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‘Beasts’ from North and South Coming to TEG Cusack Park on Sunday

With the sporting spoilsport that was the dreaded ‘Beast from the East’ having thankfully disappeared, Westmeath’s hurlers and footballers will play out their second league double-header of 2018 next Sunday in TEG Cusack Park.

Yours truly was in Ruislip last Sunday week and can confirm that, far from being the widely anticipated walk in McGovern Park, the men in maroon and white, in what was a remarkably similar story to Netwatch Cullen Park, rode their luck with the disallowing of a late ‘goal’ by the hosts the key to edging Michael Ryan’s charges unsteadily over the line.

While Westmeath have played four and commendably won all four league matches to date, the performances have been patchy. After the win in Carlow, in all three fixtures against Kildare, Meath and London, our inability to clinically put away seemingly inferior teams, when in a position to do so, was almost fatal each time.

Accordingly, a vastly improved display will be needed when Kerry come to town next Sunday. If Carlow win in Navan at the same time, Westmeath have to at least draw against the Kingdom to secure a place in the 2A decider.

Westmeath and Kerry have met on 39 occasions to date in the National Hurling League. Westmeath have won 20 times, four games were drawn, and Kerry have been victorious on 15 occasions, including the divisional final in Limerick three years ago when the men in the famous green and gold jerseys scored five goals in the opening 23 minutes en route to overturning Ryan’s shell-shocked charges (who had, remarkably, defeated the same opponents by 15 points in a round robin game in Tralee just four weeks earlier).

The results between the sides over the years have been as follows:

26/4/1965, Croke Park, Kerry 2-5 Westmeath 2-5 (draw)

2/5/1965, Nenagh, Kerry 8-11 Westmeath 5-16

20/4/1969, Galway, Westmeath 4-13 Kerry 5-7

8/11/1970, Tralee, Kerry 5-5 Westmeath 1-10

10/10/1971, Cusack Park, Kerry 5-6 Westmeath 2-6

17/9/1972, Tralee, Kerry 6-10 Westmeath 4-10

7/10/1973, Cusack Park, Westmeath 1-14 Kerry 1-5

13/10/1974, Cusack Park, Westmeath 4-9 Kerry 3-3

3/10/1976, Cusack Park, Westmeath 3-13 Kerry 2-8

29/10/1978, Tralee, Westmeath 2-7 Kerry 0-4

8/3/1981, Tralee, Westmeath 1-6 Kerry 0-6

1/11/1981, Collinstown, Westmeath 1-10 Kerry 0-11

31/10/1982, Cusack Park, Kerry 1-12 Westmeath 1-6

16/10/1983, Causeway, Westmeath 2-8 Kerry 3-5 (draw)

21/10/1984, Castletown-Geoghegan, Westmeath 1-8 Kerry 0-7

6/10/1985, Collinstown, Westmeath 1-11 Kerry 0-8

8/11/1987, Cusack Park, Westmeath 2-12 Kerry 1-10

5/3/1989, Ballybunion, Westmeath 4-11 Kerry 3-10

22/3/1992, Castletown-Geoghegan, Westmeath 3-11 Kerry 0-10

7/3/1993, Tralee, Kerry 1-9 Westmeath 2-4

27/2/1994, Tralee, Kerry 1-11 Westmeath 1-8

13/4/1997, Cusack Park, Kerry 2-17 Westmeath 1-7

11/7/1998, Nenagh, Kerry 2-8 Westmeath 2-8 (draw)

25/7/1998, Nenagh, Kerry 1-11 Westmeath 2-6

22/4/2001, Cusack Park, Westmeath 2-16 Kerry 1-7

5/8/2001, Croke Park, Kerry 4-14 Westmeath 3-10

19/4/2003, Cusack Park, Kerry 2-21 Westmeath 2-10

25/4/2004, Tralee, Westmeath 4-21 Kerry 0-9

10/4/2005, Kilmoyley, Westmeath 4-18 Kerry 6-10

11/3/2006, Cusack Park, Westmeath 2-9 Kerry 2-9 (draw)

14/7/2007, Cusack Park, Westmeath 1-14 Kerry 1-11

10/2/2008, Tralee, Westmeath 0-17 Kerry 1-11

5/4/2009, Tralee, Westmeath 0-18 Kerry 2-11

12/3/2011, Tralee, Kerry 1-15 Westmeath 1-13

26/2/2012, Cusack Park, Westmeath 0-19 Kerry 3-8

24/2/2013, Tralee, Kerry 2-10 Westmeath 0-13

9/3/2014, Cusack Park, Kerry 3-13 Westmeath 2-15

8/3/2015, Tralee, Westmeath 3-18 Kerry 0-12

4/4/2015, Limerick, Kerry 5-17 Westmeath 3-17

For some totally and utterly inexplicable reason, Fermanagh footballers tend to be dismissed by Lake County fans whenever we are due to face them. The 2015 Qualifiers loss in Cavan made it three out of three championship ‘back door’ wins for the Ernesiders against Westmeath.

Make no mistake about it, Colin Kelly’s troops are up against it when Rory Gallagher’s high-flying men in green and white come to Mullingar on Sunday. Our league record against Fermanagh is also poor. In 13 meetings we have registered just two very narrow wins and three draws. The last of the latter came under the tutelage of the late Páidí Ó Sé in 2004. Of course, we all know what happened a few short months later and, while Kelly’s Delaney Cup targets may (understandably) be more modest than those of the championship-obsessed Ventry maestro, a defeat on Sunday would most likely ensure another frustrating spring in football’s third tier for the Lake County in 2019.

The 13 National Football League matches between the counties went as follows:

15/11/1970, Irvinestown, Fermanagh 0-12 Westmeath 1-7

10/11/1972, Cusack Park, Fermanagh 1-9 Westmeath 0-2

9/12/1973, Lisnaskea, Fermanagh 1-10 Westmeath 1-6

1/11/1984, Irvinestown, Westmeath 0-7 Fermanagh 0-7 (draw)

24/11/1985, Cusack Park, Fermanagh 1-7 Westmeath 0-6

30/11/1986, Enniskillen, Westmeath 0-11 Fermanagh 0-11 (draw)

6/12/1987, Castletown-Geoghegan, Westmeath 2-9 Fermanagh 0-8

12/2/1989, Irvinestown, Fermanagh 2-4 Westmeath 0-6

11/2/1990, Castletown-Geoghegan, Fermanagh 0-12 Westmeath 0-6

17/2/1991, Lisnaskea, Fermanagh 1-8 Westmeath 0-9

9/2/1992, Athlone, Fermanagh 0-8 Westmeath 0-6

5/3/1995, Enniskillen, Westmeath 2-5 Fermanagh 0-10

15/2/2004, Enniskillen, Westmeath 0-12 Fermanagh 1-9 (draw)

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