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Pressure off Westmeath as they target an ambush


Cusack Park, Tomorrow 3.30

ONE victory never made a summer but, in a way, the pressure is off Westmeath as they prepare to host Antrim in Mullingar, writes FRANK ROCHE.

Some local observers were fearful of defeat against Carlow, which would have left them short odds for the Christy Ring Cup next summer.

Instead, following their 2-19 to 2-17 success, Westmeath have a decent chance of survival, even if they were to lose against the two favoured candidates to reach the Leinster quarter-finals, namely Antrim and Laois.

First up the Saffrons, who endured a horrible league - losing every match in 1B as a prelude to relegation after play-offs defeats to both Laois and Kerry.

Yet they bounced back by edging Laois last Sunday and, given that Westmeath seldom enough beat Antrim, their underdog status even at home is understandable. Full-back Tommy Doyle was a defensive rock against Carlow, Derek McNicholas and Niall O'Brien excelled up front in the second half while veteran Brendan Murtagh produced a wonder goal ... manager Michael Ryan will require big 70 minutes from all four of those key men, plus midfielder Eoin Price, if they are to buck the odds here.

ODDS: Westm'th 13/5 Draw 10/1 Antrim 1/3