. Eoin Carberry, 17. Aidan Finnan, 18. Ben Moran, 19. Kieran Sheridan, 20. Ronan Foley. 21. Callum McCormack. 22. Mark McCallon, 23. Philip Sheridan, 24. Trevor English, 25. Tommy Warburton, 26. John Egan.