Derry set to edge out resurgent Westmeath

Updated: Sunday, 28 Apr 2013 12:12

Few would have predicted this fixture as an Allianz Football League Division 2 final but both teams have used the early season to boost confidence ahead of the summer.

Westmeath reeled off win after win against the odds early on in Division 2 and produced football many considered beyond their capabilities on a consistent basis.

Bernard Flynn told RTÉ this morning that the mood in the county has completely changed this spring: "It is great for Westmeath to be in Division 1. There is a new found confidence and attitude.

"They made 10 changes the last day when they played Derry. It is a different team this time.

"A lot of the young players like Callum McCormack, Kieran Martin, John Heslin, are really standing up to the mark.

"Derry should just about do it. I think Westmeath will be closer. There is a huge crowd going up from here but I think Derry just might shade it."

Kieran Gavin and Dessie Dolan are named on the bench for the Lake County and they could be useful options late on.

Doron Harte and Paul Sharry are in the team with a host of changes from the experimental side that played Brian McIver’s deployed on the last day of league fixtures.

After a rocky start Derry rallied well to earn a place in this Croke Park meeting, topping the table.

Captain Mark Lynch is in their team after a hand injury forced him out two previous games.

Benny Heron takes a spot in attack at the sake of Lee Kennedy.

It has been a fantastic start to the year by Westmeath and it leaves them in good shape ahead of a Leinster Football Championship clash with Carlow in three weeks time.

There is little pressure on the them despite the huge interest in the county but this game might just be too much with Derry making good strides in the last number of matches.

Verdict: Derry