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Heslin to lead Westmeath to victory



(Mullingar, Tomorrow, 3.30)

IT'S amazing what one relatively emphatic victory can do for the mood in a county: Westmeath travelled to Louth on the back of a demoralising league campaign but cut loose in Drogheda, scoring 3-14, with John Heslin a star reborn at full-forward.

Suddenly, the talk was of a Leinster semi-final and maybe (whisper it) that elusive first championship victory over Meath.

Steady on. Westmeath have toppled one team destined for Division Four; now they face another. World-beaters they are not.

Over the past decade, Wexford's Leinster form graph easily eclipses Westmeath's. Trouble is, the resolute group that peaked under Jason Ryan has largely broken up and David Power endured a difficult league baptism - even if last-day victory over Tipperary salvaged some pride while underlining the enduring class of Ciarán Lyng.

Tom Cribbin has made three changes from the Louth game. The return of a fit-again Paul Sharry was expected, but calling up Denis Corroon (not long back from Britain) and Ronan Foley has raised a few eyebrows; ditto the relocation of Kieran Martin.

ODDS: West 2/5, Draw 15/2, Wex 11/4

VERDICT: Westmeath