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Mullingar finally get to breach the 'Castle

MULLINGAR Shamrocks finally captured their 11th Westmeath SFC crown in Cusack Park yesterday at the fourth time of asking, putting their recent Garrycastle hoodoo to rest with a 0-12 to 1-8 victory over this year's All-Ireland club finalists.

Shamrocks had lost deciders in each of the last two years to Garrycastle as well as drawing last week's encounter.

But they made no mistake yesterday in a tense victory, despite a first-half goal from James Dolan and a three-point half-time deficit.

Seán Daly helped himself to five points, including a vital free which put Shamrocks into a lead going into the final throes of an absorbing encounter, which featured Dessie Dolan blasting a 25-metre free off the Mullingar crossbar in a vain attempt to claw back the lead.

Shamrocks now have a home tie against the winner of tonight's Evening Herald Dublin SFC final in their Leinster club opener on November 11.

ST Patrick's of Louth caused the upset of the weekend in beating Rhode in Offaly in yesterday's AIB Leinster club SFC opener in O'Connor Park, thanks mainly to the inspirational display of Wee county captain, Paddy Keenan.

Niall McNamee starred for Rhode, kicking 1-5 (0-4f) of their tally but with just two other scorers contributing a pair of points between them, Rhode were always going to struggle.

As it happened, McNamee's goal gave them hope when the visitors looked set to pull away but they held their nerve to prevail by two points to set up a last eight match with Kildare Champions, Sarsfields.

WICKLOW champions St Patrick's managed to oust five-time Leinster club winners Éire Óg from the competition yesterday in Aughrim, winning out eventually by 3-10 to 2-11 after extra-time.

Their prize is a home quarter-final against Laois kingpins, Portlaoise while Emmet Óg of Longford will meet Navan O'Mahony's in the final match of the round after they beat Wexford representatives, St Anne's in Pearse Park yesterday.

Meanwhile, Colm Cooper is set to captain Kerry for a third successive year after Dr Crokes were crowned Kings of the Kingdom in Tralee yesterday, with a 2-13 to 0-8 win over Dingle.