Dessie Dolan is now back in contention for Garrycastle after a spell in the United States.
Shay Murtagh Precast Westmeath SFC Semi-Final Preview
MARYLAND face the toughest of asks this weekend when they take on reigning champions and local powerhouses Garrycastle in the semi-finals of the Westmeath SFC (Sunday, Cusack Park, 2.30pm).
After winning the intermediate title in 2008, Maryland's largely youthful team have managed to establish themselves firmly as a top-flight senior side (mainly under the stewardship of highly-rated current manager Finbar Egan).
But Garrycastle, now under the tutelage of Galway's Paul Clancy, are bidding for a fourth successive Flanagan Cup triumph, and with ace marksman Dessie Dolan having recently returned following a stint in the United States, will take some beating at Westmeath headquarters.
Maryland have some potentially debilitating injury problems to boot, with defender James Reynolds definitely ruled out following major surgery to a ruptured spleen. Forward John Reilly is beginning to make progress following a shattered collarbone, but having missed the recent quarter-final games against Castledaly (which included a 2-9 to 2-8 replay win), is not expected to feature this weekend.
Darren Malynn is also carrying a slight injury but is expected to play, while Maryland are also in a position to call on the services of stoic defender John Cunningham, who returned to training in recent weeks following a two-year spell working in Germany.
Finbar Egan said: "You have a 50-50 chance in every game, but we're fully respectful of what Garrycastle bring to the table. They contested two All-Ireland Club finals earlier in the year, and have three successive Westmeath titles to their credit, and have some formidable players. We're very much a young club on the rise, but we won't be found wanting for effort."
Garryacstle, meanwhile, are thought to have major injury concerns over James Dolan and Seanie O'Donoghue. Garrycastle progressed straight to the semi-finals stage as a result of topping their qualification division, and have contested eight county finals since 2001.
The other semi-final, between Mullingar Shamrocks and St Loman's, takes place afterwards in Cusack Park at 4pm.