Daire Hynes, Milltown, in action in the Westmeath IFC. His side face Milltownpass in the semi-final on Saturday at TEG Cusack Park.

Massive weekend ahead in football championship

It’s semi-final time in the various Westmeath football championships this weekend and it should be a great one, with some mouth-watering games down for decision at all adult grades.

Senior is the big one and St Loman’s, Mullingar and Coralstown/Kinnegad will be fancied to get to the final, but nothing is certain in sport and they will be tested every step of the way in their respective games against Tyrrellspass and Caulry.

Tyrrellspass have shown remarkable consistency over the years and they are not in unfamiliar territory here: they know how to win at this stage and experience won’t be a burden. St Loman’s will be wary and they have to block out all the nonsense about this championship being over very early and about their name being engraved on the cup even before the group stages were done and dusted. Such is never the case.

Caulry, unlike Tyrrellspass, are hunting in new ground now. They are in uncharted territory and facing a Coralstown/Kinnegad side that can probably see their first county final in many years. In that sense, it’s a bit dangerous, too, for Jack Cooney, Pascal Kelleghan and this emerging Coralstown/Kinnegad side. They will know they have been in a game by the time Caulry have finished, of that there is no doubt.

So, while St Loman’s, Mullingar and Coralstown/Kinnegad are expected to come through and set up a Flanagan Cup showdown, there could easily be a shock.

The intermediate grade is even more compelling. Tubberclair are facing St Malachy’s, a very dangerous opponent at this stage of the championship. Yes, Tubberclair carry the favourite’s tag and rightly so, but momentum is huge and Kenny McKinley’s St Malachy’s side have it. This is a 50-50 game and could go all the way to penalties (does anyone else feel this is a wrong way to decide things?).

Milltown versus Milltownpass is another intriguing game. Milltownpass just have the edge in that they have a stronger panel and momentum is on their side. Finbar Coyne is missing, but they have quality in key areas, especially up front, and it will take a big performance to stop them reaching another final.

That said, it will be no shock if Milltown prevail. They are very well-balanced and have a physical presence about them that will be difficult to stop.

Predicting the finalists here is just so foolish, but that’s punditry and since I can’t shy away, I’ll go for a Tubberclair versus Milltownpass decider.

The junior is also close as St Loman’s are good enough to challenge St Joseph’s and Ballycomoyle won’t fear Kilbeggan Shamrocks. But the latter ought to get there.

Whether we will have the final everyone hopes for (Kilbeggan versus St Joseph’s, which would be great for the traditionalists) is another question. St Loman’s could well spoil the party.

Westmeath GAA Fixtures

Saturday, 16th September

Clarke's Bar Junior 2 Football Championship Semi-Finals

Shandonagh: Rosemount v Delvin, 15.00, Jim Rock (standby referee: Rob Cornally; linesman: James McGrath; fourth official: Cathal Boland).

Shandonagh: Mullingar Shamrocks v Coralstown/Kinnegad, 17:00, Joe Fallon (standby referee: Derek Heffernan; linesman: Ray Farrelly; fourth official: Cathal Boland).

Shay Murtagh Precast Intermediate FC Semi-Final

TEG Cusack Park: Milltownpass v Milltown, 3pm, Alan Coyne (standby referee: Gary Hurley; linesman: Shane Maher; fourth official: Ken Gunning).

Shay Murtagh Precast Senior FC Semi-Final

TEG Cusack Park: St Loman's Mullingar v Tyrrellspass, 5pm, Barry Nea (standby referee: Niall Ward; linesman: Damien Maher; fourth official: Ken Gunning).

Sunday, 17th September

Clarke's Bar Junior 1 FC Semi-Finals

Rochfortbridge: Kilbeggan Shamrocks v Ballycomoyle, 12.00, Sean Carroll (standby referee: Paul McCaughey; linesman: Vinny Cox; fourth official: Michael Moran).

Rochfortbridge: St Joseph's v St Loman's Mullingar, 1.30, Barry Kelly (standby referee: Mick Gordon, linesman: Ken Daly; fourth official: Michael Moran).

Shay Murtagh Precast Intermediate FC Semi-Final

TEG Cusack Park: Tubberclair v St Malachy's, 2.30, Enda Kelly (standby referee: Pat Fox; linesman: Cathal Boland; fourth official: Ken Daly).

Shay Murtagh Precast Senior FC Semi-Final

TEG Cusack Park: Coralstown/Kinnegad v Caulry, 4.30, Barry Pierce (standby referee: Mick Murtagh; linesman: Declan Nugent; fourth official: Ken Daly).

NOTE: Extra-time and 'Winner on the Day' (penalties) if necessary in all games.