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Three changes to Westmeath U21 team for duel with Dubs

Wednesday, 1st March, 2017 1:42pm

Story by Kieran Galvin
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Three changes to Westmeath U21 team for duel with Dubs

Matthew Darling - named on Westmeath U21 team for Leinster quarter-final v Dublin.

Three changes to Westmeath U21 team for duel with Dubs

Matthew Darling - named on Westmeath U21 team for Leinster quarter-final v Dublin.

The Westmeath U21 football team for tonight's Leinster quarter-final against Dublin shows three changes from the team which defeated Meath in the previous round.

Athlone's Matthew Darling is among the players drafted in along with Jack Kearney and Sam Duncan. Darling has been selected at wing-back instead of Ian McGovern; Kearney replaces the suspended Finbar Coyne (a big loss to the team); and Sam Duncan comes in for Tye Adamson.

In the opening round, Westmeath defeated Meath on a scoreline of 2-8 to 0-12, with a late goal from Rosemount's Boidu Sayeh securing a dramatic win in miserable weather conditions (see report and the views of Westmeath manager John Keane in this week's Westmeath Independent).

Now Westmeath face defending Leinster champions Dublin at Lakepoint Park (home ground of St Loman's Mullingar) tonight (Wednesday, throw-in 7.30pm).

Meanwhile, rising star Con O'Callaghan has been named in the Dublin team despite the fact that his club, Cuala, are preparing for the All-Ireland hurling final. Cuala will take on Clare's Ballyea in the All-Ireland club decider on St Patrick's Day, but O'Callaghan has been named at centre-forward on the Dublin U21 team.

O'Callaghan has links to Westmeath in that his father Maurice played football and hurling for the Lake County. And Con's grandfather, Comdt Dinny O'Callaghan served as Westmeath County Board chairman during the 1960s.

Con O'Callaghan played a key role in the Coláiste Eoin team which defeated Marist College in the 2014 Leinster Schools final, and his star has continued to rise in football and hurling since.

The scale of the challenge facing Westmeath is quite evident when you consider that O'Callaghan is one of eight players that started in Dublin's narrow All-Ireland semi-final defeat to eventual champions Mayo last year.

Colm Basquel, an All-Ireland club medal winner with Ballyboden St Enda's last year, is another danger man in the Dublin attack.

Westmeath (U21 football team v Dublin): 1 Kevin Fagan (Tubberclair); 2 Peter Murray (The Downs), 3 Ronan Wallace (Multyfarnham), 4 Boidu Sayeh (Rosemount); 5 Daire Conway (Shandonagh), 6 Mark Kelly (The Downs), 7 Matthew Darling (Athlone); 8 Niall Mitchell (The Downs), 9 Liam O'Reilly (Milltownpass); 10 Shane Clavin (St Malachy's), 11 Ronan O'Toole (St Loman's Mullingar), 12 Eoin O'Brien (Coralstown/Kinnegad); 13 Jack Kearney (Ballynacargy), 14 Sam Duncan (Milltownpass), 15 Darren Giles (Coralstown/Kinnegad).

Dublin (U21 football team v Westmeath): Evan Comerford; Eoin Murchan, Cillian O'Shea, Darren Byrne; Shane Clayton, Sean McMahon, Brian Howard; Andy Foley, Donal McIlgorm; Glenn O'Reilly, Con O'Callaghan, Colm Basquel; Chris Sallier, Aaron Byrne, Tom Fox.


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