THE Leinster Championship commences this weekend with the meeting of Westmeath and Carlow in Cusack Park, Mullingar with the winner rewarded with a date against the Dubs on the Saturday night of the June Bank Holiday weekend.
Westmeath have had a good 2013 to date gaining promotion to the top flight of Division 1 whilst Carlow struggled to make an impact in Division 4 with only London finishing below them.
I was impressed with Westmeath in their recent league final against Derry in which the final score did not do them justice.
They play the system that is now common place with many teams and operate with 12 men retreating into defence and hitting teams on the counter-attack.
It was the pace of their movement up front which caused Derry plenty of problems with Denis Coroon, Ciarán Curley and Denis Glennon all showing well for possession.
The clash of Brendan Murphy and John Heslin will be worth the entry fee alone in Mullingar, and if Carlow are to have a chance Murphy must dominate the midfield exchanges.
Confidence and momentum would appear to be with the Lake County going into this clash after some impressive hard fought victories coming from behind in many of their games this year.
Carlow manager Anthony Rainbow will be looking to replicate the shock championship win of two years ago against Louth but Westmeath hold all the aces in this one and with Dessie Dolan fit again, it is hard to see any upset on the cards.