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€4.95 A look back at 2012


Best Wishes & Continued Success to

WESTMEATH GAA Congratulations to all county champions of 2012 Best of luck to all clubs in 2013

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CONTRIBUTORS Shane O’Brien Stephen Reilly Gerald Robinson Randal Scally

All rights reserved. No part of this publication can be published or reproduced in any way without the written permission of the author or Lynn Group Media © Copyright Lynn Group Media 2013 The opinions expressed in Maroon & White do not necessarily reflect those of the editor, publishers, Westmeath GAA or their agents. While every effort has been made to ensure that the information in this publication is correct, the publisher cannot accept responsibility for any errors that may appear.

ATHLONE ................................... 326 BALLINAGORE ......................... 194 BALLYCOMOYLE ...................... 228 BALLYMORE ............................. 164 BALLYNACARGY ...................... 198 BROWNSTOWN ........................ 158 BUNBROSNA ............................ 332 CASTLEDALY ............................ 239 CASTLEPOLLARD ..................... 308 CASTLETOWN GEOGHEGAN ........................... 372 CASTLETOWN-FINEACOOLE-WHITEHALL ................. 321 CAULRY ..................................... 305 CLANN GAELS........................... 344 CLONKILL .................................. 242 CORALSTOWN KINNEGAD ..... 354 CROOKEDWOOD ..................... 298 CULLION ................................... 169 DELVIN ...................................... 268 FR. DALTON’S .......................... 294 GARRYCASTLE ......................... 256 KILBEGGAN SHAMROCKS ...... 413 KILLUCAN ................................. 182 LOUGH LENE GAELS................ 160 Chairman’s address . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 Editor’s welcome . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 Tom Farrell . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 Senior football . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 Senior hurling . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15 Ladies football . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20 Camogie . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24 U21 football . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27 Minor football . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30 U21 hurling . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34 Minor hurling . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37 Paidi O’Se remembered . . . . . . . . . 40 All-Ireland final referees . . . . . . . . . 43 Handball . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 46 Eoin Price . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 48 John Heslin . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 52 Senior Scor . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 56 Pat Flanagan . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 58 Kieran Gavin . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 61 1963 minors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 64 Tommy Daly . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 68 Tally Hoe Stud . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 71 Matt Scally . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 74 Donall Boland . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 76 Johnny Greville . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 81 Jimmy Buckley . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 83 Richie Shaw . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 88 Niall Breslin . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 90 Cumann na mBunscol . . . . . . . . . . 92 U16 hurling . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 100 Football team of the year . . . . . . . 101

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LOUGHNAVALLEY ..................... 172 MARYLAND ............................... 286 MILLTOWN ................................ 264 MILLTOWNPASS ....................... 290 MOATE ALL WHITES ................ 232 MULLINGAR SHAMROCKS ...... 314 MULTYFARNHAM ..................... 364 RAHARNEY ............................... 214 RINGTOWN ............................... 281 ROSEMOUNT ............................ 377 SHANDONAGH .......................... 399 SOUTHERN GAELS................... 388 ST BRIGID’S .............................. 178 ST JOSEPH’S ............................ 210 ST LOMAN’S ............................. 174 ST MALACHY’S ......................... 396 ST MARY’S................................. 251 ST OLIVER PLUNKETT’S .......... 203 ST PAUL’S .................................. 206 TANG .......................................... 221 THE DOWNS.............................. 188 TUBBERCLAIR........................... 276 TURIN ......................................... 350 TYRELLSPASS........................... 390 Pat Lynagh . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 104 Ladies club . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 106 Scor na nOg . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 108 St. Loman’s Hospital . . . . . . . . . . 110 Mark Rohan . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 113 Aisling Conaty . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 114 Michael Fox . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 117 Club camogie . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 120 Noel Gavin . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 122 Friends we lost . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 126 Joe Fallon . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 132 Joe Gorman . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 135 Enda Mulvihill . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 140 Tommy Kelly . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 144 Hurling team of the year . . . . . . . 148 Jonathan Forbes . . . . . . . . . . . . . 151 Tom Carr . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 338 O’Reilly Mace . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 341 Oxigen.ie . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 346 Ronan McCarthy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 369 Tom Stuart-Trainor . . . . . . . . . . . . 382 Paul Daly . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 384 Westmeath New York . . . . . . . . . . 404 Paul Coleman . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 405 Belvedere House . . . . . . . . . . . . . 410 Paddy McGuire . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 420 Colleges . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 422 Coaching & Development . . . . . . 426 Catherine Daly . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 430 Referees’ Awards . . . . . . . . . . . . . 432


CHAIRMAN’S FOREWORD & EDITOR’S MESSAGE

CHAIRMAN’S FOREWORD

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wish to start off by saying how delighted and honoured I am to be the new chairman of the Westmeath county board. It is a massive honour for my family and my club, Tyrrellspass, which I have been a member of all of my life. It’s a highly-demanding and responsible position, but I’ve always loved a challenge and will endeavour to do the best I can for Westmeath GAA during my tenure. It is my intention to build on the excellent work carried out by my predecessor Tom Farrell and the outgoing secretary Pat Lynagh. Both men and the rest of the outgoing committee deserve our thanks and praise. Thanks also to the outgoing minor board chairman John Weir and Michael McHugh, who is continuing as secretary, for their efforts. Best wishes to the new chairman Liam McDaniel. I’ve climbed the administrative ladder to become chairman and would like to think Westmeath GAA will benefit from the experience I’ve gained over many years. I have held every position in my club, have served five years as Westmeath minor board chairman, one year as county board vice-chairman and a number of years as a Leinster Council delegate. I’ve also served as a Leinster Council Health & Safety Officer and sat on the Council’s Infrastructural Committee. In addition, I refereed for 34 years and I enjoyed every minute of it. It was with a heavy heart that I hung up my whistle at the start of this year, but it just wouldn’t have been possible for me to combine refereeing with my new role. James Savage was minor

board secretary when I was chairman, and I’m looking forward to working with him again, as I am with the rest of the new county executive. James and I enjoyed an excellent relationship and understanding. I’ve no doubt that we can work well together again. People who know me will know that I’m not one for the limelight. I’m only interested in working for the betterment of Westmeath GAA and intend to do this by working as quietly and as efficiently as possible. There are 47 clubs in this county between football and hurling, and I can assure them they will all be treated fairly and equally as one would expect of a county board. As much as I love to see our county teams do well, my priority lies with the clubs who are the grassroots of our Association. The recession has taken a heavy toll on many of our clubs and I want to make sure they receive all the support they can get during this

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difficult time. We need to provide proper coaching and facilities for our young players if we are to keep them involved in the GAA, and not lose them to other sports. I want to start something in Westmeath and by that I mean placing a renewed emphasis on coaching at all levels of football and hurling. My aim is to build a solid foundation for the future and I want to bring everyone with me. This is not about Sean Sheridan; it’s about the future of Westmeath GAA and it has to start with the youth. I have put in place a special committee comprising county board vice-chairman Ken Eades, Irish Language Officer Catherine Daly, Health & Safety Officer Joe Daly, Children’s Officer Frank Mescall and Michael O’Sullivan who will hold workshops for clubs in the coming weeks. One of the aims of these workshops will be to get feedback from the ordinary grassroots members on what we’re doing right and wrong. We will then hold an open forum to see where we go next. I want to improve relations between clubs and the county board, and to ensure everyone is pulling in the same direction. As a firm believer in coaching, I would like to see our paid coaches – who are doing a fantastic job in the schools – go into the clubs where their skills can be further utilised. I want club coaches to embrace this idea and not see it as a slight on their coaching ability. Coaches can always learn from other coaches. I also want clubs to know that our county team managers, including Pat Flanagan, Brian Hanley, Tommy Carr


and John Coyne, are available to give advice to club managers. They are eager to do their bit for the clubs and have no problem in making county players available to their clubs where possible. I’m also advocating additional tutoring for referees. Former AllIreland football referee Paddy Collins, whose expertise has been utilised outside this county, and former AllIreland hurling referee Dickie Murphy from Wexford, are two names I have in mind for this. I want to see improved standards across the board. If you have high playing standards at club level, you will have high playing standards at inter-county level. Down the road I can see more clubs having to amalgamate at underage level due to falling numbers (amalgamations have already been agreed upon for this year’s minor ‘premier’ hurling championship). This

is something we can turn to our advantage because it will result in more young players being exposed to a higher level of football and hurling. We haven’t won a Leinster minor football championship since 2000, but if clubs who are short of numbers can swallow their pride and amalgamate, we can put that right. When amalgamations or ‘group teams’ were last encouraged in the 1990s, we had a lot of underage success at inter-county level. I touched on the subject of facilities earlier. One of my objectives as chairman is to see the development of a new, larger covered stand at Cusack Park. People want comfort when they pay good money to watch games nowadays and the current stand in Cusack Park isn’t adequate. I’m not sure yet if we can afford to build a new stand in the current economic climate, but I can assure clubs the burden will not be placed on

them if we decide to proceed with the work. I would like to take this opportunity to wish all our clubs and county teams the very best for 2013. Our county footballers are well on their way to retaining their National League Division 2 status and I believe a Leinster title is a realistic target for them. Our county hurlers have a great chance of making progress in Leinster. I would like nothing better than to see us win a Leinster minor hurling title after all the work that has gone into underage hurling coaching in recent years. I am looking forward to our staging of the Pan European GAA Championship in Athlone on October 18 and 19 as part of The Gathering. In conclusion, I would encourage everyone in Westmeath GAA to raise the bar and to aim higher. If you don’t believe you can win Leinster and AllIreland titles, you never will! Sean O Siordain.

EDITOR’S MESSAGE

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would like to welcome you to the 2013 edition of ‘Maroon & White’, the official Westmeath GAA Yearbook, which looks back on another busy year for the Association in the Lake County. This book captures the high level of involvement and activity in print and photographs, and will prove an invaluable reference in years to come. 2012 began with Garrycastle winning their way through to the AllIreland club football final, which they lost to holders Crossmaglen Rangers after a replay. Making light of their underdog status, the Athlone-based club dominated the first 40 minutes of the drawn encounter at Croke Park, but Crossmaglen finished strongly to earn another bite at the cherry, and completed the job in emphatic fashion in the Kingspan Breffni Park

replay a fortnight later. While Garrycastle were blazing a path to Croke Park, the Westmeath senior footballers were struggling to find their feet in Division 2 of the National League and were staring at a quick return to Division 3 after defeats to Louth and Meath in the first two rounds. But John Heslin’s unexpected return from Australia marked a turning point in the season. Westmeath beat Galway in their next game and also registered wins over Monaghan and Derry to preserve their Division 2 status. In the Leinster championship, Pat Flanagan’s men were desperately unlucky to lose to Louth, but they avenged that defeat in the All-Ireland qualifiers before coming within a whisker of shocking Kerry at Cusack Park. Like Garrycastle against Crossmaglen, Westmeath held a commanding lead early in the second

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half, but a controversial refereeing decision which led directly to a Darran O’Sullivan goal, was just the break Kerry needed and they went on to secure victory by the narrowest of margins. Later in the year, Westmeath and Kerry Gaels were united in grief following the sudden death of Paidi O Se at the age of 57. Paidi was a legendary figure in both counties and will always hold a special place in the hearts of Westmeath supporters for ending our century-long wait for a Leinster senior football title in 2004. Westmeath football has been out of the limelight since that memorable summer, but there are signs that the good times may be about to return. Victories over Louth and Longford in their first two outings of the 2013 campaign have left Westmeath in a strong position to challenge for promotion from Division 2. This is the strongest and most talented panel of players Pat Flanagan has had at his disposal since becoming manager three years ago and he sees winning a Leinster title as a realistic goal this season. Westmeath hurling manager Brian Hanley is building a new team which should be targeting a Leinster semifinal spot this summer given the favourable draw they’ve been handed. Last year’s championship win over Antrim was a massive result, but Westmeath really need to be operating at a higher level in the National League to improve and that is why promotion from Division 2A is a must this year. 2012 was a memorable year for camogie with Aileen Lawlor becoming National President and Westmeath winning an All-Ireland junior ‘A’ championship title. The Westmeath ladies footballers won league promotion for the second successive year and are on course to win promotion again to Division 1 for 2014. They certainly can’t be accused of resting on their laurels since claiming All-Ireland intermediate honours in 2011. The World Handball Championships

came to Ireland last year and our local players gave excellent accounts of themselves. Congratulations to Robbie McCarthy jnr on retaining his All-Ireland 60x30 senior softballs title and on his various other successes throughout the year. Scor also produced two All-Ireland champions in the shape of the Ballycomoyle Question Time team and Peter Dolan from Moate All-Whites. What a year it was for local referees Barry Kelly and James McGrath who took charge of the drawn and replayed All-Ireland hurling finals respectively. This was an extraordinary achievement for Westmeath and, given the rarity of All-Ireland hurling finals ending in draws, is unlikely to be repeated. The local club championships were fiercely contested with replays in the senior football championship semifinal between Mullingar Shamrocks and St. Loman’s, and the final between Shamrocks and Garrycastle, providing an unexpected financial windfall for the county board. It was a case of third time lucky for Shamrocks when they finally dethroned four-in-a-row chasing Garrycastle after losing the 2010 and 2011 (after a replay) deciders to them. The county’s most northerly club, Castletown-Finea/Coole/Whitehall, won a first intermediate championship in their current guise, while Kilbeggan Shamrocks held off a young Mullingar Shamrocks side to take the junior title. In hurling, Clonkill got the better of old rivals Raharney to win back-toback Examiner Cups for the first time since the 1940s, while Crookedwood ended a seven-year itch to lift the intermediate title and return the Adrian Murray Cup to its spiritual home. Clonkill triumphed in the delayed 2011 junior ‘A’ final and won the 2012 version a few weeks later to retain their crown. Former Westmeath U21 and Castledaly footballer Mark Rohan, who was paralysed from the waist down following a motorcycle accident

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over a decade ago, was the toast of Irish sport when he won two gold medals at last summer’s Paralympic Games in London. Mark is an inspirational figure and the Westmeath footballers are lucky to have him lending his assistance this year. Olympic silver medallist John Joe Nevin and fellow Olympian Joseph Murphy, who hails from a well-known GAA family in Ballymore, also brought sporting glory to the Lake County in 2012 and were feted before thousands at their Cusack Park homecoming. Westmeath is now the capital of athletics in Ireland thanks to the opening of the new IAAF-standard six-lane indoor running track and arena at Athlone IT. At the time of writing, the college was preparing to host the Sigerson Cup final weekend which featured Athlone IT, UCC, DIT and DCU. The spotlight will be back on the Shannonside town in October when its hosts the Pan-European GAA championships. Last December’s annual convention witnessed major changes to the county executive. Sean Sheridan replaced Tom Farrell as chairman, James Savage succeeded Pat Lynagh as secretary, while Ken Eades, Joe Martin, Pat Reilly, Aidan Walsh, Denis Coyne and Catherine Daly were elected as vice-chairman, treasurer, assistant secretary, PRO, Development Officer and Irish Language Officer respectively. Catherine’s election is hugely significant as she’s the first woman to serve on the county executive. Her election came at the expense of legendary referee and administrator Paddy Collins, who served as county board secretary from 1976 to 2007. Paddy has given a lifetime of service to Westmeath GAA and hopefully this isn’t the last we’ve seen of him. A big thank you once again to the clubs for their assistance in compiling this Yearbook. Thanks also to our advertisers who continue to support this publication in difficult economic times. Randal Scally, Editor.


TOM FARRELL

A WORD FROM THE OUTGOING CHAIRMAN

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hile at times it was a lonely place to be, especially when tough decisions had to be made, my five years as chairman of the Westmeath county board were, overall, hugely enjoyable and a terrific experience. I feel privileged to have been involved at the coalface of Westmeath GAA and to have worked with many wonderful people at different levels. I would like to sincerely thank the outgoing county executive, the clubs, club delegates and everyone associated with Westmeath GAA for their support during my tenure. The first person I want to mention is Pat Lynagh, who served alongside me as secretary for the past five years. Pat was a pleasure to work with and, while we didn’t always agree on everything, our only interest was in working towards the betterment of Westmeath GAA. Great credit is also due to the county committee and outgoing treasurer Denis Coyne for the role they played in turning around our finances. Our income was up by €61,400 last year and we had an overall balance of €291,875. We are fortunate to have a wonderful main sponsor in the Annebrook House Hotel and Supporters’ Groups in both football and hurling whose fundraising efforts must be commended. Thanks also to the clubs who made their facilities available to our county teams for training. I owe a lot to my wife Goretti for being a rock of sense and for the good advice she gave me during my chairmanship. My five sons, who have all played football for Maryland at some stage (Trevor and Ronan also play hurling with Southern Gaels), and my two daughters, who played ladies football for Garrycastle and camogie for Drumraney, were also a great support to me. While I’ve decided to take a year out from GAA administration, I would be willing to serve the Association again at some stage in the future if the call comes. I now have the chance to look in from the outside, which is never a bad thing. I’m a member of the Rural and the Social & Inclusion Committees in Croke

Park so I’m still involved in some capacity. I would like to take this opportunity to wish the new chairman Sean Sheridan, the new secretary James Savage and the rest of the incoming county board executive every success in the future. I worked with Sean last year when he was vice-chairman and I’ve no doubt that he’ll put his own stamp on the chairman’s position. He has a wealth of experience as an administrator and was one of our leading referees up until his retirement at the end of last year. History was made at last December’s county convention when Catherine Daly became the first woman to be elected onto the county executive. This is a very welcome development indeed – the ladies are the unsung heroes of the GAA in my opinion – and I wish Catherine all the best in her role as Irish Language Officer. We cannot forget the enormous contribution Paddy Collins has made to our Association over many years. He is an outstanding administrator and, as far as I’m concerned, the greatest Gaelic football referee of all time. I step down as chairman with many cherished memories. The highlight of my first year (2008) was Clonkill’s winning of the All-Ireland intermediate club hurling championship under the lights at Croke Park. They were the first

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Westmeath club to win an All-Ireland title and it was truly a momentous night for Westmeath hurling. Raharney were very unlucky not to reach a Leinster senior club hurling final in 2010, but I felt Clonkill should have done better in the same competition last year with the players and experience they have. The standard of hurling in Westmeath has definitely improved over the past five years and this is reflected in our senior team consolidating their position in the Liam MacCarthy Cup. We successfully moved a motion after winning the Christy Ring Cup in 2010 that we be accommodated in the MacCarthy Cup and the challenge now is to build on last year’s fantastic Leinster championship victory over Antrim. A lot of good work has been done at underage level in the past decade – our U16 hurlers won the Adrian Murray Cup (All-Ireland U16 ‘B’ championship) for a third successive year in 2012 – and that’s coming to fruition now. However, it would be remiss of me not to mention our U21 hurlers’ defeat to Kildare last year. That was extremely disappointing and maybe suggests we are not as good as we think we are. In football, the major highlights were winning Division 2 of the National League in 2008 (we were very unlucky not to beat both Dublin and Tyrone in the championship after that) and Garrycastle’s historic capture of the Leinster senior club football title at the end of 2011. That was a massive breakthrough for Westmeath after The Downs, Athlone and Tyrrellspass had all lost provincial finals in the past. Garrycastle went on to reach the AllIreland final, and while they were beaten after a replay by Crossmaglen, who are the greatest club team of alltime, they can feel proud of their achievements and being such tremendous ambassadors for our county. Retaining our National League Division 2 status last year, coupled with our narrow defeat to Kerry in the championship (a game that we should have won), was very important for the development of Westmeath football. In 2010, we reached the Leinster U21 final under Brendan Hackett and a number


of players from that team are now beginning to come of age at senior level. Pat Flanagan has assembled a strong squad which, hopefully, will make a big impact this year. Supporters rightly bemoan our lack of success in minor football since 2000, but I can assure them that no effort is being spared by the minor board to develop young players and to put the right structures in place. I’d strongly agree with our minor manager Tommy Carr’s statement about young players having to make “lifestyle choices”. You’re either committed to it or you’re not. You cannot expect to win anything nowadays without giving the required commitment. Last year, following a decision taken at our club forum, the minor club football championship became our minor ‘premier’ championship. This proved to be a huge success with Moate AllWhites emerging as champions after a superb final against Athlone. Staying with the underage scene, I wish to complement our Games Development Manager Noel Delaney and his fellow coaches on their Trojan work. Thank you also to our coaches in the primary and secondary schools. Great credit is due to Derek Butler and Ollie Keating for their work with Comortas na mBunscol, the finals of which at Cusack Park are a great occasion and are always brilliantly supported by parents. We now have two permanent training centres in St. Loman’s and Athlone IT which cater for all our inter-county teams from development squads right up to senior. Our 3G pitch at St. Loman’s is a vital facility given the weather we have in this country. As the only third level institution in Westmeath, it’s only right and fitting that we have a strong partnership with Athlone IT, which is hosting the Sigerson Cup finals in February and the European GAA championships (for both men and women) in October. Special thanks to Professor Ciaran O Cathain, Sports Officer Gordon Brett and GAA Officer Garry Sammon for their efforts in promoting our games. Congratulations to Athlone IT on their new Olympic-standard running track which everyone in the midlands should be proud of. I would encourage our younger members to strongly consider AIT for their third level studies. The college has an outstanding academic and sporting pedigree. Another highlight of my tenure was our successful staging of GAA Congress in 2011. Having lobbied for three or four years along with former Central Council delegate Liam Martin to host Congress,

it was a dream come true to be able to bring GAA officials from all over the world to the Mullingar Park Hotel, which was an ideal venue for such a prestigious event. It was also a wonderful opportunity for us to showcase Westmeath to the delegates and their partners, and to show them what the county has to offer visitors. To coincide with Congress, we unveiled a bust of the late Micheal O’Hehir at Cusack Park where he made his first broadcast from in 1938 when Galway played Monaghan in the AllIreland football semi-final. Micheal was the voice of the GAA, and the link that kept people abroad thinking about home and paramount to the promotion of the GAA in all corners of the world. Mention of Cusack Park, we are proud of our new state-of-the-art press facilities and our photographic exhibition – which was compiled by Paddy Flanagan – at the home of Westmeath GAA. Due to financial constraints, we were not in a position to proceed with the development of a new stand during my tenure, but I would encourage the incoming executive not to give up on the idea and to encourage the local business community to row in behind the plan. While some improvements are needed, Cusack Park remains a top provincial venue which boasts one of the best playing surfaces in the country. We were delighted to be asked to stage the homecoming for our Olympic heroes John Joe Nevin and Joseph Murphy – a former Ballymore footballer – last summer. Congratulations to John Joe and Joseph, and to Mark Rohan on winning two gold medals at the Paralympics. I’ve known Mark for many years – he’s a role model for any sportsperson – and I would like to wish him well in his new role with the Westmeath footballers. Heartiest congratulations to Barry Kelly and James McGrath on taking charge of last year’s All-Ireland hurling final and replay. What an achievement this was for a small county such as ours! Thank you to all our referees for their efforts throughout the year. Respect for referees has to start at schools level and continue right through to adult level. Our ladies footballers memorably won the All-Ireland intermediate title in 2011 and are now plying their trade in the senior championship and in Division 2 of the National League. Ladies football chairperson Geraldine Giles and her camogie counterpart Olive Leonard are doing tremendous work. Our camogie team won the All-Ireland junior ‘A’

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championship last year and are also going from strength to strength. Continued success to Aileen Lawlor in her role as National Camogie President. 2012 was another successful year for our handballers and, in particular, Robbie McCarthy jnr who retained his All-Ireland 60x30 senior softballs title. We continue to set high standards in Scor with the Ballycomoyle Question Time team and Peter Dolan of Moate All-Whites bringing home All-Ireland titles last year. Well done to chairperson Olive Leonard and her sister Catherine Daly, who has succeeded the longserving Rose Longworth as secretary. I wish to extend my deepest sympathy to all our members who have lost loved ones over the past year. One of my last official duties as chairman was to attend the funeral of Paidi O Se in Ventry, Co. Kerry. Paidi was an icon of the GAA and will always be remembered in Westmeath as the man who brought us our first Leinster senior football title. We had very exciting club football and hurling championships in the year just past. Mullingar Shamrocks dethroned Garrycastle to win the senior football championship after three years of knocking on the door. Clonkill put senior hurling titles back-to-back for the first time since the 1940s, while Crookedwood won the intermediate championship after a seven-year lapse. Castletown-Finea/Coole/Whitehall won their first intermediate football championship, while it was great to see Kilbeggan, who have a proud football tradition, winning the junior championship. Multyfarnham’s progress in the junior championship caught my eye, and they are a good example to other small clubs of what can be achieved when the work is put in at underage level. As someone who is concerned about depopulation in rural areas, I would advocate clubs joining forces at underage level only. Where this has already happened, the clubs involved have benefited greatly at adult level. I would also like to see Congress give its backing to the proposals which have been put forward by the Football Review Committee. These proposals have been recommended by the greater GAA public and deserve to be supported. In conclusion, I congratulate the editor of this publication, Randal Scally, and all at hoganstand.com on the latest edition of our Yearbook which, as ever, is a must-have for all Westmeath GAA fans. Thank you for your continued support and sponsorship. Tomas O Fearghail.


SENIOR FOOTBALLERS

The squad for the Leinster SFC game with Louth at Pairc Tailteann. Front row l\r: Darren Quinn, Alan Giles, Phillip Sheridan, David Gavin, Kevin Maguire, David Glennon, James Dolan, Denis Glennon, Gary Connaughton, Michael Curley, Declan Mullen, Calum McCormack, Trevor English, Ronan Foley, Paul Sharry. Back row l\r: John Egan, Aidan Finnan, Ben Moran, Mark McCallon, Daniel McDermott, John Gaffney, Paul Bannon, John Heslin, Ger Egan, Doran Harte, Kieran Martin, Michael Ennis, Alan Stone, Kieran Sheridan, Tommy Warburton

FOOTBALL FORTUNES ARE ON THE WAY UP

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he future suddenly looks a lot brighter for Westmeath football after a surprisingly good 2012 which saw the maroon and whites retain their National League Division 2 status, beat Louth in the championship at the second attempt and come within a whisker of registering a famous victory over Kerry. 2012 turned out to be a much better year for the Westmeath senior footballers than many had expected. Following the championship capitulations at the hands of Wexford and Antrim in 2011, optimism was thin on the ground as the Lake County faced into the new season. After winning promotion to Division 2 of the National League, it was feared that Westmeath would make an instant return to Division 3 and would subsequently struggle in the championship. Some even went as far as to predict that Pat Flanagan’s men wouldn’t win a competitive game in 2012. The apathy surrounding Westmeath was reflected in the dramatic decline in support for the team. This was

particularly noticeable in Cusack Park where the diehard Westmeath supporters were more often than not outnumbered by the visiting fans. Even Kerry supporters, who aren’t renowned for being good travellers, outnumbered their Westmeath counterparts for the glamour AllIreland qualifier clash in mid-July. Against this backdrop, Westmeath defied the odds to stay in Division 2 with three fantastic home wins against Galway, Monaghan and Derry. They were desperately unlucky to lose to Louth in the first round of the Leinster championship, but avenged that defeat with a longoverdue victory over the Wee County in the All-Ireland qualifiers six weeks later. That set the scene for a first ever championship meeting with 36times All-Ireland champions Kerry in Mullingar. The Kingdom were unbackable favourites, but a young Westmeath side performed heroically and led by six points before a controversial refereeing decision led to a Kerry goal which proved the catalyst for a second half comeback that saw them prevail by the narrowest of margins.

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As gut-wrenching as that defeat was, Westmeath could hold their heads up high after coming so close to pulling off one of their most famous victories. Anyone who was in Cusack Park that day couldn’t be but impressed by the attitude, fitness and belief of the Westmeath players who refused to be overawed by their illustrious opponents. The performances of rising stars such as Paul Sharry, Kevin Maguire, Mark McCallon, Kieran Martin, Ger Egan and the imperious John Heslin, points to a bright and exciting future for the Lake County. The Kerry performance was far removed from the season opener against Offaly in the O’Byrne Cup at O’Connor Park. Persisting with the defensive system that had drawn a lot of criticism in 2011, Pat Flanagan’s experimental side crashed to a disappointing to a 0-7 to 3-6 defeat. The visitors created at least five goalscoring opportunities but didn’t take any of them, and that was the difference between the sides in the end. Another defeat to DIT in the O’Byrne Shield followed. These two


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Aidan Finnan with Kildare’s Johnny Doyle during the FL Division 2 game at Cusack Park

results, coupled with the unavailability of dual stars Paul Greville, Francis Boyle and Brendan Murtagh, as well as key forward Conor Lynam and the Garrycastle contingent, left Westmeath facing an uphill battle to stay in Division 2. When they lost their opening game to Louth and were hammered by Meath in their second at Cusack Park, relegation seemed inevitable, but a shock win over Galway turned their season around. The victory over the Tribesmen coincided with John Heslin’s surprise return from Australia where he was on an AFL contract with the Richmond Tigers. The young St. Loman’s clubman made a massive difference to the midfield sector and was a key figure in the Lake County’s sudden change in fortunes. Westmeath suffered further defeats to Tyrone and Kildare, but beat Monaghan and Derry to finish on six points and retain

Doron Harte in action against Kerry

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their Division 2 status. A remarkable second half turnaround, in which they outscored Derry by 1-12 to 0-2, saw Pat Flanagan’s charges beat the drop in a dramatic conclusion to the league. The Oak Leafers looked to be coasting to victory when they led by 0-8 to 0-1 after 34 minutes, but Westmeath grabbed the last two points of the first half before going on to dominate the second period. Substitute James Dolan’s 59th minute goal was the highlight of a stunning 1-15 to 0-10 victory. With Louth also preserving their Division 2 status thanks to an emphatic last-day win over Meath, both teams went into their Leinster championship encounter at Navan on May 20 brimming with confidence. Westmeath played all the football, but they left Pairc Tailteann broken hearted after substitute Daniel O’Connor scored an injury-time goal to hand Louth a victory they scarcely deserved. Undermined by poor shooting, Westmeath went into the break trailing by 0-7 to 1-6. They resumed with five unanswered points to open

Manager Pat Flanagan issues some instructions

up a 0-12 to 1-6 lead, but they failed to close out the game and paid a high price when O’Connor pounced in the fifth minute of stoppage-time to give Peter Fitzpatrick’s men a 2-9 to 0-14 win. As fate would have it, the teams were drawn against each other again

in the first round of the All-Ireland qualifiers. This time the game was in Mullingar and Louth – who had suffered a heavy Leinster championship quarter-final loss to Dublin – were decimated by injuries and emigration. As it transpired, Westmeath avenged their earlier defeat with a 1-15 to 0-12 victory – their first in six attempts against the Wee County since 2010 – but the performance was from impressive. Louth had both Mark Brennan and Darren Clarke sent off late in the first half but, incredibly, the sides were level on 0-11 each with less than 10 minutes remaining. When John Heslin was given his marching orders for a second yellow card offence, the unthinkable looked set to unfold, but substitute Callum McCormack spared Westmeath’s blushes with the only goal in the 65th minute which finally broke the resistance of the 13 men. The Lake County showed a massive improvement for Kerry’s much-anticipated visit to Cusack Park, and came tantalisingly close to

Alan Giles gets the ball ahead of Meath's Gary O'Brien during the FL Division 2 game at Cusack Park

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Converted centre back Paul Sharry with Derry's Mark Lynch

causing one of the biggest upsets the GAA has ever seen. When David Glennon slotted home a penalty to give the Lake County a 19 to 1-3 lead four minutes into the second half, the home supporters were in dreamland. But Kerry - who were 1/20 with some bookmakers hit back with a controversial goal from substitute Darran O'Sullivan and outscored the hosts by 0-7 to 0-3 thereafter to qualify for the third round by the skin of their teeth. The Kingdom were restricted to just one score from play in a first half which saw Westmeath take the challenge to them. There was a terrific atmosphere as Colm Cooper opened the scoring after only 40 seconds from a free for the visitors. But a Kieran Martin effort from play settled Westmeath who went on to add three more points from play per Ger Egan, Denis Corroon and Ronan Foley to establish an early three-point advantage. The latter two were late additions to Pat Flanagan's line-up, replacing Callum McCormack and Daniel McDermott respectively. Despite looking out of sorts, Kerry

got themselves back on level terms in the 11th minute when Kieran Donaghy was awarded a penalty and Bryan Sheehan duly sent Darren Quinn – who had replaced Gary Connaughton between the posts after he left for Boston – the wrong way. But the underdogs refused to be ruffled, replying with their fifth point from play from man of the match Paul Sharry. A John Heslin free extended their lead to 0-6 to 1-1 before Sheehan sent over Kerry's second point from a free to narrow the gap. Continuing to play with greater intensity and urgency, the maroon and whites tagged on two more points from Heslin and Martin (free), with Cooper replying with Kerry's first from play in the 31st minute to leave the home side two points clear at the break, 0-8 to 1-3, and on course for a major upset. The home supporters were in full voice when Michael Ennis was taken down for a penalty and full forward Glennon made no mistake to leave the Kingdom with a mountain to climb. But just when Westmeath dared to dream, Darran O'Sullivan -

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who had replaced Donnchadh Walsh at half-time - crashed an unstoppable shot past Darren Quinn to cut the gap to three, 2-3 to 1-9. Pat Flanagan was highly critical of referee Martin Higgins for allowing the goal to stand after Ronan Foley was harshly adjudged to have over-carried the ball and Colm Cooper took the resultant free, which sent O’Sullivan clear, from the wrong position. With Paul Galvin now much involved, the Kingdom rallied with points from James O'Donoghue (two), Galvin and Bryan Sheehan to level proceedings after 52 minutes, 27 to 1-10, with Heslin registering Westmeath's sole reply. Cooper then kicked Kerry in front, but back came Heslin with an equaliser. Sheehan edged the visitors ahead again from a 67th minute and they doubled their lead before Heslin left the minimum in it again from another placed ball in the first minute of injury-time. But there was heartbreak for Westmeath when the final whistle sounded from Brendan Kealy's resultant kick-out.


“A couple of decisions went against us that changed the game,” the Westmeath manager lamented afterwards. “There was one incident alone that changed it. But I’m so proud of the way the lads played, the way they carried themselves today. All through the year we have been playing very well at home, so I wasn’t concerned at the views that we wouldn’t have a chance. “Some of the tackling our defence put in was immense and we worked the ball very well. Other counties would get great praise for playing like that against Kerry, but because it’s Westmeath, we’re not going to get the credit we deserve.” Westmeath lined out as follows against Kerry: Darren Quinn; John Gaffey, Kevin Maguire, Mark McCallon; Paul Sharry (0-1), Doran Harte, Michael Ennis; John Heslin (05), Paul Bannon; Ger Egan (0-1), David Glennon (1-0), Kieran Martin (0-2); Denis Corroon (0-1), Denis Glennon (0-1), Ronan Foley (0-1). Subs used: Ben Moran, Davy Gavin, Daniel McDermott and Callum McCormack.

Denis Glennon against Louth at Pairc Tailteann

John Heslin gets away from Kerry's Bryan Sheehan

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SENIOR HURLERS

The squad on duty against Antrim. Front row l\r: Eoin Price, Seamus Savage, Andrew Dermody, Robbie Greville, Alan McGrath, Aonghus Clarke, Paddy Dowdall, Paul Fennell, Conor Jordan, Joe Clarke, Cormac Boyle, Eamon Og Clarke, John Shaw, Frank Boyle. Back l\r: Killian Murphy, Adam Price, Paddy Maloney, Phillip Gilsenan, Aaron Craig, Niall O'Brien, Paul Greville, Brendan Murtagh, David Fennell, Shane McGovern, Anthony Price, Tommy Gallagher.

ANTRIM VICTORY WAS THE HIGHLIGHT

D

espite missing out on promotion from Division 2A of the Allianz League, the Westmeath hurlers could still take a lot of positives from a season which produced a massive Leinster SHC win over Antrim. The highlight of Brian Hanley’s first full season in charge of Westmeath was unquestionably the odds-defying Leinster SHC victory over Antrim at Cusack Park on May 19. Not only did it atone for the disappointment of losing the Allianz League Division 2A final to Carlow a month earlier, it proved that Westmeath are good enough to compete in hurling’s top tier and justified Hanley’s policy of only picking players who are fully committed to the cause. The victory also showed just how much Westmeath have improved under the Athenry man who brought a level of professionalism to the Lake County set-up which had been sadly lacking in previous years. The Westmeath manager was understandably ecstatic after the 014 to 0-12 win over their Ulster opponents which he insisted didn’t come as a surprise to him.

"I'm only in management a few short years, but that was super,” he said. "That performance was in us. I knew on Thursday night when we had a 15-a-side game out on that pitch and I said lads stop it. If ye can keep that determination and drive that we had, because I knew that we would be in with a chance. Our gameplan was very simple - with no disrespect to anyone - to keep us in the game for the last 20 minutes." He added: "I have said it in every interview that I have done from the day against Offaly in the Walsh Cup that I thought our fitness had been superior to every other team that we played. Our game-plan was to put us in a position to win with 20 minutes to go and that's what we did.” Hanley, who had stepped into the void left by Kevin Martin before the 2011 championship, left no stone unturned in his search for the 30 best and most committed hurlers in Westmeath. His panel included several players who were fresh out of the minor ranks and had never played senior inter-county hurling before. They hit the ground running with a tremendous 2-13 to 0-12 victory over Offaly in the Walsh Cup, which was the Lake County’s first

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competitive win over their illustrious neighbours since the mid-1980s. Westmeath subsequently lost to a largely experimental Kilkenny team in Castlecomer, but the fact that they didn’t go down without a fight boded well for the National League. Hanley made no secret of his desire to win promotion, but for some reason, his team never really performed to their true capabilities. They stuttered their way to the Division 2A final in Nowlan Park where they faced a Carlow team that had already beaten them in an early round. As it turned out, the Barrowsiders reaffirmed their superiority with a 1-14 to 0-12 victory which was sealed by substitute Martin Clowry’s late goal. Westmeath’s cause wasn’t helped by the dismissals of Paul Greville and John Gilligan. To their credit, Westmeath refused to be disheartened by that setback. Despite trailing by six points and having defender Conor Jordan sent off on a second yellow card late in the first half, they staged a remarkable second half comeback to shock Antrim in the first round of the Leinster SHC. Inspired by minor star


Robbie Greville has the sliotar under control against Carlow in the Div 2A HL final at Nowlan Park

Niall O'Brien, who top-scored with 08 (0-6 from frees), and Paul Greville and Adam Price at the back, Westmeath outscored the Saffrons by 0-11 to 0-4 in a breathtaking second half to qualify for a Leinster quarter-final against Galway. Neil McManus, who was man of the match when the sides met in the 2011 All-Ireland qualifier meeting of the sides in Casement Park, opened the scoring for the visitors from a fourthminute free before Liam Watson doubled their lead within a minute with a point from a tight angle, and he made it 0-3 to 0-0 in the ninth minute after collecting a long ball from Michael Gettins. The home side had racked up three wides before CastletownGeoghegan sharpshooter O'Brien finally opened their account from a free in the 15th minute. This followed a long stoppage that saw players from both sides become involved in an off-the-ball incident at the on the Westmeath half back line. Referee Anthony Stapleton booked Westmeath's Jordan and Antrim full forward Liam Watson, while he also banished Antrim water carrier and

regular full back Cormac Donnelly (who is currently injured) to the stand. McManus slotted over his second free to restore the Saffrons' threepoint lead after 20 minutes before the same player set up Shane McNaughton for his first score. McNaughton made it 0-6 to 0-1 in the 28th minute after Francis Boyle appeared to be fouled at the opposite end. The Lake County were further aggrieved when Jordan received his

Niall O'Brien has emerged as a real talent

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second yellow card following a foul on McNaughton, who slotted over the resultant free. A foul on John Shaw presented O'Brien with Westmeath's second point before Watson hit his third from play. O'Brien scored his third point, and first from play, in the fourth minute of injury-time to leave five in it, 0-3 to 0-8, at the break. The signs looked ominous for Westmeath when Neil McManus rifled over his third point to give Antrim a 0-9 to 0-3 lead three minutes after the restart. But the 14 men refused to roll over and proceeded to dominate the remainder of the game. The home side put back-to-back scores together for the first time when O'Brien (from a free) and former county footballer Boyle both found the target. Barney McAuley and Boyle then traded points before Aonghus Clarke closed the gap to three points, 0-10 to 0-7, with 45 minutes on the clock. O'Brien converted another free following a foul on fellow minor Robbie Greville before Liam Watson restored Antrim's


three-point lead. But the momentum remained with the hosts who reduced the deficit to the minimum thanks to two more O'Brien frees. Paddy Dowdall and John Shaw both missed chances to bring Westmeath level before Brendan Murtagh finally restored parity - 0-11 apiece - after a great catch by Adam Price under his crossbar and an even better clearance from Paul Greville. After O'Brien had a rare wide, Antrim regained the lead through Conor McCann, who had only been on the field a matter of seconds. John Shaw hit an immediate equaliser for the maroons and then

Brian Hanley gets his message across

came the biggest cheer of the day when O'Brien landed his eighth point to edge them in front for the first time. A foul on Joe Clarke yielded Westmeath's 14th point from Murtagh, who figured prominently in the home side's comeback. There was still time for the Ulster side to salvage something from the game, but after Liam Watson's goal-bound free was turned away for a '65, the same player was frustrated for a second time when Adam Price made another fantastic fetch in his goalmouth. The final whistle followed, sparking wild celebrations among

Paul Greville has the situation under control against Kerry in the HL at Cusack Park

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the home support who hadn't seen a win of this magnitude since Dublin were downed in Portlaoise in 2006. After giving Galway the fright of their lives in the corresponding fixture 12 months earlier, Westmeath were determined to prove that performance wasn’t a flash in the pan when they welcomed the eventual AllIreland finalists to Cusack Park. Both sides scored four goals in a crazy second half, but the result was never in doubt after a dominant first half display from the visitors had laid the foundations for a 5-19 to 4-12 victory. The Tribesmen led by 1-12 to 0-4 at the break and at one stage in the second half had extended their lead to 4-12 to 2-6. But despite being outclassed, Brian Hanley’s men refused to give up the ghost and gave their supporters in the 2,515 crowd something to cheer about when goals from Niall O’Brien (two), Joe Clarke and Brendan Murtagh helped to put a more respectable look on the scoreboard. Westmeath’s season came to an abrupt end when they succumbed to Wexford on a 2-9 to 3-22 scoreline in a rain-lashed All-Ireland qualifier at Wexford Park. After a competitive

Brendan Murtagh has given many years great service to the county

opening period, the home side gradually pulled away in the second quarter and the game was effectively ended as a contest when Rory Jacob's goal on the stroke of halftime left them 10 points clear, 1-13 to 0-6, at the interval. Things went from bad to worse for Westmeath on the restart when Diarmuid O'Keeffe and Garret Sinnott grabbed two more Wexford goals in as many minutes. The Lake County briefly rallied with goals from B r e n d a n

Murtagh and substitute Cormac Boyle, but the result was never in question as the Slaneysiders – for whom Diarmuid Lyng scored 0-15 eased to victory and ensured a disappointing end to Westmeath’s 2012 campaign. The Westmeath team that defeated Antrim in the Leinster SHC was: Shane McGovern; Conor Jordan, Adam Price, Paul Fennell; Paddy Dowdall, Alan McGrath, Paul Greville; Aonghus Clarke, Joe Clarke; Brendan Murtagh, Francis Boyle, Robbie Greville; Niall O'Brien, John Shaw, Eoin Price. Subs used: David Fennell and Philip Gilsenan.

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Dual star Francis Boyle takes on the Antrim defence

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COUNTY LADIES FOOTBALL

Ladies NFL Division 3 winners. Front Row l\r: Laura Kiernan, Beth McGuire, Carol Butler-Price, Avril Corbett, Elaine Finn, Emma Morris, Tara Fagan, Karen Hegarty, Ciara Blundell, Carole Finch, Vicki McEnery, Maud-Annie Foley, Jo-Hanna Maher. Back row l\r: Sarah Keegan, Aoife Brady, Laura Brennan, Jennifer Rogers, Aileen Martin, Fiona Claffey, Karen McDermott, Faye Kearney, Kelly Boyce Jordan, Ruth Kearney, Sheila Kelly, Ciara Scally, Emma Carey, Ruth Daniels, Joye Kearney, Laura Walsh, Christine Warburton

BACK-TO-BACK LEAGUE TITLES FOR LADIES

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hilst failing to repeat the heroics of the previous season when they won the Leinster and All-Ireland intermediate championships as well as the National League Division 4 title, 2012 will go down as another successful year for Westmeath’s ladies footballers who continued to make progress by claiming the Division 3 crown. Thirteen years after she started her Westmeath career in the senior ranks, Carole Finch was delighted to return to the top flight last season. “It’s great to be back playing senior again,” says the long-serving Mullingar Shamrocks defender, who has been wearing the maroon and white since she was 15. “I probably only have a couple of years left, so it means a lot to me to be back playing at the level I started at. We have a great bunch of girls who are ambitious and eager to do well. It was always going to be difficult to come down from the high of 2011 and to make the step-up to senior, but we did as well as could be

expected. “We kept the momentum going by winning Division 3 of the league and giving a good account of ourselves against Meath in the Leinster championship. We’ve learned massively from last year and expect to be more competitive this year. We now know the level we have to get up to.” Despite being All-Ireland intermediate champions, Westmeath began the year without a manager. Indeed, the position was only filled two weeks before the National League opener against Roscommon when Alan Mangan – who served as joint-manager along with Peter Leahy in 2011 – agreed to return and take sole charge of the team with Martin Flanagan acting as his assistant (Shane Donoghue joined the management set-up midway through the season). Carole admits it was a far from satisfactory situation and expresses surprise at how long it took to find a new manager. “You’d think there would have been more interest in the job after us

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winning the All-Ireland, but on the flip side, you can see why people might have been reluctant because of the huge commitment that’s involved. “Fair play to Alan for coming back and for getting Martin involved as well. It meant that we still had a link with 2011 as well as a fresh voice. Martin comes across as a quiet sort of an individual, but I can tell you he made a massive impact and we’re delighted to have him as a manager for the coming year. Like Alan, he had a great playing career with Westmeath and commands huge respect among all the girls.” Despite returning to training later than scheduled, Westmeath hardly broke sweat in overcoming Roscommon (4-13 to 0-3), Wexford (5-14 to 2-8) and Wicklow (4-14 to 27) in their first three league games. Leitrim ended their 100 per cent record with a 1-12 to 1-10 victory in round four, but the Lake County regrouped to beat Armagh (3-7 to 16), Sligo (3-16 to 2-8) and Down (117 to 3-5) to qualify for the semi-finals in impressive style. They defeated Armagh for a second


time by 5-6 to 1-7 in Drogheda (Ciara Blundell, Karen Hegarty, Laura Walsh, Fiona Claffey and Ruth Kearney all raised green flags) to set up a final rematch with Leitrim at Parnell Park. Team captain Laura Walsh and Elaine Finn netted first half goals as the sides went into the break on level terms, 2-3 to 1-6. After Leitrim had edged ahead, Walsh tied up the scoring again at 2-8 to 1-11 with two minutes to go. Aine Tighe had a glorious chance to win it for Leitrim from an injury-time free but, much to Westmeath’s relief, her shot tailed wide and so the final went to replay. Alan Mangan’s charges finally got the better of their Connacht rivals at the third time of asking at Killoe, Co. Longford six days later to secure

back-to-back promotions. Once again, there was little to choose between the sides until four unanswered points in the closing stages – including two from substitute Emma Morris – saw Westmeath claim their fourth piece of silverware in 12 months. Leitrim, who missed a couple of guilt-edge goal-scoring chances in the first half, were over-reliant on the brilliant Aine Tighe, who scored 1-6 1-5 of which came in the opening period. Tighe's heroics helped the Connacht side to a 1-5 to 1-4 interval lead after a Karen Hegarty goal had given Westmeath an early 1-2 to 0-1 advantage. The Ridge County had Lorraine Brennan sin-binned early in the second half, but Westmeath could

Johanna Maher in action during the league final replay

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only outscore their opponents by 0-2 to 0-1 in the same period. It looked as though Alan Mangan's charges would pay for their profligacy - they hit a massive 18 wides - until their storming finish gave them a 1-11 to 17 victory. “It was a great achievement to put league titles back-to-back,” enthuses Carole, who works as a mechanical engineer in Longford. “Even though we had just come up from Division 4, we knew that we could beat most of the teams in Division 3. Most of the teams operating at that level play in the AllIreland intermediate championship which we won in 2011.” On the back of the successful league campaign, Johanna Maher, Jenny Rogers and Karen Hegarty


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Aileen Martin with Meath's Kate Byrne

were named on the Bord Gais Energy Division 3 Team of the League. In the Leinster championship, Westmeath had to settle for second best against a strong Meath team. A goal in each half from Mary Sheridan proved the difference between the sides in a hard-fought encounter at The Downs. Up until Sheridan’s second goal in the 42nd minute, Westmeath were firmly in contention but were left to rue a number of missed goal chances as the visitors prevailed on a 2-7 to 0-8 scoreline. In the All-Ireland qualifiers, Westmeath crashed to a heavy 0-10 to 1-25 defeat to eventual All-Ireland runners-up Kerry. “It was a disappointing way to end the year, but it just goes to show the standard the top teams are setting. We have a long way to go to get up to that level,” Carole says. “Even though we went in against Meath as big underdogs, I firmly believe it was a game we left behind us. We had the beating of them, but just didn’t take our chances when they came along. Our objectives for this year are to achieve a top-four finish in Division 2 of the league and to win at least one game in the Leinster championship. If we get a favourable draw, we could have a decent run.” The year’s highlight at underage

level was provided by the U16s who claimed the Leinster ‘B’ Shield title following a 5-10 to 5-5 victory over Wicklow in Portarlington, Co. Laois. Managed by Tony Robinson, Cathy Dillon and Peter Thornton, Westmeath led by 2-5 to 2-2 at the break, and inspired by midfielder Brigid Heslin, they went on to record a deserved win. Another highlight was Rahugh man Christy Byrne’s achievement in receiving the Hall of Fame award at the ladies football All Star awards in Dublin’s CityWest Hotel on

Westmeath celebrate with the NFL Division 3 Cup at Killoe

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November 10. Christy has had a long involvement with Rochfortbridge and Westmeath ladies football down the years and the award was richly deserved. The Westmeath team which defeated Leitrim in the National League Division 3 final replay was: Christine Warburton; Aileen Martin, Carole Finch, Aoife Brady; Kelly Boyce-Jordan, Jenny Rogers, Karen McDermott; Maud-Annie Foley, Ruth Kearney; Elaine Finn, Fiona Claffey, Johanna Maher; Laura Walsh (captain), Karen Hegarty, Ciara Blundell. Subs used: Tara Fagan, Emma Morris, Sheila Kelly and Laura Brennan. Westmeath’s U16 Leinster ‘B’ Shield winners were: Aoife Woods; Louise Kiernan, Kelly Molloy, Jenna McKeogh; Nicola Judge, Rachel O’Malley, Laura Wynne; Brigid Heslin, Leanne Duncan; Caoimhe McCrossan, Mary Deegan, Kelly Lee Lowry; Tamara Keena, Tracey Dillon, Clara Thornton. Rest of panel: Kirsty Dunne, Aoife Dempsey, Lucy McCartan, Emer Donoghue, Ashling Flynn, Rachel Dillon, Shannon Lyons, Chloe O’Neill, Brenda O’Brien, Katie Egan and Faye Maloney.


COUNTY CAMOGIE

The Westmeath U16's celebrate at Ashbourne

ALL-IRELAND CAMOGIE TREBLE

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estmeath camogie scaled new heights last year when no fewer than three All-Ireland titles returned to the county. 2012 will go down as one of the most successful years in the history of Westmeath camogie. A year which started with St. Munna’s Aileen Lawlor assuming the role of president of the Association ended with the capture of the All-Ireland junior ‘A’ championship after many of years of trying. The Lake County’s 1-14 to 2-6 victory over Dublin at the splendidlyappointed Donaghmore/Ashbourne club grounds in Co. Meath was the highlight of a never-to-be-forgotten year in which CastletownGeoghegan’s Aoife Corcoran won the All-Ireland Feile Skills competition and the county’s U16 team also savoured All-Ireland glory. Fittingly, the county’s first Camogie Association president had the honour

of presenting both Aoife and the U16 team with their All-Irelands, but other official duties prevented her from handing over the coveted Nancy Murray Cup to junior captain Jemma Egan and her triumphant teammates. The euphoric scenes which followed the All-Ireland junior ‘A’ final on September 2 was perfectly understandable after Westmeath had lost the previous year’s decider to Armagh after a replay. Having also appeared at the semi-final stage in 2010, this was something the team had been building towards for a number of years. With less than five minutes to go and the sides on level terms, Westmeath showed how much they wanted it by firing over six late points. In doing so, they avenged the defeat they had suffered to Dublin earlier in the campaign. “It’s absolute fantastic. I can’t believe it,” Westmeath manager Noel Boyce beamed afterwards. “We totally deserved it. You don’t

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always get what you deserve in sport, but we did what we had to do and we are bringing the cup home and that’s what counts. The attitude of all the 15 players and the five subs that came on was top class. Losing to Dublin in the earlier stages of the championship certainly helped us to win this All-Ireland today. “We took the chance of playing against the breeze in the first half and the tactic of playing Joanne Walsh in defence worked. We always kept within a couple of points of them and I knew in the second half we wouldn’t have to panic as we would have that strong breeze.” The Ringtown clubman, who guided Crookedwood to an intermediate hurling championship success a few weeks later, sees no reason why the team can’t go on to achieve even greater things in the years ahead. “To be honest, over the past few years the training and commitment it takes to win matches at the very top still isn’t where it should be, but if


The Westmeath Junior squad before the All Ireland. Front Row l\r: Caitriona Murtagh, Aoife Boyle, Aisling Conaty, Eileen Murphy, Laura Hannon, Nicola Fagan, Jemma Egan Maybury, Denise McGrath, Dinah Loughlin, Emer Clarke, Avril Fagan, Laura Thompson, Joanne Walsh. Back row l\r: Nadine Grace, Maria Smyth, Joanne McCormack, Caroline Kelly, Aoife Higgins, Ciara Corcoran, Fiona Keating, Pamela Greville, Louise O’Connor, Sarah King, Muireann Scally, Lizzy Hannon, Debbie Ennis, Clodagh Cleary, Roisin Scally, Aisling Boyhan

these girls make camogie their top priority, then they can win the ‘premier’ next year,” continued Noel, whose backroom team comprised Yvette Cully, Mark Scally, Seamus Sheridan and Ian Fivey. “Offaly have done it in the past by coming up from junior, but you have to put in the work and the effort, and if these girls do that, then it is there for them because this group of girls are just brilliant.” Building on the progress they made in 2011 when they won a National League Division 4 title and came within a whisker of landing the Nancy Murray Cup, Westmeath enjoyed an impressive run to the final with their only blip coming against Dublin. They comfortably accounted for Offaly, Monaghan, Tyrone and Cavan before losing their final group game to the Metropolitans on a 1-10 to 3-6 scoreline at the Ballyboden St. Enda’s club grounds. The damage was done in the opening 14 minutes when Dublin raced into a 3-2 to 0-4 lead and, despite outscoring their hosts by 1-6 to 0-2 in the second half, Westmeath just couldn’t make up the deficit. Noel Boyce’s charges bounced back from that

reversal to beat Cavan at Cusack Park by 3-15 to 1-8 in the All-Ireland semi-final, which they had reached by virtue of their earlier wins. Player of the Match Denise McGrath helped herself to 2-1, Dinah Loughlin posted 0-8, while Laura Thompson accounted for the winners’ other goal. Westmeath didn’t need much motivation for the final. With their earlier two-point defeat to Dublin and

U16 captain Mary Deegan raises the Cup in the air as her team mates celebrate

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their 2011 All-Ireland final heartbreak still fresh in their minds, the Lake County grabbed the first two points courtesy of Dinah Loughlin (free) and Denise McGrath. They should have been further in front before they were rocked by a Joeleen Hoary goal in the 16th minute. Roisin Collins immediately followed up with a point to give the wind-assisted Dubs a 1-1 to 0-2 lead. A long-range effort from Denise McGrath left the minimum in it before Collins replied for Dublin. Dinah Loughlin scored a brace of points late in the half to leave Westmeath trailing by 0-4 to 1-3 with wind advantage to come in the second period. Louise O’Connor narrowed the gap on the restart before disaster struck a second time when Hoary scored her second goal in the 36th minute to open up a fourpoint lead for Dublin. But Westmeath dug deep and were level within three minutes thanks to a Pamela Greville free and a Denise McGrath goal. It was titfor-tat until the closing stages when the maroon and whites finally succeeded in shaking off their strong opponents. Pamela Greville’s 56th minute point not only edged Westmeath back in front; it changed the course of the game. While Shauna Duff replied to a Denise


McGrath point, the momentum was now firmly with Westmeath who finished with a flurry of scores from Joanne McCormack, Dinah Loughlin (two frees) and Pamela Greville. At last, the Nancy Murray was destined for the midlands. Not to be outdone, Westmeath’s U16 camogie team claimed All-Ireland ‘C’ honours a week earlier at the same Co. Meath venue when they overcame Armagh by 1-10 to 2-4. Managed by Ger Corcoran, Alo Egerton, Paul O’Malley and Mary Glynn, the Lake County girls were full value for their victory, having led by nine points before Armagh swooped for two goals in the final eight minutes to leave just three points in it at the finish. Westmeath laid the foundations for their success in the opening 30 minutes when Jean McKeogh’s injury-time goal gave them a 1-7 to 0-3 lead at the break. Points from Nicola Judge, Caoimhe McCrossan and Aoife Corcoran extended their advantage in the second half, but late Armagh goals from Hannah Gray (free) and Shannon Kelly made for a nervejangling finale. “Armagh came at us strongly like we

Jemma Egan raises the Nancy Murray Cup at Ashbourne

knew they would, but the girls were magnificent. It was a victory borne from sheer hard work and tremendous team spirit,” a relieved but delighted Ger Corcoran declared after the final whistle. The year’s other highlight was provided by Ger’s daughter Aoife Corcoran who, as well as producing a Player of the Match performance in the U16 final, won the All-Ireland

Feile Skills competition in Dublin at the beginning of July. Having finished a very credible ninth and seventh in 2010 and 2011 respectively, Aoife was hoping for a top-five finish last year but when the final results were announced this very talented young player from CastletownGeoghegan had surpassed this goal - and the other 21 competitors – to bring an AllIreland Skills title to Westmeath for the first time. The Westmeath team which defeated Dublin to land the Nancy Murray Cup was: Fiona Keating; Sarah King, Jemma Egan (captain), Eileen Murphy; Aoife Higgins, Aisling Conaty, Roisin Scally; Dinah Loughlin, Muireann Scally; Pamela Greville, Denise McGrath, Avril Fagan; Louise O’Connor, Laura Thompson, Joanne Walsh. Subs used: Nicola Fagan, Joanne McCormack, Caitriona Murtagh, Lizzy Hannon and Caroline Kelly. Westmeath’s U16 ‘C’ camogie champions were: Erin Harte; Claire Coyne, Kelly Dobson, Laura Varley; Lisa Cully, Rachel O’Malley, Mary Deegan (captain); Amy Cully, Aoife Corcoran; Caoimhe McCrossan, Jena McKeogh, Anne-Marie Kennedy; Sabina McLoughlin, Nicola Judge, Jenny Judge. Subs used: Melisa Cooke and Katie Heffernan.

Westmeath players and mentors celebrate their All Ireland win at Ashbourne

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U21 FOOTBALLERS

The Westmeath under-21 side that lined out against Dublin in Portlaoise

U21 FOOTBALLERS FLATTENED BY DUBS

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estmeath’s quest for a first Leinster U21 football title since 2000 goes on after a hugely impressive Dublin team put Pat Flanagan’s young charges to the sword with a devastating second half display in last March’s provincial semi-final at O’Moore Park. Unlike in 2010 and 2011 when Westmeath let Leinster U21 football championships slip through their grasp, they could have no such regrets after they were soundly beaten by Dublin at the penultimate stage last year. With memories of their agonising 2010 Leinster final defeat to the Metropolitans still fresh, Westmeath weren’t lacking in motivation but Dublin’s power and pace proved too much for them as they crashed to a 19 to 4-15 defeat. In fairness to Westmeath, the scoreline didn’t do them any justice, especially after they had fought back brilliantly from a disastrous start to level by the 29th minute. But a rampant Dublin side turned on the style in the second half

to run out 15-point winners, and the margin could have been even greater had Westmeath goalkeeper Eoin Carberry not pulled off a couple of fine saves late on. The defeat was a chastening experience for the Lake County who, despite being able to call on nine senior panellists – Carberry, Kieran ‘Froggy’ Sheridan, Davy Gavin, Ben Moran, Kevin Maguire, Trevor English, John Heslin, Ger Egan and Callum McCormack – were blown away by the direct running and sheer physical strength of their opponents who, interestingly, had no seniors involved. Oozing with confidence, the Dubs picked Westmeath off with ruthless efficiency, and in Ciaran Kilkenny, they had a forward the losers had no answer to. Pat Flanagan summed it up when saying afterwards: "When they got their third goal, it just knocked the stuffing out of us and they went to a different level. The power and the pace was very, very difficult to deal with. "They were going at the same pace

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at the end of the game as they were at the beginning, and it just goes to show the standard that the other counties have to get to. Dublin are at a different level." While the level of expectation wasn’t the same as 12 months previously when many felt Westmeath left a Leinster U21 title behind them against Longford in Navan, Pat Flanagan and his selectors Frank Lynam (Ballynacargy) and Tom Keenan (Tang) were quietly confident of mounting another provincial bid. Seven of the highly-rated 2011 team were eligible for the grade once again, including John Heslin whose return from Aussie Rules outfit Richmond on the eve of the U21 campaign provided a timely boost. With good challenge match wins against the likes of Meath, Fermanagh and Roscommon behind them, Westmeath headed for the impressive IT Carlow grounds for a Leinster championship quarter-final meeting with Carlow on March 7 in a confident frame of mind. Managed by


Trevor English gains possession

Luke Dempsey, who famously led Westmeath to All-Ireland minor and U21 glory in 1995 and ’99 respectively, and who was desperately unlucky not to garner major championship honours with the seniors between 2001 and 2003, Carlow had the benefit of a first round victory over local rivals Wicklow, but after an entirely forgettable first half, the visitors dominated the second 30 minutes to chalk up a 0-11 to 0-3 success. Few could have predicted such an outcome after Carlow had matched a lacklustre Westmeath for much of the first half and were somewhat unlucky to go into the break trailing 0-3 to 0-4. John Heslin started at full forward for the winners, but had an early goal opportunity saved and was switched to midfield – where he featured for the seniors last year – before halftime. From there, he dominated the game, underlining his class with three second half points, including a superb free from close to the left sideline. After kicking a number of poor first

half wides, Carlow fell away badly after the restart when they never looked like scoring. Barry Lambe, Jamie Byrne and Ciaran Moran tried their best, but Westmeath held all the aces with team captain Kevin Maguire, Kieran Sheridan, Davy Gavin, Heslin, Ger Egan and Callum McCormack all prominent. Centre forward Kelvin Reilly also chipped in with two late points to make it comfortable in the end. “We were very nervous in the first half,” the Westmeath manager admitted. “We made a lot of mistakes and didn’t get the ball into positions where we could score. I never thought the result was in doubt from early in the second half, though. The defence was absolutely superb. We were only at 30 per cent in the first half. When we play Dublin, we will need to be at 70-80 per cent all through just to be competitive.” As it transpired, Westmeath needed to be at 100 per cent to have any chance against the Dubs and even that mightn’t have been good enough. Jim Gavin's charges made a

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sensational start to the game when Mark Schutte waltzed through a static Westmeath defence for a goal after just 25 seconds. Emmet O Conghaile, who would later retire through injury, added a point before Jack McCaffrey soloed half the length of the pitch before slotting home Dublin's second goal in the third minute. When Paul Hudson added a free in the sixth minute, Dublin led by 2-2 to 0-0 and the game already looked over. But the shell-shocked Lake County responded with points from Callum McCormack and Seanie Daly before Kelvin Reilly pounced on a goalkeeping error for a goal. Further points from Alan Stone and John Heslin (from frees) had Pat Flanagan's men level by the 29th minute but, crucially, they couldn't get their noses in front and Ciaran Kilkenny grabbed two late points to go into the break leading 2-5 to 1-6. Westmeath closed the gap to the minimum after the restart and had a chance to level through Ger Egan before the Dubs swept down the field for Hudson to fire home their third


goal. That score completely deflated the midlanders and it turned into a rout after the elusive Kilkenny – who finished with a personal tally of 1-6 – added their fourth goal. Pat Flanagan admitted that it is very difficult to compete against Dublin players who are on weight programmes from the ages of 16 and 17. He also felt Westmeath were disadvantaged by the fact that their best players’ services are also required at senior level. “There are nine or 10 of our lads on the senior panel, and all these recent matches have been very difficult on them,” he said in reference to the amount of the games they played last spring. “They are trying to get their heads up inside the dressing room already for the next few senior games because all they want to do is play for Westmeath. They are young men whom we need to try and take to a different level as far as fitness is concerned. “I think they are a very good group

Westmeath's Callum McCormack with Dublin's Jack Smith at O'Moore Park Portlaoise

of fellas and we need to manage them properly going forward. We are trying to keep a small county going with very little finance. I walked into the Dublin dressing room after the game. Their guys were half stripped off and the muscles on them were huge. That didn’t happen overnight. That has taken four or five years. “I guarantee that if you asked any of our lads to spend a month in the gym, they would do so if they thought it would improve them. Maybe it’s time to try to get a forum together to discuss this whole area.” Westmeath lined out as follows against Dublin: Eoin Carberry; Kieran Sheridan, Davy Gavin, Stephen Gilmore; Darren Malynn, Ben Moran, Kevin Maguire (captain); John Heslin, Trevor English; Ger Egan, Kelvin Reilly, Jamie Gonoud; Seanie Daly, Alan Stone, Callum McCormack. Subs used: Cormac Boyle, Enda Boland, Eoin Gorman and Paul Fennell. Unused subs: Brian Finerty, John Rock, Paddy Joyce, Shane Flanagan, Alan Coffey, Jason O’Toole, Ben Hogan and Colin O’Donoghue.

Captain Ger Egan heads for the Dublin goals

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MINOR FOOTBALLERS

The squad on duty against Meath in the Leinster semi final. Front row l\r: Andrew McCormack, Ger Leech, Ryan Caffrey, Eoghan O'Malley, Shane Keenan, Brendan Doyle, Luke Corless, Anthony McGivney, Lorcan Dolan, Bryan O'Donohoe. Back row l\r: Luke Loughlin, Shane Dempsey, Killian Daly, Aaron Curley, PJ Maguire, Robert Gorman, Aaron O'Brien, TJ Fox, Dylan McDermott, John Corbally, Justin Barrett, David Gaye, Theo Watts

MEATH EXPOSE MINORS’ SHORTCOMINGS

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espite enjoying their best championship run since 2000 when Leinster honours were achieved, Westmeath’s heavy provincial semi-final defeat to Meath illustrated that the county still has a long way to go if it is to be successful in minor football once again. While the records show that Westmeath reached the last four of the Leinster MFC for the first time since 2001, there is no disguising the fact that the Lake County continues to fall way short of the standards required to be successful at this level. Last year’s manager Tommy Carr didn’t mince his words when assessing Westmeath’s season after a campaign which had yielded backdoor wins over Carlow and Wicklow, but ended with a crushing a 1-7 to 3-14 defeat to neighbours Meath. The former Dublin captain and manager expressed surprise at the lack of commitment given by some players and spoke of the need

for a change of attitude in the county if things are to change. “We struggled to get the best fellas out with the county and that always happens to the weaker counties. The good counties never struggle to get them because the best players want to be out there,” he said. “There are plenty of fellas here in this county who have done it, too. Take the likes of John Keane; AllStars – done more than I ever did on a football pitch. They have them in the county. “Players have performed and produced, but it’s the lifestyle choice. It’s the application by the clubs, the county board, the whole lot. “I feel that too many counties like Westmeath don’t make that lifestyle choice because they don’t see any point in doing so. If you rated commitment between Westmeath and Meath over the last eight months, I’d say Meath would be about 20 per cent higher on the Richter scale.” The Mullingar resident lamented the

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lack of cooperation and support given by schools in the county, some of who are among the strongest football nurseries in Leinster. “We got nowhere with the schools whatsoever. It was just a disaster. We looked to open communication. There’s not a player-centred approach to development in Westmeath,” he continued. “Everybody is pulling out of the one group of players – schools, clubs, U21 teams, the hurlers, the footballers. We have some fellas there who we had to stop training because of the level of activity they were at with all the other stuff. “It requires a huge amount of hard work (to be successful). It requires a huge amount of support by the county board. Support from the clubs, which is sometimes lacking. They’re more interested in club fixtures. Fellas pulled away from challenge games last week with their club, stuff like that. Stuff that you don’t want to see, but that we’re battling with in the background all the time.


“You know the other counties are preparing properly. They’re at this for the last 10 months. Meath are at it for the past two years. Deep down you know you’re starting with a deficit. That’s part of the thing that has to be addressed. “It has been allowed to happen that way. That’s not me making excuses. I don’t like losing – I detest it, in fact. There are deeper ingrain problems to deal with and that’s why we’re here. It’s a starting point.” A poor Leinster League campaign, which saw Westmeath beat Wicklow but suffer heavy defeats to Offaly and Dublin, didn’t auger well for their trip to Haggardstown to face Louth in the opening round of the Leinster championship. Early points from Robert Quigley and Stephen Kilcoyne helped the home side to a 0-2 to 0-1 advantage before Westmeath surged into a 0-5 to 0-2 lead thanks to scores from Andrew McCormack, Lorcan Dolan and Ray Connellan. Shane Matthews closed the gap, but Moate clubman Rob Gorman hit the last point of the half to leave Westmeath 0-6 to 0-3 in front at the

Shane Dempsey with Louth's Thomas McCann at Haggardstown

break. Incredibly, the visitors – who lost St. Mary’s, Edenderry Hogan Cup winner Ger Leech to injury – failed to score in a dismal second half display. Louth, in contrast, reeled off 2-7, but didn’t take the lead until the 50th minute when Kilcoyne scored the first of their two goals. There looked to be no way back for Westmeath after that 10-point

Ger Leech heads for the Louth goals

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reversal (0-6 to 2-10) but a favourable qualifier draw, coupled with the sudden availability of players who had committed themselves to the minor hurlers, meant the summer was far from over. Ger Leech hit 0-10 as Tommy Carr’s charges got their campaign back on track with a dramatic 0-19 to 1-13 extra-time victory over Carlow at Dr Cullen Park. The visitors showed great character in coming from four points down with 11 minutes remaining to force extratime, and they never looked back after that, leading by two points at the end of the first period and eventually prevailing by three. Carlow, who needed two games and a period of extra-time to get by Wexford, led at the break in normal time by 1-5 to 0-6 thanks to corner back Keith Chatten’s goal. In extratime, the hosts looked to have earned a replay when Chris Blake brought them level with two minutes to go, but late scores from Leech and Sam Moran sealed a quarter-final meeting with Wicklow for the Lake County in Aughrim.


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5 Central Park Bishopsgate St., Mullingar Co. Westmeath


Rising dual star Luke Loughlin is under pressure against Meath at Cusack Park

The visitors were favoured by a strong breeze in the first half and eased into an early 0-4 to 0-1 lead through three points from Lorcan Dolan and another from a Ger Leech free. Conor French replied for the Garden County, but further points from Ray Connellan and Dolan had Westmeath 0-6 to 0-2 in front at the interval. The Lake County were still four points to the good - 0-8 to 0-4 midway through the second half before three frees from Wicklow corner forward Mikey O'Connor left the minimum between the sides. But the maroons refused to panic and sealed victory with late scores from Leech (free) and PJ Maguire. Remarkably, it was the Lake County's first championship win against opposition outside the trio of Carlow, Kilkenny and Wexford since their last Leinster title success 13 years ago. Having travelled the length and breadth of Leinster for their previous three games, it was back to the familiar surroundings of Cusack Park for the semi-final against Meath. The winners were not only guaranteed a

place in the Leinster final, but also qualification for the All-Ireland quarter-finals, so there was certainly a lot at stake. But despite recovering well from a disastrous start, Westmeath were outclassed by the visitors who dominated most sectors of the field. Having said that, the Royals were flattered by their 13-point winning margin with the hosts missing a penalty and finishing the game with just 13 players following the second half dismissals of Ray Connellan and Bryan O’Donohue (Meath also had Conor O’Brien sent off). Westmeath got off to the worst possible start when they conceded a goal to Barry Dardis after just 90 seconds. The Royals tagged on further scores from Adam Flanagan and Fiachra Ward either side of a Ger Leech free before Luke Loughlin – who hadn’t featured in the earlier rounds – took centre stage with a quick-fire 1-1 to bring the home side level at the end of the first quarter. But Meath took control again in the 20th minute when Ward bagged their second goal and they went on to hold a commanding 2-8 to 1-4 lead at the

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break. The visitors increased their lead after the restart before Leech reduced the deficit to six points. With 12 minutes remaining, Westmeath were handed a glorious opportunity to get themselves back into the game when Lorcan Dolan was awarded a penalty. But Leech’s poorly struck spot-kick was saved by Meath ‘keeper Jack Hannigan, and with that went Westmeath’s chance. They failed to score again as Ward and Dardis added points before the latter grabbed Meath’s third goal. Westmeath’s day was summed up when Shane Dempsey hit the post with a goal at his mercy in the dying moments. The Westmeath team which lost the Leinster MFC semi-final to Meath was: Brendan Doyle; Eoghan O’Reilly, Rob Gorman, Bryan O’Donohue; Killian Daly, Luke Corless, Ryan Caffrey; Aaron Curley, David Gaye; Theo Watts, Ger Leech, Anthony McGivney; Luke Loughlin, Lorcan Dolan, Dylan McDermott. Subs used: PJ Maguire, Ray Connellan, Justin Barrett, Shane Dempsey and TJ Fox.


U21 HURLERS The Under 21 squad for the game against Louth

WHAT HAPPENED TO THE U21 HURLERS?

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hen Brian Hanley sits down to assess his first full season with Westmeath, his biggest regret is likely to be his failure to deliver an AllIreland U21 ‘B’ HC title. As it turned out, the Lake County didn’t even come close to achieving that objective following a spectacular second half collapse against Kildare in the Leinster ‘A’ championship. For a county that has competed strongly in the Leinster MHC in recent years and has held its own against the likes of Kilkenny and Dublin, it’s difficult to explain why Westmeath continues to struggle at U21 level. Following his appointment as senior and U21 manager last year, Brian Hanley had identified the U21 grade as an important stepping stone for Westmeath’s rising stars. But despite having a team packed with seniors, including regulars like Shane McGovern, the Fennell twins, Paul and David, Aonghus Clarke, Robbie

Greville and Niall O’Brien, the Lake County failed to win out the AllIreland ‘B’ championship, which had been one of Galway man’s main objectives at the start of the year. A disastrous 0-15 to 2-15 defeat to Kildare in the Leinster U21 ‘A’ HC semi-final quickly put to bed the notion that Westmeath were too strong to be competing in the second tier. While it could be argued that Westmeath took the Lilywhites for granted after a facile first round victory over Louth, and would beat them if they met again, they weren’t able to do it when it mattered and that’s the bottom line. As Hanley had said himself when it was suggested that Westmeath would be better served playing in the U21 championship proper, they needed to prove they could win an All-Ireland ‘B’ title first, and unfortunately they fell well short of achieving that in 2012. With up to a dozen senior panellists in their ranks, the Lake County were widely expected to make amends for

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their defeat to Kerry in the 2011 AllIreland ‘B’ final. Everything looked to be going according to script when they led Kildare by 0-12 to 0-6 at the break. But they could only manage three second half points as the Lilywhites stormed back with an unanswered 1-7 to pull off a shock victory. To be fair to Westmeath, a 7-27 to 02 first round drubbing of Louth at Cusack Park was hardly ideal preparation for the challenge thrown down to them by a physically strong Kildare side who refused to yield, even when faced with six-point deficits on a couple of occasions in the first half and a seven-point deficit at the start of the second half. The game against Louth was a complete mis-match and of no benefit to either side. The writing was on the wall for the Wee County after just 50 seconds when Tommy Doyle raised the first of seven green flags. Centre forward Aaron Craig added a point which was quickly cancelled out by


the visitors’ opening score from a Brian Corcoran free. By the time Louth scored again from another Corcoran placed ball, Westmeath had 3-10 on the board. Robbie Greville, Anthony Price and Doyle registered points before corner forward Barry O’Mara scored two goals in quick succession. Doyle tagged on another point before O’Mara completed his hat-trick on the stroke of half-time to leave the hosts a massive 24 points, 4-14 to 0-2, ahead at the break. Brian Hanley had used all five of his substitutes by half-time, but there was no respite for Louth as Anthony Price netted directly from a free two minutes into the second half. O’Mara, Price, substitute Neal Kirby and Doyle notched further points before another substitute, Cathal Scally, fired home goal number six. Aaron Craig completed the rout with a seventh goal in the final minute.

The subsequent defeat to Kildare, and the manner of their second half collapse, will haunt Westmeath for some time to come. The handful of Westmeath supporters who travelled to St. Conleth’s Park in Newbridge on a Thursday night in mid-July couldn’t see anything other than a victory, and a comfortable one at that. The Lake County dominated much of the first half with points from David Fennell, Niall O’Brien (who missed the Louth game) and Barry O’Mara helping them to an early 0-3 to 0-0 lead. Conor O’Hehir opened Kildare’s account from an eighth-minute free, but the visitors remained in the driving seat as three points from O’Brien (two frees) and one from his Castletown-Geoghegan club-mate Neal Kirby extended their lead to 0-7 to 0-1. The Lilywhites responded with two points from Mark Delaney and O’Hehir (free), and further scores from O’Hehir and Conor Kenny

brought them closer, despite an O’Brien ’65 in between. Westmeath then scored three points on the spin per Robbie Greville (two) and Aonghus Clarke to open up a 011 to 0-5 lead. O’Hehir replied from a free before O’Brien converted his second ’65 to leave the maroon and whites six points clear the interval. Brian Hanley’s charges opened up a seven-point gap thanks to another O’Brien placed ball at the start of the second half, but that was Kildare’s cue to stage a remarkable comeback. The rejuvenated hosts had built up a head of steam with points from Gerry Keegan, free-taker O’Hehir and Conor Kenny before midfielder Sean Gainey's goal 11 minutes from the end brought them to within a point, 110 to 0-14. The momentum remained with the home side thereafter as Kenny levelled matters before giving them the lead for the first time. Westmeath

Glenn Flynn prepares to gather against Louth at Cusack Park

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Robbie Greville in action against Kildare

were shell-shocked and had Tommy Doyle to thank for preventing a second Kildare goal in a matter of minutes. By now, Martin Fitzgerald was a dominant figure at midfield for the home side and he landed a couple of long-range frees to open up a four-point lead. Niall O’Brien left a goal in it from a '65 for what was only Westmeath’s third point of the second half before

he was denied an equalising goal by a spectacular save from Kildare ‘keeper Cormac Gallagher in injurytime. The Lilywhites countered and corner forward O'Hehir – who finished with a personal tally of 1-6 – rattled Shane McGovern's net after a great catch by Gainey to seal their place in the final against Meath (which they won by a point en route to an All-Ireland final appearance), and

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leave Westmeath down and out. Westmeath lined out as follows against Kildare: Shane McGovern; Paul Fennell, Alan McGrath, Tommy Gallagher; David Fennell (0-1), Tommy Doyle, Stephen Boylan; Aonghus Clarke (0-2), Cormac Boyle; David Lynch (0-1), Aaron Craig, Robbie Greville (0-2); Barry O'Mara (0-1), Neal Kirby (0-1), Niall O'Brien (0-7, 3f, 0-3 '65's). Subs used: Glenn Flynn, Cathal Scally and Joey Boyle.


MINOR HURLERS

The Westmeath squad that lined up against Laois at Cusack Park

LAOIS AND CARLOW FRUSTRATE MINOR HURLERS

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aving come within a whisker of reaching their first Leinster final in 2011, Westmeath’s minor hurlers failed to build on that progress last year when they suffered successive championship defeats to Laois and Carlow. Westmeath’s underage hurling revival suffered a setback last year when back-to-back defeats to Laois and Carlow saw Ray Gavin’s minor team make a surprisingly early exit from the Leinster championship. After the county’s extended run in the 2011 championship, hopes were high that Westmeath could replicate that success last season but the team never got going, despite having senior panellists Niall O’Brien, Robbie Greville and Tommy Gallagher to call upon. While the loss of Greville’s twin brother Gary to a long-term injury was a significant blow, the Lake County would still

have expected to fare much better than they did. Last year’s results mean that Westmeath have been demoted from tier two to tier three for this year’s Leinster championship. However, Ray Gavin was adamant after the Carlow game that the maroon and whites would bounce back in 2013, having since completed a hat-trick of All-Ireland ‘B’ successes at U16 level. “There are more lads coming forward with this group than last year,” said the CastletownGeoghegan clubman, whose selectors were Christo Murtagh (Lough Lene Gaels), Jody Murray (Castlepollard), Paddy Walsh (Clonkill) and Frank Mullen (St. Oliver Plunkett’s). “We have lost to a tier three team today, which is disappointing after last year’s progress. But there is about half of this team underage against next year which augers well.

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We do need to focus on developing players, physically, at a young age, though,” he added. Despite having a mixed Leinster League campaign, Westmeath were strongly fancied to beat Laois in their championship opener on April 21 at Cusack Park. They were on course for victory when leading by four points with 13 minutes remaining, but conceded two late goals to lose on a 2-16 to 4-12 scoreline. In what was a cracking game of hurling, the warning signs were there for the hosts as early as the third and fifth minutes when Laois pounced for goals. Luke Loughlin raised a white flag after only 40 seconds, but Westmeath’s lead barely lasted 90 seconds as Laois hit back with a Joe Campion goal after Conor Lynch had saved Daire Quinlan’s initial shot. Niall O’Brien and Ciaran McEvoy exchanged frees before Westmeath were rocked back on their heels for a


second time when PJ Scully crashed home Laois’ second major. O’Brien should have had a three-pointer at the other end before the home side enjoyed a golden spell which yielded 1-5 without reply. The precocious 15-year-old Doyle twins, Ciaran and Killian, who lined out either side of senior star O’Brien in the full forward line, were to the fore as Ciaran pointed and then set up Killian for a brilliant goal. O’Brien fired over his third point before Ciaran Doyle grabbed two in as many minutes to propel the Lake County into a 1-8 to 2-2 lead. But just when it seemed Westmeath were taking a grip on proceedings, Laois replied with four unanswered points, including two from Scully, in the final three minutes of the half to trail by the minimum at the break. Scully had the O’Moore County level shortly after the restart before Westmeath took control again when Ciaran Doyle flicked Robbie

Ray Gavin has been replaced by John Coyne as minor manager for 2013

Greville’s high delivery to the net. Few would have bet again the hosts going on to win after Luke Loughlin, O’Brien and Ciaran Doyle tagged on quick scores, but Seamus Plunkett’s

Ciaran Doyle is one of the future stars of Westmeath hurling

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visitors refused to buckle and stayed in touch with two frees from Scully. Westmeath twice restored their four-point advantage thanks to points from O’Brien and Luke McGrath, but the game turned when Tommy Gallagher was forced to take down Ben Conroy for a penalty, which Charlie Dwyer blasted to the roof of the net. Ciaran Doyle and PJ Scully traded points before Robbie Greville pushed Westmeath into a two-point lead, 216 to 3-12. However, a second goal from Conroy saw Laois edge ahead before Scully completed the comeback with his seventh point in stoppage-time. Westmeath had another chance to get their season back on track against Carlow a fortnight later, and with home advantage again, were confident of doing so. But Carlow – who inflicted two defeats on the Westmeath seniors in last year’s Allianz League – finished the


Killian Doyle takes on the Carlow defence

stronger to claim a 1-14 to 1-12 victory and end the Lake County’s championship interests for another year. Ultimately, though, Westmeath paid the price for a sluggish first half display which saw them go into the break trailing by 0-5 to 0-10. Niall O’Brien gave the hosts an early lead, only for the Barrowsiders to respond with four points on the trot from the stick of Marty Kavanagh (three) and Pete Shaw. Castletown-Geoghegan ace O’Brien reduced the deficit before Carlow hit three more points without reply per Kavanagh (two frees) and Michael Walsh to open up a 0-7 to 02 advantage after 18 minutes. Full back Liam Varley and O’Brien pulled back points for Westmeath before Shaw and O’Brien traded scores. Further points from Kavanagh (free) and Shaw ensured the visitors of a double-scores lead at the interval. Westmeath were much improved

after the restart, reeling off four unanswered points in the first 10 minutes per O’Brien, substitute Darragh Clinton, Luke Loughlin and Ciaran Doyle, to leave just the minimum in it. But after Carlow’s top forward Kavanagh was fortunate not to be sent off for an incident involving Robbie Greville, Dion Wall swooped for the opening goal to leave four points between the sides again. The Lake County responded in the best possible fashion when O’Brien put Ciaran Doyle through for a goal, and an O’Brien free had them level heading into the final quarter. But they weren’t able to get their noses in front as Shaw and Kavanagh replied with a brace of points each to put Carlow back in the driving seat again. Killian Doyle cut the leeway before Clinton missed a great goal chance; his weak shot being scrambled off the Carlow goal-line at the expense of a ’65 which O’Brien pointed. But it was a case of too little, too late as the

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visitors – who were subsequently hammered by 33 points by Dublin – held out. “It was a question of inches in the end, but we didn’t take that goal chance when we had it and that’s what proved the difference. Was it over the line? I don’t know. Sometimes you get those calls, other times they go against you. That’s sport. But we had our chances to win it,” Westmeath manager Gavin contended. The Westmeath team which succumbed to Carlow was: Leonard Gavin; Paddy Reilly, Liam Varley, Thomas Egan; Shane Farrelly, Tommy Gallagher, Jack McGrath; Robbie Greville, Eoin Quinn; Luke Loughlin, Shane Clavin, Luke McGrath; Killian Doyle, Niall O’Brien, Ciaran Doyle. Subs used: Kieran Glennon, Darragh Clinton and Daniel Sheridan.


PAIDI Ó SÉ

Paidi celebrates the 2004 Leinster championship win with Tomas O’Flatharta

PAIDÍ GAVE US OUR GREATEST EVER SUMMER

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t was with absolute shock, disbelief and sadness that Westmeath supporters learned of the sudden death of Paidi O Se at his home in Ventry, Co. Kerry on the morning of Saturday, December 15 last. The 57-year-old was one of Gaelic football’s greatest exponents, winning a remarkable eight All-Ireland medals during a glittering career with Kerry. He also managed his beloved Kingdom to Sam Maguire Cup wins in 1997 and 2000, but arguably his finest achievement was leading Westmeath to their maiden Leinster senior championship title in the first of his two years at the Lake County helm in 2004. Paidi arrived in Mullingar amid much fanfare in October 2003, only days after he was controversially removed as Kerry manager. Inheriting a talented group of players from Luke Dempsey, he initially

struggled to put his stamp on the team and it took a last-day victory over Mayo for Westmeath to preserve their National League Division 1 status. Paidi always insisted he was a “championship man” and he lived up to that billing when, on July 24 2004, he delivered the coveted Delaney Cup to the Lakelands to end one of the longest famines in Irish sport. The county went football crazy and Paidi and his players were rightly hailed as heroes. His incredible passion and motivational skills were evident in the acclaimed television documentary, ‘Marooned’, which followed his every move during that unforgettable summer. Four of the protagonists of Westmeath’s breakthrough Leinster triumph – team trainer Tomas O Flatharta, goalkeeper Gary Connaughton, wing forward Fergal Wilson and full forward Denis Glennon, paid the following tributes

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to Paidi when they spoke to ‘Maroon & White’: Tomas O Flatharta revealed that the 2004 win was one of the last things he spoke to the Ventry publican about before his untimely death. O Flatharta, who was Paidi’s righthand man in 2004 and ’05 and succeeded him as manager (he remained at the Lake County helm until 2009), was forced to cut short a three-month break in South America to return home for the funeral of his fellow West Kerry man. Before his departure, Tomas and Paidi met up and inevitably the success they enjoyed together with Westmeath was one of the things they discussed. “We met up the week before I left and were talking about the great memories we had with Westmeath,” Tomas explained. “We had some great days with Westmeath, and I can tell you winning that Leinster championship in 2004 meant as much to Paidi as


anything he had achieved with Kerry before that as a player and manager. He got great satisfaction from it. After Paidi took the Westmeath job, he got Darragh O Se (his nephew who won five AllIreland medals with the Kingdom between 1997 and 2009) to ring me to see if I’d be interested in coming on board as the team trainer. “Darragh said something along the lines of ‘you’ll have two years you’ll never forget’, and how right he was. We got on fantastically well, we had a great understanding and it was a privilege to work alongside him. Every player bought into what Paidi had to say and he gave the Westmeath fans their best ever summer in 2004. If it hadn’t been for Paidi, it would never have happened.” Few, if any, Westmeath supporters

Paidi is mobbed by fans after the Leinster win

had ever heard of the Dublin-based O Flatharta before he emerged as a key figure in the Lake County’s capture of the Delaney Cup for the first time. Although soft spoken, he was a commanding presence on the training pitch and his tough training regime contributed enormously to that breakthrough success.

Paidi gathers his thoughts in his second home, Croke Park

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Tomas and Paidi go back four decades, having grown up a mere three miles apart in West Kerry. At 52, Tomas is five years younger, but this didn’t stop them from becoming good friends and as An Ghaeltacht team-mates, they regularly travelled to games together. “Paidi was my hero when I was growing up. We ended up playing together with the Gaeltacht and were lifelong friends,” he says. “Unfortunately, he passed away so young. When you lose a close friend, it’s very sad. He was a larger-than-life figure. We will never see anybody like him again. “There were a lot of different sides to Paidi. As a player, he was one of Kerry’s greats, a fantastic leader who was able to bring people along with him. He put those same qualities to good use as a manager. He was


fiercely passionate and kicked every ball along the sideline. “As a person, he was great company and had a great knack of being able to laugh at serious things. He was always full of fun and ‘divilment’. The only thing he was serious about was football, and no more so than on the big occasions with Kerry and Westmeath in Croke Park.” 2008 All Star goalkeeper Gary Connaughton remembered of hearing the terrible news: “It was a big shock. “He gave me my championship debut against Offaly in 2004 and I’ll be forever grateful to him for that. When we met him for the first time in Dublin following his appointment at the end of 2003, he meant business straight away. He brought an instant buzz to the county. I remember us bringing a big crowd to St. Jude’s in Templeogue for Paidi’s first game that November, which was a challenge against Dublin. “We were well off the pace that day and Dublin beat us easily. But when we met them in the championship the following June, we came out on top. He was able to turn things around that quickly. “I remember at one of our first training sessions in Athlone there were about nine or 10 lads standing on the sideline mad to play for him. Lads who had been thinking of retiring were keen to give it another go. He brought in a good backroom team and you could sense that something big was going to happen.” The Tubberclair clubman, who remains an integral part of the Westmeath team, believes Paidi’s feat in delivering a first Delaney Cup to the county is up there with any of his other footballing achievements. “He was a fierce motivator, he made us believe we could beat anyone,” Gary continues. “He was a typical Kerryman in that he demanded success. The Leinster title wouldn’t have happened without him. It was one of his greatest achievements in football for the reason that he did it with a county that had never won anything at senior level before. He’ll always be a legend in Kerry and Westmeath.” Connaughton’s Tubberclair club-

mate Fergal Wilson still gets goosebumps when he casts his mind back to Paidi O Se’s famous team talks. “The talks he gave us before the two games against Laois (the drawn and replayed Leinster finals) were unreal,” recalls Fergal, who retired from the inter-county scene in 2011 with Leinster senior and All-Ireland U21 medals in his possession. “When he spoke, he made an awful lot of sense. His forte was speaking more so than training the team. He left that side of it to Tomas (O Flatharta). He was an inspirational figure and I still can’t believe he’s gone. It’s terrible for his family, especially after his brother Micheal died at a young age as well 10 years ago.” Fergal has nothing but fond memories of Paidi and the success he brought to the Lake County. “He was a larger-than-life character. He was a great character on-and-off the field, and a great storyteller to boot,” the Marist College, Athlone teacher says. “What he did for Westmeath will never be forgotten. We had been there or thereabouts over the previous couple of years, but it took Paidi to get us across the line. They were great times for every Westmeath person. “He got a great team of people in around him and the trip to Sunderland (where the then Sunderland manager Mick McCarthy

Paidi celebrates with David O’Shaughnessy after the Leinster SFC final replay win over Laois

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gave Westmeath permission to train at the club’s state-of-the-art facilities) really got it going. He brought a new, professional approach to the Westmeath set-up and had great contacts. The preparation was firstclass and that was one of the reasons why we were so successful.” Denis Glennon can laugh at it now, but back in the early days of Paidi O Se’s reign, he thought his intercounty career had ended before it ever started when the staunch Fianna Fail supporter called his bluff over his dislike for tackling. “He told me he was going to drop me because I wasn’t tackling enough,” the Tyrrellspass talisman recalls. “I was only 18 at the time and it was a big shock to me. I thought my chance was gone. But 10 minutes later he rang me to say I was back on the panel again. That was his way of getting me to change my ways. I can tell you I never trained as hard or put as much work into that side of my game after that! If I ever go into management, I’ll make sure to use some of the tricks Paidi used on me!” “We went on to have our best ever year and I’ll always be thankful to Paidi for giving me my chance and allowing me to be part of the success at such a young age. The Leinster medal is the most valuable piece of metal I have in my house.” Denis remembers Paidi as being one of the most passionate football men he has ever met. “When he spoke, you always listened. You could hear a pin drop when he was talking. You listened because he had won eight All-Ireland medals as a player and he knew what he was talking about. He knew what it took to win. He always made you believe you were one of the best players in the country. He had the ‘Mick O’Dwyer effect’ in that he got everyone to believe in themselves.” The garda concludes by saying: “It’s hard to believe he’s gone – and just 12 months after we lost ‘Poggy’ Lynn, who was part of the backroom team that year. It’s so sad for his family and those closest to him. It would be great if we could win another Leinster in Paidi’s memory this year. That’s what I’ll be trying to do anyway.”


REFEREES

Referee Barry Kelly consults with his umpires Seamus O’Brien and Michael Coyle during the All-Ireland final

EXTRAORDINARY YEAR FOR LOCAL REFEREES

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he appointments of local referees Barry Kelly and James McGrath to last year’s AllIreland SHC final and replay was a unique achievement for the Lake County. It’s a question which is bound to crop up at table quizzes in the future. Name the three counties involved in the 2012 All-Ireland SHC final and replay? The appointments of Barry Kelly and James McGrath to referee the drawn and replayed finals respectively ensured that Westmeath was represented in both games along with finalists Kilkenny and Galway. Never before in the history of the All-Ireland hurling championship had two referees from the same county taken charge of the Liam MacCarthy Cup deciders in the same year. “It was a unique achievement for Westmeath,” Barry Kelly proudly states. “The last time an All-Ireland hurling final went to a replay was in 1959, so replays are incredibly rare. You mightn’t see another one for a long

time again so there’s a good chance this achievement might never be repeated.” The drawn decider on September 9 was Kelly’s third All-Ireland final to take charge of, having previously handled the 2006 and 2008 finals which resulted in Kilkenny victories over Cork and Waterford respectively. The St. Oliver Plunkett’s clubman has been an inter-county referee since 1998 and among his other big assignments have been the 2000 All-Ireland minor final and the 2004 All-Ireland U21 final. The Birr-based schoolteacher, who is married to Catherine and has two-yearold twin boys Manus and Theo, referees in both codes at local level. His appointment to last year’s final came as no surprise after he hadn’t been considered for either of the semifinals. “I knew I had a good chance of getting it when I had no involvement in either semi-final,” says Barry, whose umpires are Seamus O’Brien, Michael Coyle, Noel Nugent and Paddy Walsh (who replaced Anthony Gavin a couple of years ago).

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“In the last four or five years, the trend has been for one of the quarterfinal referees to get it. The CorkWaterford quarter-final had gone well for me, so I knew I’d be in the mix. I remember reading an article by John Bannon (the former Longford AllIreland football final referee) a few weeks before the final in which he predicted that I would get the hurling and Maurice Deegan would get the football. “He obviously has his finger on the pulse because that’s exactly how it turned out.” Kelly insists he didn’t feel under any extra pressure after the controversial All-Ireland semi-final between Kilkenny and Tipperary which saw a number of unsavoury incidents unpunished. Kilkenny manager Brian Cody also turned up the heat on the Mullingar man by expressing the fear that the Cats would be penalised for any perceived reputation that they are a rough team. “You’re under scrutiny no matter what game you referee, but I would never let that get to me. The chances were that


McGrath, who had doubled up the final would go well, that the as linesman and standby referee players would be on their best for the drawn final, had two big behaviour after the fractious calls to make – both of which semi-final between Kilkenny involved Galway forward Cyril and Tipp. Donnellan who had a goal “My father, John, who disallowed and was dismissed for umpired three All-Ireland ‘striking’ a short time later. football finals with Paddy “I had blown my whistle before Collins, reminded me how the Donnellan took his shot, which 1989 All-Ireland football final ended up in the net,” he recalled. between Cork and Mayo had “Liam O’Neill (GAA president) been a very clean game after later described it to me as an Cork had been involved in a ‘unlucky call’ and that was it, but fractious semi-final that year most people won’t remember that against Dublin. I had given Galway the “Thankfully, everything went advantage to play on in the first well and we got a very good half before Iarla Tannian sent in a final between two teams who Referee James McGrath (right), with his linesmen Barry Kelly (left) long ball from which David Burke were only interested in hurling. and John Sexton (centre) warm up before the All-Ireland SHC final replay scored a goal, but that is the way The thing that stood out for me it goes.” was Henry Shefflin’s incredible career in the late 1990s. His first major On the sending off, James said: “I leadership. From the end of the first assignment was the 2006 Christy Ring saw the incident out of the corner of my half, he took the game by the scruff of Cup final. The following year, the 35eye. I checked with my linesman Barry the neck and brought Kilkenny back year-old Castlepollard Community Kelly who confirmed it was a striking into it.” School vice-principal was the ‘man in offence by Cyril Donnellan. It is In what would have been a change the middle’ for the All-Ireland SHC unfortunate for anyone to be sent off in with GAA policy, Barry had been widely quarter-final between Wexford and any match, especially in an All-Ireland tipped to be handed the replay on Tipperary. Along with his umpires Tom final, but I had no choice and had to September 30, but instead it went to McNicholas, David Hennessy, Johnny send him off. his fellow county man James McGrath. Fitzpatrick (all Lough Lene Gaels) and “Overall, though, it was a very “I was half hoping I would get it,” David Clune (Delvin), he has since memorable and enjoyable experience admits the 42-year-old . taken charge of virtually every major and the whole day flew by. My team of “It’s like anything in life – you get fixture in hurling. umpires were very good and provided greedy. Every referee wants the big In 2012 alone, he refereed the great assistance. Afterwards, Liam National League final between matches and there are only three or O’Neill presented all the umpires with Kilkenny and Cork, the Leinster SHC four really big ones in hurling. There special medals to commemorate the final between Galway and Kilkenny, the are only 24 hurling championship occasion, which was a very nice All-Ireland final replay and the matches in all and I was lucky enough touch.” Westmeath SHC final between Clonkill to do four of them last year – Tipperary McGrath and Kelly were further and Raharney. v Limerick, Dublin v Kilkenny, Cork v honoured in November when they Recalling the moment he found out Waterford and Kilkenny v Galway. travelled to New York as part of the Allhe had been appointed to handle the “Any slight disappointment I may Stars tour. All-Ireland final replay, James told the have had at not getting the replay was With three All-Ireland finals under his Westmeath Topic: “I got a phone call washed away when I heard on the belt, is there anything left for Kelly to on Tuesday, September 18 from Pat Tuesday morning that James McGrath achieve? Doherty, secretary of the Central had got it. He and I have soldiered “I’m 42 now and you can’t referee at Referees’ Appointments Committee, to together for a long time, we’ve had to inter-county level beyond the age of say that I had chosen. My initial prove ourselves to the stronger hurling 50. I’d have my doubts if I’ll go that far,” reaction was that I was very pleased counties, and I was genuinely he replies. and to be honest, very relieved that we delighted for him. “At the moment, I’m enjoying it finally knew who was doing the game, “In fairness to James, he didn’t need despite there being a lot of travel and as there had been so much speculation any advice and did a great job. It was commitment involved. But I’m sure as to which referee was actually going nice to be able to do linesman for him when next July comes around, I’ll be to be appointed. and after he had done it for me in the looking to get the Munster final or “Within minutes, the phone calls, text drawn final. When you’re not the some of the other big games like messages and emails of goodwill came referee or the standby referee, you’re everyone else. I get the same buzz out flooding in from all over the world. I of doing the club games as the interable to enjoy it that bit more.” received messages of good luck from Like Kelly, Turin clubman McGrath county ones. I’m sure I’ll know when people all over Ireland, from Boston began his inter-county refereeing my time is up.” and even Canada.”

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For More Information call 085 1018077 or Email: nextgenerationspeed@gmail.com

Next Generation Speed Strength And Conditioning Next Generation speed (NGS) was set up in early 2011 by Paul Sharry and Shane Flynn. Paul and Shane have spent the last three years studying under Irelands top strength and conditioning coaches who have experience with the IRFU and multiple top English and Irish rugby teams. NGS believes in transferring strength and conditioning into team performances on the pitch. NGS pride themselves on analysing the sport, team and players they are training in order to identify what specific muscular and fitness adaptations each player requires in order to perform to their maximum ability in the team. From their experience they recognize that one program does not fit all and individually asses every player in order to determine any weaknesses or compensations. Paul strongly believes that gym programs need to be rationalised and have a precise goal. “Strength and conditioning is becoming more important every year in the G.A.A. However with the rapid growth of teams utilising strength and conditioning it has turned more into a buzz word. Every team is doing something extra in the gym but is what their doing having any transfer onto the pitch?” Shane added to this by elaborating on Paul’s point that “although Strength and

Conditioning has grown in the G.A.A world it has been misconceived by coaches who think that it just involves laying out a circuit of some sort and once guys leave tired that its great. However when you reassess these bunch of players a year or two down the line you will find that no real adaptation will have been elicited. Strength and Conditioning is a science and when there is a legitimate rationale behind exercises, reps and recovery, athletes can experience huge gains e.g. our Dublins and Donegals” Throughout the summer N.G.S hosted very successful speed camps/weight training camps where athletes underwent a structured program each day for 5 days and as a result they learned the correct mechanics of running and weightlifting. From athletes simply changing the way they run, all players ran a faster 10m and 30m sprint time. Currently N.G.S are working one on one with Kerry All star Darran O’ Sullivan who believes they can make a difference having completed a sample session. N.G.S Summer Camp 2013 For the upcoming summer of 2013 N.G.S will be running a unique Summer Camp suitable for boys and girls who are between 7 and 15 years of age.

Paul and Shane have designed a very exciting camp where all the kids will be given an introduction to a variety of sports. They will be guaranteed nonstop fun while also benefiting from a N.G.S’s strength & conditioning expertise. Each camp will run for a duration of 5 days. On the last day of the camp each participant will receive a general scorecard which will outline the scores they achieved in each sport thus giving them a good indication of the sport they excelled in. The NGS camps are an enjoyable way for all kids to meet new friends, familiarise themselves with different sports, discover techniques in taking proper care of their bodies and indeed make that first step to becoming Westmeath’s next All Star or Olympian.The strength and conditioning summer camp is for older athletes 14 and above who wish to improve their speed, power and strength whilst also learning how to train like a professional in a safe and correct way. You will find more information on the N.G.S camps and the locations and times for each on our Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/#!/NextGener ationSpeed Or you can Email us at nextgenerationspeed@gmail.com


HANDBALL All-Ireland Softball 60x30 champion Robbie McCarthy raises the silverware

ANOTHER GREAT YEAR FOR ROBBIE MCCARTHY JNR

R

obbie McCarthy’s retention

reputation by winning the Irish One-

with her partner Catriona Casey, she

of his Irish 60x30 All-Ireland

Wall

Championship,

reached the One Wall Doubles final,

Senior Softball title and the

retaining his Irish 40x20 National

only to lose to Fiona Ni Churain and

performances of his fellow Mullingar

Championships Men’s Open Single

Marie McElduff.

club

National

World

titles and reaching the Irish Men’s

In all, 11 Mullingar handballers took

Championships were the highlights of

Singles 40x20 final where he finished

part in the handball extravaganza,

another busy handball year.

runner-up

which attracted 2,000 entries from all

members

at

the

to

world

handball

over the world. Natasha Patrizi

champion Paul Brady. Westmeath

At the World Championships, which

performed well in the 40x20 Ladies

handball, and for Robbie McCarthy

took place at CityWest in Dublin from

One Wall before losing in the quarter-

Jnr in particular. The supremely-

October 11 to 21, Robbie collected

finals, while Aoife McCarthy put in

talented 24-year-old from Mullingar

bronze medals in the 40x20 Men’s

wonderful performances in the 40x20

remained king of the 60x30 court

Open Singles and in the 40x20 Men’s

and One Wall competitions.

following a breathtaking display

Doubles, teaming up with Meath’s

which saw him retain his All-Ireland

Brian Carroll to win the latter medal.

What

a

year

for

Senior Softball crown at the expense

The

Worlds

in

resounding

Abbeylara, Co. Longford at the

Westmeath

beginning of September.

Robbie’s

of

Dublin’s

Eoin

Kennedy

He further enhanced his growing

proved success

point younger

of

to

be

sister

lose to P Gonzalez of Puerto Rico at

a

the semi-final stage, while there were memorable performances by all the

Aoife

underage members of Mullingar

bringing home a silver medal. Along

46

Robbie McCarthy Snr was unlucky to

a

with

from view

In the Men’s Over 50 One Wall,

handball club.


In the U13 Boys 40x20 Doubles,

followed as Kennedy closed the gap

the first game 21-17, but McCarthy

Jack McCarthy recorded fine victories

to 12-15. But the reigning champion

and Sheridan hit back to win the

over Jordan Gaynor and Dylan

found

second game by the same score. The

Harkin before losing out to Sean

unanswered aces to win 21-12.

Mulkerrin. Sean Flanagan and Niall Mitchell

both

gave

outstanding

another

gear

to

hit

six

midland pair finished the stronger to

“It’s great to come back and win the title,” the Mullingar man enthused.

win the third game on an identical scoreline, 21-17.

displays in the U15 One Wall

“This is my ultimate goal every year

There was more glory for McCarthy

competition. Darren Carter, in the

as I cherish the 60x30 title more than

in July when he overcame Clare’s

U17 One Wall, came up against a

anything else. I won last year and that

Diarmuid Nash in the Irish One Wall

very strong Tyrone opponent in Luke

definitely helped my confidence, but I

National Championships at CityWest.

Kelly.

Wall

felt good today and I had to raise my

In a dramatic contest played over

competition, Jack McCarthy defeated

game as Eoin is a brilliant player and

three games, McCarthy drew first

John Dunne, Ciaran Coney and Paul

I knew coming here today that he

blood by winning the first 15-9. In the

Conneely to book a place in the

would be on the top of his game.”

second game, Nash hit his stride to

In

the

U11

One

quarter-final where he was narrowly

After a phenomenal 2011, which saw him claim the Irish Open 40x20

beaten by David Walsh. Further honour was bestowed on

Nationals, the All-Ireland Senior

the Westmeath club when Robbie

Hardball Singles Championship, the

McCarthy Snr was selected to

All-Ireland Senior 60x30 Softball

referee the Ladies 40x20 Open

Singles and the US Open titles, as

Singles final between Aisling O’Reilly

well as being named handball’s All

and Fiona Shannon. Robbie also had

Star Player of the Year, McCarthy had

success as coach to Anna Spence,

a lot to live up to last season. He

who won gold in the Ladies Over 30

reached the Men’s 40x20 Senior

40x20 Doubles, Leah Doyle from

Singles final at the end of March in

Leixlip, who won gold in the U11 Girls

Roscommon, but was forced to give

40x20 Singles and Doubles, and

second best to Cavan’s Paul Brady,

Dermot Nash, who also garnered a

who won the title for a remarkable

gold medal.

eighth year in-a-row.

However, the highlight of the

In May, Robbie retained his Irish

appeared to a commanding 8-1 lead, but

McCarthy

dug

deep

and

responded in emphatic fashion by reeling off 10 consecutive points to prevail 11-9 and secure his second win in the event. As mentioned earlier, Robbie came away from the World Championships with a brace of bronze medals. After a great run to the semi-final (he memorably beat Eoin Kennedy in a quarter-final tiebreaker), McCarthy lost out to Arizona’s Luis Moreno in the 40x20 Men’s Open Singles. Along

40x20

weeks earlier when Robbie McCarthy

Men’s Open Senior Singles title by

Jnr repeated his 2011 victory over

easily defeated Michael Gregan at

eight-time champion Eoin Kennedy in

Kingscourt,

the Irish 60x30 Senior Softball

champion

control

Michael Finnegan. But McCarthy and

decider. In what was their fourth final

throughout both games and despite

Carroll came good in the bronze

showdown

years,

some stern resistance from his

medal playoff. Robbie was also a

McCarthy was sensational in the

opponent, he powered through to

member of the Irish team that

opening exchanges when he opened

close out 21-9 in both games.

qualified for the One Wall Federation

as

many

Championships

The Clare man raced into what

Westmeath handball year came a few

in

National

win by 15-12 and force a tiebreaker.

Co. was

Cavan. well

in

The

with his partner Brian Carroll, he also lost the 40x20 Doubles semi-final to the Cavan pair Paul Brady and

Cup final against the US.

up a 10-1 lead. But Kennedy then

In June, Robbie teamed up with

upped his game and, incredibly, the

Meath veteran Tom Sheridan to claim

Of course, Robbie’s sister Aoife was

great rivals were soon deadlocked at

the Men’s Open Senior Doubles titles

the other big local winner at the

11-all.

at the Danny O’Sullivan Softball

Worlds. Her silver medal capped a

60x30

Invitational

highly successful year in which she

lead before McCarthy fired one

Tournament in Hospital, Co. Limerick.

also won the All-Ireland Ladies 40x20

brilliant kill shot after another to take

McCarthy and Sheridan defeated

Junior Singles title and teamed up

the first game 21-16. The second

2010 winners Barry Goff and Colin

with Tang’s Niamh Egan (who had an

game was finely balanced early on

Keeling of Wexford in a thrilling final

injury-ravaged season) to reach the

before McCarthy opened up a 12-7

over three games.

All-Ireland 40x20 Junior Doubles

The Dublin man surged into a 16-12

advantage. Some brilliant rallies

Memorial

The highly-rated Wexford duo took

47

final.


EOIN PRICE Eoin keeps his eye on the sliotar against Antrim

PRICE TO LEAD FROM THE FRONT

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fter skippering both his club and country to glory last year, Eoin Price is hoping he will have similar success as Westmeath captain in the year ahead. Eoin Price has described being handed the Westmeath hurling captaincy as the “icing on the cake” after a memorable 2012 for the Clonkill clubman. In the space of a few weeks last October, Price skippered Clonkill to their 13th Westmeath SHC title and Ireland to victory over Scotland in the Hurling/Shinty International series. And to cap it all off, he has now been installed as captain of the Lake County for the coming season with Castletown-Geoghegan’s Joe Clarke assuming the role of vice-captain. “I’ve had some year. I was just saying recently that I didn’t know what I did to deserve the great things

that have happened to me over the last few months,” the trainee primary school teacher enthuses. “When Brian Hanley (Westmeath manager) rang me to ask if I’d be interested in being captain, I didn’t have to think twice about it. I said ‘yes’ straight away. To get that phone call was unbelievable. It’s a fantastic honour to captain your county. Even though I’ve had a long year with the club and county, I can’t wait to get back playing now. I think all the players are just looking forward to the new season.” Price will lead a team that is likely to be much-changed from last year. Fellow Clonkill man Paddy Dowdall, who he has succeeded as captain, is taking a year out for work and family reasons, dual star Francis Boyle is working in the UK, Darren McCormack has retired, while key forward Dan Carty could be sidelined for six months after undergoing knee

48

surgery. There are also doubts over the availability of two other Clonkill stars, Adam Price and Brendan Murtagh. Price, whose is Eoin’s older brother by a year, may not be able to commit after starting a new job in Armagh, while Murtagh is thought to be taking a year out. On the plus side, Paul Greville has once again chosen hurling over football, while Derek McNicholas – who was one of the players controversially omitted from last year’s squad – has returned to the fold. Last year’s vice-captain Philip Gilsenan has also re-joined the squad after opting off it towards the end of last season. “There are an awful lot of new faces this year. I would say about 70 per cent of the squad are U21. Brian Hanley is very keen to develop the new players and to build on the progress we made last year,” the new Westmeath captain says.


Eoin believes the team will benefit from the experience and knowhow of new selectors Johnny Greville and Seamus Ennis. Greville has managed Raharney for the last three years, during which he steered them to an Examiner Cup triumph and a famous Leinster club championship victory over Coolderry in 2010, while Meath native Ennis has had spells in charge of his adopted club Delvin and Castlepollard. In addition, Tyrone man Eoin Bradley has been appointed as the team’s new physical trainer in succession to Peter Leahy, who is managing the St. Malachy’s footballers instead this year. Bradley works for NADA (the National Athletic Development Academy) in

Blanchardstown where the Westmeath players have been given access to the state-of-the-art training facilities. “Johnny and Seamus know the local scene inside out and are both hugely passionate,” Price goes on to say. “We’ll be as physically fit as anyone again this year. Eoin (Bradley) will make sure of that. He is training us through NADA, which means we have the use of their facilities. We are very lucky in that regard. It’s just a matter of believing in ourselves. It’s a problem a lot of counties similar to us seem to have.” The wing back-cum-midfielder says the Lake County’s objectives for 2013 are to win Division 2A of the Allianz League and to reach a Leinster SHC

A familiar pose as Eoin races towards goal

49

semi-final against last year’s AllIreland runners-up Galway. “Everyone is saying we have a great draw in Leinster, but if we were to start believing that, the chances are we’ll be beaten by Antrim in the first round. We are certainly capable of beating any of the teams on our side of the draw, but you can’t look beyond Antrim at the same time. No different to ourselves, they’ll see the draw as a chance to make progress. “We had a massive win over them last year when no-one gave us much of a chance. But now we have to go out and prove that we can beat them again. It’s not going to be easy. It would be great to get another rattle at Galway after doing well against them in the last couple of years.


“We’ll worry about the league first, though. Last year we were bitterly disappointed to miss out on promotion after losing the final to Carlow. We want to make amends for that and to get up to a higher division. But again you have strong teams in Division 2A like Laois and Kerry. Laois were relegated last year and will have their sights set on going straight back up. All the games in that division will be tough.” He continues: “We have a long road ahead of us. As the old saying goes, ‘Rome wasn’t built in a day’. But as long as we keep making progress, that’s the most important thing.” Price, who made his senior intercounty debut in 2007, will do well to have another year like 2012 when he captained the Clonkill and Ireland sides that retained their Westmeath SHC and Hurling/Shinty International crowns. “Last October was the best month of my life,” he fondly recalls.

“In the space of three weeks, I played in a county final and two Hurling/Shinty test matches. I was lucky enough to finish on the winning side in all three games. The Ireland captaincy was a huge honour for me, my family and my club. It was a dream come true for me to play on the same team as my favourite hurler, Tommy Walsh, and the likes of Pat Horgan, Seamus Callanan and Patrick ‘Bonner’ Maher. It was my second year to play for Ireland and I would say last year’s team was even stronger than the previous year’s. “It was great for Westmeath to have Brendan Murtagh, Joe Clarke and myself on the team along with Shane Fennell, who plays for Louth but is originally from Kilbeggan.” Last year also saw the 25-year-old make a belated SFC debut for St. Loman’s against Mullingar Shamrocks in their drawn county semi-final. Asked if he would be devoting more time to the ‘big ball’

game in 2013, Eoin smiled: “I don’t know about that! I spoke to St. Loman’s new manager Declan Rowley and told him hurling comes first with me. He knows my situation. We’ll see how things go. If you were to train seven nights a week with two or three different teams, you’d be no use to anyone. “Aidan Davitt (St. Loman’s chairman) had been on to me to go back and play with Loman’s. I eventually decided to once the county hurlers had finished up for the year. I hadn’t played football in a few years but I picked it up fairly quickly again. As it turned out, I nearly did the double with Clonkill and Loman’s. We came within a whisker of beating Shamrocks who went on to win the championship. They were that little bit hungrier than us after losing the previous two county finals, so you couldn’t really begrudge them,” he concludes.

Eoin had a remarkable year in 2012, captaining Clonkill to the county title and Ireland to Shinty/Hurling glory over Scotland

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JOHN HESLIN

John Heslin gets away from Kerry's Bryan Sheehan

HOME IS WHERE THE HEART IS FOR HESLIN

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estmeath football star John Heslin says he’s “much happier” since returning home from Australia where he found out very quickly that life in the AFL wasn’t for him. John Heslin insists he has no regrets about turning his back on a professional Aussie Rules career with the Richmond Tigers. Nor has the supremely-talented St. Loman’s midfielder any regrets about moving to Melbourne in the first place and giving it a go. But when it came down to it, his decision to return home last February after less than six months Down Under was an easy one. A failure to adjust to his new lifestyle made sure of that. “I didn’t like the environment I was in,” he explains. “If you’re working in a place where you’re not happy, you’re not going to perform to the best of your ability and that’s the way it was with me. There was the homesickness as well. I

missed home, I missed my family and friends, and I missed the GAA. The craic isn’t the same over there either. The bottom line was I wasn’t happy. “When I was home for Christmas (in 2011), I didn’t want to go back. People were telling me I would settle when I went back, but I wasn’t able to and that’s when I made the decision to return home. I called everyone I knew from Ireland who has played Aussie Rules, including Tadhg Kennelly, Marty Clarke and Colm Begley. They all had the same advice, which was to try and hang on a bit longer, get a few games under your belt, but if you don’t like it come home.” Heslin, who has since resumed his Agriculture Science degree course in UCD, continues: “I’m glad I tried it because if I hadn’t, I would regret it in seven or eight years’ time. It wasn’t for me and that’s just it.” Supporters of St. Loman’s and Westmeath will be delighted to hear that the 20-year-old – who was

52

spotted by AFL scouts while playing in the Sigerson Cup two years ago – isn’t planning on returning to Australia any time soon – not for football reasons anyway. “I won’t be going back because I won’t be given the chance again,” he claims. “I had my chance and didn’t take it. I’ve no regrets. I’m much happier since I came home. The only way I can see myself going back to Australia is for work reasons. If I can’t get work in Ireland after I leave college, I’ll have to look outside the country.” The other good news for Loman’s and Westmeath is that John reckons he’s come back a better player. “It was a great experience in that I learned so much as regards training, discipline, diet and nutrition. I never got to play a competitive game out there, but I still think I’m a better footballer for the experience.” Heslin’s return to the Westmeath colours last spring coincided with a spectacular upturn in fortunes for Pat


Flanagan’s men. Defeats to Louth and Meath in their first two National League games left the Lake County odds-on favourites for relegation straight back to Division 3, but with their brilliant young talisman back in the fold, they shocked Galway and registered further wins over Monaghan and Derry to preserve their Division 2 status. While Westmeath looked a different team with Heslin on board, he rubbishes the notion that his return was the difference between the season between being a disaster and a relatively successful one. “It (the team’s improvement) wasn’t down to me,” he insists. “My return was a morale booster in the same way as Ger Egan coming back from injury was. One man doesn’t change anything. It was only after I came back that we started to get a settled team. The Garrycastle lads returned and we discovered that centre back was Paul Sharry’s best position. Things like that made a big difference. When you see the success Sharry was at centre back, it’s definitely worth sacrificing a couple of league games in order to

find the right positions.” In the Leinster championship, Heslin showed his star quality when he eclipsed Louth’s All Star midfielder Paddy Keenan at Navan, but still finished on the losing side after substitute Daniel O’Connor’s injurytime goal stole victory for the Wee County. Heslin’s heartbreak was compounded by the fact that he missed a late long-range free to level the game. Westmeath avenged that defeat by beating Louth in the All-Ireland qualifiers before they came within a whisker of causing one of the biggest shocks of all time against Kerry. “Let’s be honest, we should have beaten Kerry. We had a six-point lead on them early in the second half and shouldn’t have let it slip regardless of whatever refereeing decisions went against us. It’s funny the way things go. If Kerry had beaten us by 10 points, it would have been a poor year for us. But because they only beat us by a point, people were saying it was a good year. “For us, the biggest achievement was staying in Division 2. That, coupled with the performance against

The St. Loman’s man beats Louth’s Paddy Keenan to the ball

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Kerry, gives us something to build on in the year ahead,” he says. Whereas Westmeath had targeted survival in Division 2 last year, they are setting their sights a lot higher this season according to John. “We’ll be aiming for promotion this year. It’s going to be a tough group again with the likes of Armagh, Galway, Derry and Laois in there. We have only three home games this year, which makes things more difficult, but that shouldn’t stop us from wanting to challenge for promotion. “People tend to underestimate how good our players actually are. I’ve played U21 and senior with the likes of Callum McCormack, James Dolan, Paul Sharry and Ger Egan, and they’re as good as anyone in the country. We have Dessie Dolan and Gary Connaughton coming back as well, so there’s no reason why it can’t be a successful year.” Westmeath will earn a glamour Leinster SFC quarter-final meeting with Dublin on June 1 at Croke Park if they can account for Carlow in the first round. However, that game seems a million miles away for Heslin


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– who played underage hurling with Castletown-Geoghegan – at the moment. “I have far too much on to be thinking that far ahead,” he says. “I’ll be playing National League, Sigerson Cup and U21 championship over the next few months and that’s all I’m focused on at the minute. Obviously, it’s a big incentive for us to get to Croke Park and play Dublin,

but we can’t underestimate Carlow. A lot can happen between now and then, so we can’t take anything for granted.” Another of Heslin’s goals for 2013 is to win the Flanagan Cup with St. Loman’s, who recently appointed the highly-regarded Declan Rowley as their new manager in succession to Kenny McKinley.

John Heslin outfields Louth's Adrian Reid at Pairc Tailteann

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“If there’s anything that can spur you on, it’s seeing the neighbours (Mullingar Shamrocks) win it. We had a meeting with Declan just after he was appointed and there is no doubt that he has a lot to offer. He has lots of experience from working with Longford and Leitrim, and St. Mel’s College as well. If he can develop us further, we shouldn’t be too far away from winning it,” he concludes.


SENIOR SCÓR

PETER THE GREAT!

M

between them. Bunbrosna were the only club to win two titles, while Ballycomoyle were named as Club of the Year. As usual, the first discipline of the night was figure dancing. 2011 champions The Downs put their county title on the line against very Peter Dolan became the first strong groups from Delvin, St. Mary’s Westmeath man since the late Tom and Ballymore. Appearing in their first McHale from Athlone nearly 40 years final, St. Mary’s were the underdogs, ago to win two All-Ireland senior Scor but their group comprising Kevin titles at a packed INEC in Killarney on Lyster, Mark McMahon, Marilyn April 21 last. Loran, Celine Colgan-Murphy, Angela McHale won back-to-back titles in Solo singing winner Jenny McNamee receives her award from Olive Leonard Bradley, Sarah Jane Curran, Gemma 1973/74 in the instrumental music (Chairperson Westmeath Scor) Gorman and Theresa Jackson discipline and last year Moate Allproduced a brilliant performance to Whites clubman Dolan emulated that glory and the Castletown-Geoghegan pull off an historic victory. feat after captivating the 2,000-strong novelty act group, solo singer Jenny With reigning champion Padraig audience with his hilarious recitation McNamee from The Downs and the Keena not competing, the solo of “I’m looking for a woman”, which Bunbrosna set dancers win Leinster singing competition was considered tells the story of an ageing man senior Scor titles. And not forgetting to be wide open. First to take to the looking for love while still living with the young set dancers of St. Joseph’s stage was Castletown-Geoghegan’s his mother. Peter, who is a relative who captured Leinster junior Scor Niall Kelly who was followed by newcomer to Scor competition, won honours and were unlucky not to Sharon Morgan from Bunbrosna, his first All-Ireland medal in 2009 bring home an All-Ireland title as well. Ballycomoyle’s Michael Fagan and when he followed in the footsteps of The long road to Killarney began in 2008 All-Ireland champion Jenny Bunbrosna’s Christy Duffy and Mary earnest on the last Saturday in McNamee from the host club. When Hughes of Mullingar Shamrocks who February when hundreds of Scor Fear An Ti Peter Shanley announced also triumphed in the recitation enthusiasts descended on The Jenny McNamee as the winner, there discipline in 1978 and 2007 Downs GAA Centre for the county were few complaints from the respectively, and has now earned finals. Eight titles were up from grabs audience. himself a special place in the annals with St. Mary’s, Rochfortbridge, The There were new champions of Westmeath Scor. Downs, Moate All-Whites, Mullingar crowned in the instrumental music As in 2009, Peter – whose late Shamrocks, St. Joseph’s, discipline where Bunbrosna father Dr Nick Dolan was a former Castletown-Geoghegan and dethroned Ballymore to qualify for a chairman of the Moate All-Whites club Bunbrosna sharing the honours place in the Leinster semi– received a rapturous finals. Ballycomoyle also welcome on his return to the took part in a cracking south Westmeath town the competition, but in the end following evening when a the adjudicators plumped for large crowd packed into Bun’, who were represented Don’s to celebrate his by Sharon Morgan, Leona success. The double AllMcKenna, Lorraine Glynn, Ireland champion thanked all Martin Fox and Emma who had supported him, McCormack. including Scor stalwarts St. Joseph’s Hugo Slevin Tommy and Louise Heavin, was hoping to complete a and Ronnie Minnock. three-in-a-row of county Peter’s success capped successes in the recitation another highly successful discipline, but he and fellow year for Westmeath Scor Club of the Year Ballycomoyle. Front l\r: Catherine Daly, Sinead contestants Pius Kirby from which also saw the Fitzpatrick, Carmel Doherty, Helen Coyle. Back l\r: Dermot McKenna, Grainne Healy, Siobhan Murphy, Sean Daly, John McMahon, Clodagh Ballinagore and Ballycomoyle quiz team Cheevers, Liz Fagan, Olive Malone, Michael Fagan, Olive Leonard, Ballycomoyle’s Una Darcy claim All-Ireland junior Scor Patrick Doherty oate’s Peter Dolan joined an exclusive club of double AllIreland Scor winners when he claimed a second recitation/storytelling title in four years last April.

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had to give second best on this occasion to Peter Dolan, who we would hear plenty more about in the weeks that followed. In the ballad group discipline, the all-male Mullingar Shamrocks group of Tony Irwin, Paul McDermott, Alan Conroy, Shane Bardon and Paul Doolin emerged triumphant after a great battle with groups from Moate All-Whites, Ballycomoyle and St. Joseph’s. A few weeks later, the Mullingar lads had the honour of performing during half-time in the drawn All-Ireland club football final between Garrycastle and Crossmaglen Rangers at Croke Park. The St. Joseph’s quiz team had the distinction of being the only 2011 champions to hold onto their title. The vastly-experienced trio of Johnny Hannify, Aidan Walsh and Dick Stokes secured a remarkable 11th county title in the Question Time discipline at the expense of teams Bunbrosna Set Dancing winners. Front l\r: Ciara Maguire, Veronica Seery, Amy from Delvin, Ballinagore and Castlepollard. Barrett, Ruth Seery. Back l\r (included are): Olive Leonard (Chairperson Westmeath Scor), Anne Reynolds, Shane Drew, Robbie Wilson, Seamus Moran With St. Joseph’s losing their crown in the county semifinals, there was an opportunity for new champions to emerge in the novelty act discipline. The Downs, Mullingar Shamrocks, Ballycomoyle and CastletownGeoghegan were all in contention, but it was the latter group – represented by John ‘Banjo’ Quinn, Martin Daly, Kevin Kennedy, Mick Heeney, JJ Hussey, Deirdre Cowley-Kennedy, Bridget Ward and Claire Varley – who got the adjudicators’ vote. In the last night competition of the night, holders The Downs did battle with Ballinagore, Bunbrosna and Ballycomoyle for the set dancing title. First on stage, Bunbrosna gave a blistering performance of ‘The Cavan Reel Set’ and there was delight for their dancers Ciara Maguire, Seamus Moran, Robbie Wilson, Ruth Seery, Shane Drew, Christopher McCormack, Veronica Seery and Amy Barrett when they were announced as winners. As one of the county’s most active Scor units, Ballycomoyle’s achievement in winning the Club of the St Mary's Rochfortbridge Figure Dancing Winners. Front l\r: Marilyn Loran, Theresa Jackson, Gemma Gorman, Celine Colgan. Back l\r: Olive Leonard Year award didn’t come as a surprise. The small rural (Chairperson Westmeath Scor), Mark McMahon, Sarah Jane Curran, Angela Brady, Kevin Lyster club from north Westmeath competed in five of the eight disciplines at the county finals and will never forget 2012 Seven of the eight Westmeath winners qualified for the after their young quiz team of Andrew Leahy, Peter McKenna Leinster finals which took place in the Ballymore Community and Killian Daly swept to All-Ireland Scor na nOg glory in Centre. And after a terrific competition, Jenny McNamee, Castlebar last February. Peter Dolan, the Castletown-Geoghegan novelty act group and the Bunbrosna set dancers were celebrating provincial title wins and, with it, their tickers to the All-Ireland finals. There were high hopes for all four acts in Killarney, but Peter Dolan was the only one to return to the Lake County with an All-Ireland medal. 2012 marked the inaugural Scor na bPaisti finals which saw acts from 13 primary schools compete at The Downs GAA Centre on March 28. The brainchild of Westmeath Scor secretary Catherine Daly from Ballycomoyle, the finals were a resounding success with titles going to Ballymore NS (figure dancing), Conor Leavy from St. Ernan’s NS, Delvin (solo singing), Gaelscoil Atha Luain (instrumental music), Ballynacargy NS’s Thomas Nally (recitation), St. Kenny’s NS, Kilpatrick (ballad group), St. Colmcille’s NS, Gainstown (question time), St. Michael’s NS, Castletown-Geoghegan (novelty act) and Ballynacargy NS (set dancing).

St Joseph's Question Time winners from left Dick Stokes, Johnny Hanniffy, Michael Garvin, Aidan Walsh and Olive Leonard, Scor chairperson

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PAT FLANAGAN

Pat is in pensive mood as he considers his options

GREATER OPTIONS GIVE RISE TO OPTIMISM

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aving seen his side turn the corner in 2012 with some surprisingly good performances, Pat Flanagan believes Westmeath are now ready to challenge for major honours once again. Now in his third year as Westmeath football manager, Pat Flanagan is looking forward to a big season from his charges. Positivity exudes from the Clara man when he talks about the Lake County’s prospects for 2013. This is in stark contrast to 12 months ago when the outlook appeared gloomy to say the least. “It was a difficult time,” Flanagan admits. “Not too many were giving us a chance of winning a game in Division 2 of the league, never mind staying in it. We were down to the bare bones player-wise due to Garrycastle’s AllIreland run, fellas opting to play for the hurlers, injuries, emigration and so on. When we played Meath in the

second round of the league in Mullingar, we lined out with just three of the team – Gary Connaughton, Kieran Gavin and David Glennon – that had beaten Offaly to clinch promotion from Division 3 the previous year. “It was very disheartening, and I’d be the first to hold my hands up and say the performance that day was embarrassing. We had tried a number of young players, but the lack of experience and competition for places showed. That had a negative impact and we were left with no option but to start a rebuilding process again. The team had been in free-fall before we managed to stop the rot by coming up from Division 3 in 2011. But our progress in the early part of last year was hampered by the huge number of players we were missing.” Three weeks after the Meath debacle came an unexpected turning point. With John Heslin back in the team after deciding that Aussie Rules football wasn’t for him, Westmeath

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pulled off a sensational 0-14 to 0-13 victory over Galway. Further wins over Monaghan and Derry saw them retain their Division 2 status against all the odds. A desperately unlucky defeat to Louth in Navan made for a short-lived Leinster SFC campaign, but that loss was later avenged in the first round of the All-Ireland qualifiers at Cusack Park. And then came that heroic performance against Kerry, which deserved better than a one-point defeat. “We’ve definitely turned the corner,” the Westmeath manager insists. “All the negativity that was there at the start of last year is gone. It’s all in the past. There’s nothing but positive vibes now. The future looks bright. “That (positive outlook) has come from the fact that we stayed in Division 2, when nobody expected us to, and the display against Kerry. Those things have given us huge confidence. The other big thing for me is the strength of our squad now. We’ve got Gary Connaughton, Kieran


Gavin, Callum McCormack, Dessie Dolan, James Dolan, Francis Boyle, David Duffy and Darragh Daly back, who weren’t available for one reason or another against Kerry. I’ve no doubt that we would have won that game if we had Dessie. Even at 33, he’s still a quality footballer. “We’ve also brought in the likes of Ciaran Curley, Damien Dolan and Lorcan Smyth who I’m sure will prove themselves to be great additions to the squad. You will see fierce competition for places this year, which probably wasn’t there last year. Everyone is putting in a huge effort in training because they know they can achieve.” Whereas consolidation was the objective in the league last year, Pat says Westmeath are targeting promotion in 2013. He is also feels the team is ready to challenge for a Leinster title. “Our goals are to win Leinster and to get out of Division 2. I always said we needed to build a solid base before we could start talking about winning a Leinster title, and I think we’ve done that now. We’ve got to the stage where we feel we can challenge for major honours again. We’ve got more options for every position. These lads are ambitious, they’re good footballers and they want to achieve things. If they believe in themselves enough, they could win an All-Ireland in two or three years’ time,” he contends. “Last year we had nine U21s on the senior panel, but this year we’re only got three – John Heslin, Kelvin Reilly and Stephen Gilmore. It’s a sign of where we’re going. We now have a number of players between the important ages of 24 and 28, which we never had before. It gives our squad a better balance.” A glamour quarter-final meeting with champions Dublin on Saturday, June 1 will await Westmeath if they can account for Carlow in the first round of this year’s Leinster SFC (at Cusack Park on Sunday, May 19). The last time the Lake County played a championship match at Croke Park on a Saturday night was nine years ago when they famously defeated Laois in the Leinster final replay to capture the Delaney Cup for the first and, so far, only time under the late

Paidi O Se’s watch. “Dublin have been the top dogs in Leinster for a long time, but I see this draw as a huge opportunity for us,” continues Pat, who doubles up as senior and U21 manager again this year. “If we can beat Carlow – and that won’t be easy – we’d relish going to Croke Park to play them. Sooner or later, someone is going to emerge from the pack. Why not that team be Westmeath? Some of the lads have said it to me that they want to win a Leinster in Paidi O Se’s memory. We’ll use whatever motivation we can to try and get there.” Flanagan is appealing to the Westmeath public to throw their weight fully behind his team in the coming months. He is especially keen to see the county’s stay-away fans coming out and showing their support for the players. “When we first met up on December 1, the first thing we decided was that there would be no negativity this year. We are going into the new campaign with a positive attitude and outlook. We want everyone – county board officials, supporters and the local media – to be in the same state of mind. “We’re too quick in Westmeath to knock ourselves. You’d never see that happening in the more successful counties. I know times are

tough and there isn’t a lot of money around, but I would appeal to everyone in Westmeath to get behind us. We need all the support we can get and it’s important that people come out and support us. We don’t want to see a repeat of last year when we were outnumbered by Kerry supporters in our own pitch.” Flanagan is delighted that double Paralympian gold medallist Mark Rohan has agreed to join him and his selectors Philip Kiernan and Tom Darcy, as well as physical trainer Joe Quinn, in the Westmeath backroom team for 2013. Rohan was a rising star of Castledaly and Westmeath football when he was left paralysed from the chest down following a motorcycle accident in 2001. “Mark’s professionalism and winning attitude will be vital in our quest for success this year. He’s a massive addition to our backroom team. “In my first year with the team, we got promoted from Division 3. Last year we held our own in Division 2 and I firmly believe we are now in a position to strike. We have a lot of things to improve on, such as our away record which was poor last year, but the lads are eager to learn from their mistakes and to win things,” the former Tyrrellspass and Clara boss concludes.

Pat congratulates Louth counterpart Peter Fitzpatrick following the Wee County’s win over Westmeath in the 2012 Leinster championship

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KIERAN GAVIN Kieran in action for DCU

CAPTAIN FANTASTIC

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ieran Gavin lifted three major trophies as captain of DCU and Mullingar Shamrocks last year. He’s now hoping for similar success as skipper of his county. If Kieran Gavin was around in Napoleon’s time, he would surely have been considered a lucky general. Last year, the highly-rated full back had the honour of captaining Dublin City University (DCU) to Sigerson Cup and O’Byrne Cup

honours, and his beloved Mullingar Shamrocks to their first Flanagan Cup in 12 years. Gavin’s incredible achievements with DCU and Shamrocks went a long way towards making up for the disappointment of missing Westmeath’s entire championship campaign through injury. Indeed, his involvement with the Lake County in 2012 was restricted to just four National League games owing to a troublesome quad muscle problem.

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While luck is important in any sport, it shouldn’t take away from Gavin’s qualities as a leader and captain. These qualities have since been recognised by his county team manager Pat Flanagan who has made him Westmeath captain for the coming season in succession to Michael Ennis. “It’s the ultimate honour to captain your county, and I’d like to thank Pat for giving me this opportunity,” Kieran says.


“I was very lucky to get to captain two exceptional teams last year and if I’m half as successful with Westmeath this year, I’ll be very happy. It was my second time to win the Sigerson Cup with DCU so I feel very privileged. “After missing four or five months through injury, it was amazing to be able to come back and captain Shamrocks to a county championship. That was probably the sweetest victory I’ve ever tasted in football because I was playing alongside the lads I had grown up with and it took five attempts for us to finally get across the line.” Gavin created history at the end of February when he became the first Westmeath man to captain a Sigerson Cup winning team. DCU’s emphatic 2-17 to 0-7 victory over NUI Maynooth in the final at Dangan in Galway was the Glasnevin outfit’s third time to claim the blue riband prize of third level colleges football in six years. It completed a memorable week for

Kieran who also captained a starstudded DCU selection to an O’Byrne Cup final win over Kildare the previous weekend. Ballynacargy’s Kieran ‘Froggy’ Sheridan, who deputised for Gavin at full back on the Westmeath team in the early rounds of the same competition, was also a member of the victorious DCU panel. “I was a great honour to lead such a fantastic bunch of players,” enthuses the 24-year-old, whose team-mates included Donegal’s All-Ireland winning captain Michael Murphy, Dublin All Star forward Paul Flynn and Sligo’s David Kelly. “I owe a lot to the DCU coaching staff of Niall Moyna, Mick Bohane and Tony Diamond for giving me the captaincy and developing me as a footballer. The facilities in DCU are top-class and you can only improve your game by going to college there. “People have said that we had a packed team, but we still had to put the work in. The Sigerson is very competitive and the closest standard of football you will get to inter-county.

Kieran leads Mullingar Shamrocks on county final day

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In fairness to Niall (Moyna), he didn’t push us too hard. Through his involvement with the Dublin footballers, he understands the demands that are placed on lads who are playing for their college and county teams in the early part of the year. “There was nothing between us and Maynooth in the first half, but we found an extra gear in the second half and I was absolutely thrilled with how it worked out. “I was lucky enough to be on the team in 2010 when we beat UCC in the final and Paddy Andrews from Dublin was the captain. Hopefully Paul Flynn, who’s a good friend of mine, will be captaining DCU to another Sigerson Cup win in Athlone this year. “Even to win an O’Byrne Cup medal was a great feeling. I was talking to Donal O’Donoghue, who played for Westmeath for 10 years, afterwards and he said he would love to have won one,” continues Kieran, who graduated with an Environmental


Science degree last summer and has since secured employment as a technical sales representative with Chem-Aqua. Gavin crowned a memorable year by captaining Mullingar Shamrocks to a long overdue Westmeath SFC success in October. The Flanagan Cup was delivered to Springfield for the first time since 2000 following a replay victory over holders Garrycastle. Including replays, it was the fifth meeting of the sides in county finals since 2010 with Ray Smyth’s charges having failed to win any of the previous four encounters. Not only did Shamrocks finally get one over on their Athlone-based Kieran (left) shakes hands with Garrycastle captain Paddy Mulvihill as referee Sean Carroll looks on rivals, they also stopped them from equalling their Lorcan Smyth, has led to a significant “It was really frustrating because I record of a four-in-a-row of SFC titles, increase in expectations. felt that I was playing the best football which was achieved between 1992 “We’re aiming high. We have some of my career at that time. I made and ’95 under the management of top-quality players who are ambitious several attempts to get back, but Richie O’Donoghue and captaincy of and want to do well. You saw it with each time I damaged the quad Ned Moore. Garrycastle who went to an Allmuscle again. I was named to start Ireland club final last year. The 22/23the first round All-Ireland qualifier “It was as much a relief as year-olds in the squad are very good against Louth at Cusack Park, but anything,” smiles Kieran, whose and they’ll be that bit stronger this when I tested it (the injury) fully in the younger brother Davy was also a year. Having got a taste for winning warm-up, I got a sharp pain and member of the winning Shamrocks with DCU and Shamrocks, I’d like to couldn’t play. I was on the verge of team. experience more of the same with tears at that stage. “We were knocking on the door for a Westmeath. “Thankfully, it eventually healed and long time and I suppose you could “We’ll give it a good rattle and see I got back in time for the latter stages say we were hurting badly after the where it takes us. Things are going of the county championship.” previous year when we lost after a very well at the minute” explains replay. The lads put in an unmerciful Gavin, who made his Westmeath Kieran is hoping to stay injury-free effort and it was such a relief to finally debut all of six years ago. in the year ahead and help get there in the end.” Westmeath will have a glamour Westmeath to achieve their goals of Gavin’s feats are all the more Leinster quarter-final showdown with gaining promotion from Division 2 of remarkable when it’s taken into Dublin to look forward to on June 1 in the National League and winning a account that he missed a big chunk of Croke Park if they can account for Leinster championship. Such goals the season with a quad muscle injury Carlow in the first round, but the would have been unrealistic a year he sustained while playing for newly-appointed Lake County ago, but the return of Dessie Dolan to Westmeath against Monaghan in a skipper warns: “Playing Dublin is a the fold, coupled with the emergence National League game on March 18. big incentive, but Carlow won’t be of exciting young players like Callum Little did he know at the time that it any pushovers. We’re going to work would be his last appearance for the McCormack, Kevin Maguire, Ger Lake County in 2012. hard between now and then. Egan, Paul Sharry, John Heslin and “I was out from March until August Hopefully, we’ll have a good league Kieran’s club-mates Denis Corroon, with the injury,” he recalls. and take it from there.” Ciaran Curley, Darragh Daly and

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1963 MINORS

Westmeath, All-Ireland minor finalists, 1963. Front row l\r: Andy Gillivan, Oliver Egan, Dessie Hamm, Ray Niland, Mickey Fagan, Rob Cornally, Frank Connaughton (captain), Kevin Higgins, Pat Buckley, J.V Costello, Kevin Kelly. Back row l\r: Gerry Frawley, Tommy Reeves, Terry Smith, Paddy Gilsenan, Dan O’Dowd, Brendan Glynn, Tom King, Jimmy Murray, Pat Bradley, Paddy Malone, Kieran Coffey, Ned Daly

50TH ANNIVERSARY OF HISTORIC MINOR FINAL APPEARANCE

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his year marks the 50th anniversary of Westmeath’s first appearance in an AllIreland minor football final. Here, two of the stars of that trailblazing team, Mickey Fagan and Rob Cornally, share their memories of a campaign that had many highs but ultimately ended in defeat to Kerry. Thirty-two-years before Westmeath finally got their hands on the Tom Markham Cup, the Lake County unsuccessfully contested the 1963 All-Ireland minor football final against Kerry. The campaign captured the imagination of Westmeath supporters who travelled to Croke Park in their thousands on September 22 in the hope of seeing the county win its first All-Ireland title in football since the junior-winning year of 1929. But it wasn’t to be as the football aristocrats of Kerry romped to a 1-10 to 0-2 victory. When we spoke to Rob Cornally and Mickey Fagan, who lined out at

left half back and left corner forward respectively, they both agreed that the decision to overnight in Bray before the final backfired badly on a Westmeath team that carried the favourites’ mantle. “It was a big mistake,” remembers Rob, who was a student in Carmelite College, Moate at the time and was secretary of the football board when Westmeath won the All-Ireland minor title at the second time of asking in 1995. “We went up to Bray the night before instead of travelling up on the morning of the final. I was sharing a room with four or five other fellas and we spent half the night chatting. The following morning we went for a run and that wasn’t necessary either. The preparation was all wrong in my opinion. We should have been left in our own environment.” Castletown-Finea’ Mickey Fagan, who would go on to become one of Westmeath’s greatest ever dual players, ruefully reflects: “It was a terrible idea. Booking a group of

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young lads, some of who had never spent a night away from home, into a hotel the night before an All-Ireland final was the worst thing the team management could have done. I’m convinced we would have beaten Kerry if we had travelled up on the morning of the game instead. “As far as I’m aware, Kerry travelled up that morning and they’re a lot further away from Dublin than we are. We should have done what the ’95 team did and slept in our own beds the night before” Westmeath were managed by Fr. Michael Cremin, the Cork native who guided Carmelite College to three Hogan Cup successes in 1976, ’80 and ‘81. His selectors were Michael Reynolds (Mullingar Shamrocks), Paddy Guinan (Moate) and Bill Smith (Athlone). Eoin Dalton was chairman of the minor board, while Kit (Christy) Whelehan was secretary. A talented Lake County team signalled their intent by hammering Longford on a 3-14 to 0-2 scoreline in their championship opener at Cusack


Park. In the Leinster quarter-final, which was also played at Cusack Park, they accounted for Offaly – who would bounce back in 1964 to win the All-Ireland – by 2-10 to 1-8. Westmeath drew their Leinster semifinal with Laois in Portlaoise on a 110 to 3-4 scoreline before winning the replay by 5-6 to 2-6 at Croke Park. In the Leinster final on August 4, they overcame Dublin by 2-14 to 3-7 at O’Connor Park, Tullamore to capture a third provincial title in the grade. “It was very similar to 1995 in that we needed more than one game to get past Laois,” explains Rob, who hails from Ballymore, but whose family are now synonymous with the Mullingar Shamrocks and St. Oliver Plunkett’s clubs. “We were lucky to take it to a replay after they missed a penalty in the last minute. Gerry Frawley took over in goal from ‘Chuck’ Higgins and saved it. JV Costello scored three goals in the replay and we ran out easy winners in the end.” Westmeath’s best performance of the campaign came against Down in the All-Ireland semi-final at Croke Park a fortnight after the Leinster final. Centre back Pat Bradley, midfielder Kieran Coffey and corner forward JV Costello all raised green flags in a superb 3-9 to 0-8 win. “Down were five points up when

they brought Val Kane on and that’s what lost it for them,” Mickey maintains. “They were holding Kane back for the senior game against Dublin afterwards and obviously thought they could beat us without him. But by bringing him on, they sparked us into life and we put on a great show.” Unfortunately for Westmeath, they didn’t come close to replicating that performance in the final against Kerry. The Kingdom won by 11 points with the Leinster champions’ only two points coming from Maryland’s Pat Buckley. “We didn’t do ourselves justice. It was an awful pity because a lot of work had gone into preparing for the final. We trained at least two nights a week, which mightn’t seem like much now but was a lot in those days. It was disappointing, but it was still a good achievement to get to the final.” He continues: “While there was a lot of interest in us at the time, I wouldn’t say the hype was on the same scale as it was for the 1995 All-Ireland final. Maybe the whole county would have gone mad if we had beaten Kerry. I guess we’ll never know.” Like Mickey Fagan, St. Mary’s Pat Bradley went on to become a wellknown dual player with Westmeath. Earlier in 1963, he and midfielder Ray Niland helped Ballyfin College in Laois to a Leinster Colleges hurling

title. Niland was a corner back for Mayo for many years after and is the father of Irish tennis stars Conor and Gina Niland. Another Athlone man, Turlough O’Connor, who is an iconic name in Irish soccer, had played in the early round wins over Longford and Offaly, only to be ruled ineligible for the rest of the campaign after the Faithful County had reported him for playing soccer (the GAA’s infamous ban on its members playing other sports remained place until 1971). Two of the 1963 team are now sadly deceased – Rosemount’s Tom King, who died tragically as a young man and Athlone’s Gerry Frawley who, like Turlough O’Connor, was an accomplished soccer player. Gerry passed away in the US 16 years ago. Westmeath lined out as follows in the 1963 All-Ireland minor football final against Kerry: Kevin ‘Chuck’ Higgins (Mullingar Shamrocks); Brendan Glynn (Ballynacargy), Pat Malone (Caulry), Tom King (Rosemount, RIP); Jim Murray (Athlone), Pat Bradley (St. Mary’s), Rob Cornally (Ballymore); Ray Niland (Athlone), Gerry Frawley (Athlone, RIP); Pat Buckley (Maryland), Frankie Connaughton (Mullingar Shamrocks), Kevin Kelly (Rosemount); JV Costello (Athlone), Kieran Coffey (Kilbeggan), Mickey Fagan (Castletown-Finea). Sub used: Dessie Hamm (Moate).

The victorious Westmeath minor team that captured the All-Ireland minor football title in 1995

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Michael Daly (Daly Autos), double Paralympic champion Mark Rohan, Evan Daly and Tommy Daly

DALY RETURNING THE FAVOUR 68


The Dunbia sponsored Kilbeggan JFC winning squad

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ol an óige agus tiocfaidh siad’ … Praise the youth and they will come. Tommy Daly and the underage mentors at Castledaly are practising what they preach. The former Castledaly player is returning the favour to the club that gave him so much. Captaining Castledaly to Westmeath IFC success in 1994 was the highlight of Tommy Daly’s playing career but nowadays he is heavily involved in coaching underage football in the club and that comes a close second. Tommy lined out at left half-forward when Castledaly got the better of Rochfortbridge following a replay in the IFC final 19 years ago. “I scored a goal in the first game but

can’t say that I did a whole lot in the replay,” he recalled. “The goal came just before half-time in the drawn game. We were about six points down at that stage so it gave us a big lift.” He continued: “It was without doubt the highlight of my playing days but another highlight is my involvement with the underage in the club at the moment. I look after the Under 8s and 10s.” with other members of the club. Tommy has been active in the club’s underage section for the past four years and his son Evan (8) has inherited his father’s passion for gaelic football. “Evan loves football and is sport mad - Castledaly and Westmeath football mad,” he revealed.

“ Evans greatest idol is Mark Rohan. Myself and Mark played for years together with the club. We used to cycle to the club from Ballinahowan for games and training since we were kids. “When he won his gold medals last summer, we brought Evan up for his homecoming and it was something very special to us. I have great admiration for Mark as a sportsperson and a friend. He is someone to look up to in life.” When Tommy hung up his boots he took up running and cycling to fill the void. He has successfully completed two Dublin City marathons and is also heavily active on the bike and charity cycles annually. Combining his underage coaching

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with a hectic work schedule as a Sales Manager with Kilbeggan-based firm Dunbia can be time consuming but he wouldn’t have it any other way. “I didn’t want to walk away from the club for good when I finished playing. I wanted to give something back, give what my underage mentors gave me when I was kid. “Castledaly is a family run, country club. Those who played aspire to give something back. I got great enjoyment, fun and craic and friendship out of my playing days and I want today’s kids to get the same out of gaelic football. “I’m proud of the kids, we have a great bunch and we have good people helping out – Mick Kerrigan, Brian Looney and James Galvin.” We are all very passionate about giving back the enjoyment we received. James Galvin was, of course, captain when Castledaly claimed a first ever Westmeath SFC title victory with a 0-10 to 0-8 final victory over Garrycastle in 2008. “James came on board last year and his input has been greatly appreciated. He is a PE teacher by profession and he has helped modernize the training. There’s more of a focus on the skills rather than fitness or stamina and the kids are really enjoying it. “Encouragement is the key thing.” The primary objective for Tommy, and all the underage coaches in Castledaly, is to bring young players up through the ranks and mould them into future senior players for the club. Last year Castledaly exited the Westmeath SFC at the quarter-final stage after a replay defeat at the hands of neighbours Maryland but they have a new manager in situ for 2013 and Tommy is upbeat about their prospects. “I’d be quietly confident about their chances if the players believe in themselves. “The players are there and I’d be hopeful of them doing something decent in 2013. Hopefully the new coach can provide a bit of fresh impetus that will bring them forward,” added Tommy who was one of the selectors along with manager PJ Hoey when Castledaly captured

Kilbeggan captain Sean Pigeon with the JFC cup

minor honours in 2010. He also adopts a positive stance when asked about the direction that the Westmeath senior football team is heading at this point in time. “Pat Flanagan has taken the wise option to try to blood a few new players it’s also good to have Dessie Dolan back, His experience can only be a good thing in the dressingroom and he is the team’s standard-bearer along with Denis Glennon.” Are they good enough to claim the county’s second Leinster SFC title in the coming months? “For me, I think success would be a g r a d u a l Continued improvement on last year. “To go further that we did in 2013 has to be the goal. Realistically, you would have to say that we are in a rebuilding process and I would like to see a team built to be strong rather than one hit wonders. That, in my mind, is well

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within their capabilities.” As already mentioned, Tommy’s day time job is as sales manager with Dunbia who are the largest employers in Kilbeggan with over 200 staff. He has worked at the company’s Westmeath site since 1989. The multi-national company is proud to sponsor the local gaelic football team who annexed the Westmeath JFC silverware in 2012. “Dunbia has been very good to me, in allowing me time and space to keep football up. My work involves a lot of travelling away but they facilitate that time and have helped my own club with sponsorship at underage level. “Even though it is a Northern Ireland-based company they are very aware of the importance the GAA is to the local community. That’s why they want to give something back to the local community, this is one of the main reasons why they sponsor Kilbeggan GAA club,” added Tommy whose brother Ciaran was involved in a medic capacity with junior champions. A lot of retired gaelic footballers and hurlers throughout Westmeath and, indeed the country, could do with following Tommy’s example. The GAA is a better place for his voluntary input and many more like him. “I miss playing football but when I couldn’t dedicate my life to it the way I had from a young age, it was time to give up. But, in GAA terms, Castledaly is my first love and, as I have said, I’m delighted to be able give something back.”

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SPECIAL FEATURE Sir Prancelot has a bright future

IT’S ALL IN THE BREEDING

B

reeding horses is a specialised area that takes great care and attention to detail. There are many factors that make a good breeder and Tally-Ho Stud have all the necessary attributes in abundance. Tally-Ho Stud near Mullingar has been producing champion racehorses for over 70 years. The well-known establishment is owned and managed by the O'Callaghan family, who acquired the stud farm in 1978. Tally-Ho Stud is one of the longest established stud farms in Ireland and its rich limestone soil has been producing top-class racehorses since the 1930s. The land surrounding Lough Ennell has reared many a champion racehorse, including the brilliant 1968 Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe winner Vaguely Noble, who was bred at Cleaboy Stud. The list of illustrious racehorses bred at Tally-Ho Stud includes: Parthia (Epsom Derby), Wollow (English 2000 Guineas), Cloonagh (Irish 1000 Guineas), Hard to Beat (French Derby), Aurelius (St Leger) and Alcide (King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes and St Leger). Cork man Tony O'Callaghan and his wife

Anne purchased the farm in 1978 from Arthur Boyd Rochford, whose father was the leading English trainer Sir Cecil Boyd Rochfort, who was also stepfather to Classic trainer Henry Cecil. Assisted by their sons Roger and Henry, Tony and Anne have maintained the farm's proud tradition of producing high-class racehorses. In the past few years, Tally-Ho has reared four individual Group 1 winners as well as a host of top-class winners. Among these winners are Bushranger, a top sprinting fouryear-old who broke the track records at Newmarket and Deauville when winning the Middle Park Stakes and the Prix Morny respectively; Myboycharlie, who also won the Prix Morny; Kingsgate Native, winner of the Golden Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot and the Nunthrope Stakes at York and Lahaleeb, winner of The EP Taylor Stakes in Canada last year. The O'Callaghan family take a hands-on approach to running the farm which now consists of 365 acres. The combination of the experience, knowledge and enthusiasm of the two generations ensures Tally-Ho provides all of its customers with a personal

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Some of the horses bred by TallyHo stud from top to bottom: Baltic King, Bush Ranger, Kodiac, Zebedee


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Another aspect of the Tally-Ho farm and proven professional service. Tally-Ho is enterprise is the breaking of yearlings for an experienced, efficient, effective and preparation for the two-year-old sales which caring Stud which makes no excuses for take place in Ireland, England and France providing the best of both established and from March to May each year. new methodology in the breeding and care The logistics of arranging to get staff and of thoroughbreds. horses to and from bloodstock sales as well The farm embraces all aspects of breeding as meeting with breeders, trainers, and rearing young thoroughbred horses and auctioneers and prospective purchasers is is recognised as one of the leading another aspect of the bloodstock business consignors of thoroughbreds in both Ireland that is not often recognised by those from and England. Over the past 30 years, the outside the business. The team at Tally-Ho farm has embarked upon standing stallions take this in their stride and are always on and providing breeders with the hand to meet and greet their ever-expanding opportunities to use well bred horses who client base. can produce precocious horses. In an era when branding a product is a Among the successful stallions that have popular phrase, the Tally-Ho Stud team are stud at the farm are Danetime, champion very happy to let the horses that they have sire of two-year-olds and sire of Bushranger bred and reared do the talking for them on and Myboycharlie; Redback, sire of the racetracks throughout the world as they Lahaleeb and Blues Traveller. enter the winning enclosures. Tally-Ho Stud also produces a number of The O'Callaghan family's other sporting 'Breeze-Up' horses every year for the major interests are the GAA and rugby. A native of European B-Up sales, including High Kanturk in north Co. Cork, Tony played with Standing, Wokingham S and Shadwell S his local club Castlemagner in his youth and Group 3 winner 2009 and Tarkeena Prince, a has remained an avid Cork GAA supporter. listed winner in Germany a couple of years Roger and Henry played football with ago. Shandonagh, and Roger was also an The horse-breeding season extends from accomplished rugby player with Mullingar, January to July and it's a 24/7 schedule for receiving the award for their 'Most Improved all involved at Tally-Ho with the arrival of Player' a number of years ago. newborn foals and the care and Tony is hoping the 2010 championship will management of the mares visiting the bring success to both Cork and his adopted stallions. In addition, the foals of 2012 that Westmeath. were bred or acquired by Tally-Ho have to be "Hopefully it will turn out to be a good year reared and prepared for the yearling sales for both counties. I'm expecting Cork to that are held at Goffs, Fairyhouse, challenge strongly for All-Ireland titles in both Newmarket and Doncaster from September From top to bottom: Stone of Folca, Sweet Cecily, Kohala, Bathwick hurling and football, and Westmeath to do to December. Bloodstock sales companies Bear, Star Kodiak well in Leinster. I wish Westmeath GAA the commence their yearling inspection visits best of luck," he says. from April onwards so it's important that the yearlings are well presented for them. For further information about Tally-Ho Stud or to make an appointment to visit the farm, telephone Tony on 0862424416, Anne on 044-9348350 or Roger on 086-9690629. Their email address is info@tallyhostud.com

Danetime produced Baltic King

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MATT SCALLY

Athlone captain in 1982 Matt Scally receives an award from Tom Farrell before the 2012 drawn Westmeath SFC final

LAST LINE OF DEFENCE

T

hirty years ago, Matt Scally captained Westmeath to a National Football League Division 3 success. A six-time Flanagan Cup winner with his beloved Athlone, Matt is remembered as the leading goalkeeper in the county during the 1980s. This year marks the 30th anniversary of Westmeath’s winning of the National Football League Division 3 title when Matt Scally captained the team to a 1-8 to 1-7 victory over Louth in the final at Navan. Coming at a time when Westmeath football was at a particularly low ebb, the success provided the county with a much-needed boost. But just like

the famous Centenary Cup victory of 1984 over Dublin and the O’Byrne Cup triumph of 1988, it proved to be a false dawn for Westmeath who slipped back into the footballing wilderness before Mattie Kerrigan and Luke Dempsey combined to drag the Lake County up by the bootlaces and restore pride to the maroon jersey in the mid-1990s. “We had three great wins in the 1980s, but sadly didn’t build on any of them,” reflects Matt, who kept goal for Westmeath between 1981 and ’90. “The first was beating Louth in the ’83 league final. The following year, we beat Dublin – who were then reigning All-Ireland champions – in the Centenary Cup by 0-7 to 0-5 in Mullingar. And then in 1988, we won

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the O’Byrne Cup under Seamus Conroy and Larry Gillivan, beating Laois after extra-time in the final in Portlaoise. Along the way, we beat the All-Ireland champions Meath in Navan. But we didn’t push on from there.” Matt, who has been a detective garda sergeant based in Roscommon town for many years, is convinced things could have turned out differently if Westmeath had been more ambitious. “We lacked ambitious and belief. There was no tradition of winning and that’s one of the things that held us back,” he maintains. “We always felt inferior to our neighbours in Offaly and Meath. Our supporters, more so than the players,


had an inferiority complex whenever we played those teams. I’ve been living in Roscommon for a long time and I’ve seen Roscommon teams who wouldn’t have been as good as Westmeath contest and win Connacht titles. “I played alongside some great players like Mick and Willie Lowry, Pat Murray, Tom Darcy and Paddy Walsh, but they have very little to show for their efforts. Willie Lowry was the best midfielder in the country on his day. Getting past the first round of the championship was about the height of our ambitions every year. And that didn’t really change until the introduction of the backdoor series, by which time we had won the All-Ireland minor and U21 titles and had got a taste for winning.” Despite the many disappointments he experienced, Scally insists he was always proud to pull on the Westmeath jersey. “I loved played for my county. It’s one of the greatest honours you could ever be given. One of the best things I got from playing with Westmeath was the friendships I made. As a townie, I had a certain perception about players from country clubs, but my attitude towards them changed very quickly after joining the county panel. Some of my best friends now are from the country, and I’m even living in the country myself!” Needless to say, Matt took enormous satisfaction from Westmeath’s breakthrough Leinster SFC success of 2004 and is looking forward to a big year from the maroon and white. “I like the manager Pat Flanagan – I think he’s an honest broker who’s only interested in improving Westmeath’s lot. However, he could do without the uncertainty over the availability of certain players that he had to deal with last year. He has a very good squad at his disposal and there is no reason why Westmeath can’t challenge for a Leinster this year. Outside of Dublin, there is nothing between the other teams. And you have to ask yourself: how good are Dublin?”

Standing at 6’2”, Scally was an imposing figure between the posts. He made the odd appearance at centre forward for Athlone, but virtually all his playing career was spent in goal. Hailing from St. Patrick’s Terrace, Matt showed promise as a soccer player – which wasn’t surprising given that his father, also Matt, who was a battalion quarter master attached to Custume Barracks, had played for Athlone Town – before concentrating solely on Gaelic football. “I played Leinster Senior League soccer with St. Mary’s and the Garda in Dublin, but Gaelic was my preferred sport,” he explains. “I got into it in a big way during my time in the Marist College. Brother Alfred was a big influence on me, as was Andrew O’Sullivan, who was a teacher in the Marist but was also very involved with Athlone GAA. The late Frank Starken and Martin Flynn also helped to shape me as a footballer. “The links between the Marist College and Athlone GAA have been very strong going back to Brother Hubert’s time when he was one of the main movers behind the purchase of the site on which Pairc Chiarain now stands in 1962.” Scally, who surprisingly didn’t feature for his county at minor or U21 level, enjoyed an illustrious club career. The first honour he won with Athlone was an U14 championship in 1969. He broke onto the senior team as a 19-year-old in 1975 and subsequently played in 10 SFC finals, winning six of them. “In my first year on the team, The Downs beat us in the semi-final, but we had a great run after that. The games that stand out in my mind were the 1982 final against St. Malachy’s when I was lucky enough to be captain and the 1988 final against Tubberclair when I never handled the ball in open play and Jim ‘Jumbo’ Keane, who won an AllIreland U21 medal with Roscommon, scored eight points at 42 years of age. “We had outstanding players like Niall Lynch, the late Eamon Coleman,

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Mossy Collins and Rory Fahy who helped to keep us at the top for well over a decade,” he remembers. Matt won his first senior championship medal in 1977 when Athlone defeated Moate All-Whites by 3-7 to 1-7. Moate avenged that defeat in the 1978 decider, but Athlone bounced back in ’79 to beat Mullingar Shamrocks by 1-10 to 0-5. The Shannonsiders lost the ’81 final to St. Malachy’s by a point, only to exact revenge 12 months later. They beat Moate All-Whites by 2-9 to 0-7 in the Centenary Year final of 1984 and returned to the winners’ podium in 1988 when Tubberclair were defeated. The sky blues succumbed to Rosemount in the 1989 decider, but made amends two years later at Mullingar Shamrocks’ expense. Matt’s 10th and last county final appearance came in 1992 when Athlone suffered a heavy defeat to Shamrocks in their home ground of Pairc Chiarain. A back injury forced him to retire at the age of 38 in 1994. Matt’s job, which involves a lot of travel, didn’t lend itself to him getting into management, though he did hold the positions of chairman and secretary of Athlone during his playing career. Married to Anne, he now lives in Summerhill, which is situated on the Roscommon side of Athlone. The couple’s three children, Matt jnr, Fiona and Shane, are all involved in sport. Matt jnr plays for Clann na nGael and is also a member of the Roscommon senior football panel. Fiona, who is currently based in Abu Dhabi, is an Irish basketball international, while Shane plays for the Clann na nGael U16 team. Scally looks forward to the day when Athlone will be Westmeath football kingpins once again. “It’s been difficult living in the shadow of our neighbours Garrycastle for the last few years, but you have to take your hat off to them,” he says. “Having been neglected somewhat for a number of years, Athlone’s underage structure is very strong once again and hopefully this will lead to senior success in the not too distant future.”


SPECIAL FEATURE

Donall breaks past the challenge of Castletown-Finea/Coole/Whiehall’s Niall Kilcoyne

FOOTBALL IS A DRUG FOR PHARMACIST DONALL

D

onall Boland of Cooney’s Pharmacy in Kilbeggan is expecting his former Rosemount team-mates to be in the shake-up for intermediate honours this year. After giving nearly a decade of sterling service to the famous black and amber of Rosemount, Donall Boland retired last year with no regrets. “I really enjoyed my time with them, but at this stage of my life family and work commitments have to come first,” says the Offaly native, who turns 37 in March. “It was a privilege to play for them. They are a proud club who get great

Donall at work in Kilbeggan

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support from the local community. Football means everything to the people of Rosemount and that is reflected in the success they’ve enjoyed down through the years and the facilities they have, which are second to none. They’ve always regarded themselves as a senior club and they are certainly going about getting back up to that level the right way.” Midfield on the Rosemount team that won a county junior championship in 2007 and subsequently reached the Leinster club final, Donall joined the black and ambers after taking up a pharmacist’s position with Cooney’s Pharmacy in Moate. He has since relocated to


Donall was part of Rosemount’s 2007 JFC winning squad

Cooney’s outlet in Kilbeggan which he manages. Established by Moate man Denis Cooney 20 years ago, Cooney’s now have five outlets in Westmeath – Moate, Kilbeggan and three in Athlone (The Crescent, Athlone Town Centre and Arcadia) – and employ 30 staff. “I joined Cooney’s in 2000 and started playing football with Rosemount three years later,” he explains. “I’m originally from the Offaly/Laois border where my club was Killeigh/Raheen. I was actually a sub on the Offaly team that beat Westmeath in the 1995 Leinster U21 final in Portlaoise. I played with Killeigh/Raheen all the way up, but they were in the process of splitting when Jo Carberry asked

Derek Keenan raises the Hugh Daniel’s Cup after Rosemount’s 2002 JFC success

Best Wishes To Cooney’s Pharmacy, From

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me if I’d be interested in throwing in my lot with Rosemount. “She eventually twisted my arm and the next thing I knew I was a Rosemount player. The first time I went out to train with them, there were 30 players on the field, so that was a good sign for me.” Relegated in 2000 after 72 unbroken years in the senior ranks, Rosemount reached the intermediate championship final in Donall’s first year with the south Westmeath club in 2003. However, a surprise defeat to Ballymore came as a big setback to the Roses whose fall from grace was complete when they were relegated to the junior grade in 2006. “Things went downhill after we lost that final to Ballymore. We went in as


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Donall joined Cooney’s Pharmacy in 2000

favourites, but were outfought by Ballymore in the rain. I don’t think we were prepared for those conditions after having played all of our earlier matches in dry weather. We reached intermediate semi-finals in 2004 and 2005, but the team was starting to age and the unthinkable happened in 2006 when we relegated to junior,” the affable pharmacist ruefully reflects. Rosemount responded to their shock demotion in the best possible fashion by sweeping all before them in 2007. As well as winning the junior championship at their first attempt with victory over Milltown in the final, they lifted the Junior Cup and the junior ‘B’ championship. And they almost emulated Ballinagore’s feat of three years earlier by adding the Leinster club junior football title. Following victories over Young Irelands (Louth), Ballykelly (Kildare) and Ballinakill (Laois), they lost the provincial final to Meath champions Clann na nGael in Navan after racing into a big lead in the early stages. “Our pride was hurting after went down to junior and there was a fierce determination in the club to bounce

back straight away. We were lucky in that we had some good young players starting to come through at that stage. We won the county junior championship and reached a Leinster final. We had gotten ourselves into a great position in the first half, but Clann na nGael – who had Graham Geraghty playing for them – fought back to win by a couple of points.” Rosemount have remained an intermediate club ever since, but there were signs last year that they are closing in on a return to what they believe is their rightful place in the ranks of Westmeath senior football. Under the guidance of former Westmeath hurler Eamonn Gallagher, who served as a county football selector a few years ago, they qualified for their first intermediate semi-final since 2005, only to lose to eventual winners Castletown-Finea/Coole/Whitehall by a point. There were also encouraging signs for the club at underage level in 2012. Rosemount’s U14s reached the Division 1 championship final which they lost to St. Mary’s, Rochfortbridge, while their U16 and

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minor teams lost Division 1 championship semi-finals to eventual winners Athlone and Moate All-Whites respectively. “The future looks bright for Rosemount,” Donall enthuses. “ E a m o n n Gallagher has been building a nice young team over the past three years and they are now at a stage where they’re ready to challenge for an intermediate title. I played with the young lads who are beginning to make their mark now, and I know just how good they are. They were unlucky not to reach the final last year, but that’s all part of the learning process and they’ll be all the better for having that experience.” Donall believes consistency is the key to a successful 2013 campaign. “You need to be firing on all cylinders from May to September to win the intermediate championship. It’s a very competitive championship and you can’t expect to win it if you’re not competitive. As long as they continue to follow Eamonn’s gospel, they won’t be too far away.” With a surname like Boland, Donall certainly fitted in well at Rosemount. “A lot of people assume I’m a native of Rosemount because Boland is a name associated with the area, but that’s not the case. I’m actually a cousin of Martin Boland who went for the Offaly county board chairman’s job before Christmas. He was defeated by another Boland, Padraig, who isn’t related. I love the GAA and will be keeping a close eye on Rosemount’s results this year. Needless to say, I hope they can go all the way,” he concludes on a positive note.


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Best Wishes to Westmeath GAA In 2013

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JOHNNY GREVILLE Johnny celebrates at the final whistle as Raharney capture the 2010 Westmeath SHC title

GREVILLE REVELS IN NEW ROLE

A

fter serving three years as Raharney manager, Johnny Greville has joined the Westmeath senior hurling management team for the coming season. “An opportunity I couldn’t turn down.” So says Johnny Greville about being asked to become a Westmeath hurling selector by manager Brian Hanley in the immediate aftermath of Raharney’s SHC final defeat to Clonkill last October. Having served three years as manager of the Deelsiders and three years previous to that as the club’s camogie boss, the 32-year-old felt the time was right to take on a new challenge and to further his education as a hurling coach. Joining him as a selector is Athboy native Seamus Ennis, who has also garnered plenty of managerial experience with his

adopted Delvin and Castlepollard, as well as with Laois outfit CloughBallacolla. “I was delighted to be asked. It’s an honour to be involved with your county,” says Johnny, whose father Sean was one of Westmeath’s greatest goalkeepers and whose younger brothers Paul and twins Robbie and Gary are expected to feature prominently for the Lake County in 2013. “I see it as part of my education. I’m learning all the time as a coach and I can only benefit from working with great hurling men like Brian and Seamus. Hopefully, we’ll be able to bring success to Westmeath. I’ll be giving it my all for the cause. “I had three great years with the Raharney senior hurlers and three great years with the Raharney camogie team before that. I was lucky enough to win a senior championship in my first year (2010)

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in charge of the hurlers, but the standout moment for me had to be the win over Coolderry in the Leinster club championship. They are a serious outfit and proved it by coming back to win Leinster and reach the All-Ireland club final last year.” Johnny is also excited about working with Martin Kennedy and his colleagues at the National Athlete Development Academy (NADA). The NADA team work as player and athlete development coaches and consultants to both team sport and individual athletes, from developmental through to elite level of Irish sport. Kennedy is a qualified sports scientist and an athlete development coach who has worked with developmental, senior and elite level athletes in a variety of sports, including hurling and Gaelic football. “Some people in Westmeath may remember Martin from Brendan Hackett’s time as manager of the


footballers. He’s big into the scientific side of sport and we’re one of the few developing counties to have access to him, his fellow coaches and physical trainers Eoin Bradley and Leo Tiernan, and also to NADA’s training facilities in Blanchardstown. Hopefully, we’ll be able to reap the benefits of this type of training.” Greville continues: “Tipperary and Galway are two of the other intercounty hurling teams on NADA’s books at present. NADA worked with the Dublin hurlers for three years and you saw how much it brought them on. Leo Tiernan worked with the Dublin footballers when they won the AllIreland in 2011. They’re taking GAA training to a new level. The county board fully supports what we’re doing. It shows how serious and ambitious they are about getting Westmeath hurling up to a higher level.” The Raharney man has also been impressed by the level of ambition Brian Hanley has shown since being appointed manager on a permanent basis at the start of last season. In Johnny’s view, the Athenry native is the perfect individual to develop and nurture the young talent that makes up the lion’s share of his squad. “When I first spoke to Brian after the county final, he sold his plans to me straight away. He is very passionate and is only interested in doing things right. It’s all about commitment and professionalism with him – two things that had been lacking in Westmeath hurling for far too long. I would love to see him stay here long-term. Our county board could do worse than to tie him down for the next four or five years. He’s that good. “Brian knows the scene a lot better now that he’s had a full season under his belt. He has spent most of that time putting the proper structures in place. We have 24 or 25 players who

Johnny is tipped to be the future Westmeath manager

are U21 on an extended panel of 45. It’s all about getting them into the system and right mindset early. We have a lot of talented young hurlers in this county that need to be nurtured and brought through to senior level. With the right attitude and self-belief, these lads can be as good as anyone in the country. “I’ve been highly impressed by how committed and skilful the young players are. They will only get better from working in this type of environment. They will also benefit from playing alongside the more experienced lads like Eoin Price, Brendan Murtagh, Joe Clarke and so on. In addition, Derek McNicholas, Blaine Lehart and Ronan Whelan have returned to the panel after not being involved last year, so there’s a nice mixture of youth and experience.” While welcoming Westmeath’s return to the Leinster U21HC proper this year, Greville is concerned about plans to exclude the Lake County from the 2014 Liam MacCarthy Cup. “It’s good to be back in the U21 championship proper, despite our poor showing in the ‘A’ championship last year,” he says in reference to the shock provincial defeat to Kildare. “You can only learn from playing

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against the best and the same applies at senior level. If this proposal to put us back in with the weaker counties in 2014 is passed, what we are doing now will have all been in vain. I’m totally opposed it. Our longterm goal is to win a Leinster championship and we need to be given the chance to see if the structures we have only just put in place work. We need to be playing the Kilkennys, Tipperarys and Galways on a regular basis. You might lose to them heavily, but it’s the only way we’re going to improve Westmeath hurling. “I’ll always remember the time we played Kilkenny in the 2007 Leinster championship semi-final in Cusack Park. You had hundreds of kids out on the pitch after the game getting autographs from the Kilkenny players. I know a lot of youngsters in Raharney started playing hurling after that and I’m sure it was the same in other clubs. You couldn’t buy that sort of PR.” In conclusion, Johnny – who will surely manage his county at some stage in the future – outlines Westmeath’s targets for the coming year. “We’ve two objectives for 2013. The first is to go one better than last year by winning Division 2A of the National League. As I keep saying, you will only improve from playing against higher calibre opposition. “The second is to go as far as we can in the championship. We have Antrim again in the first round in Mullingar and hopefully we’ll have a good league behind us by then. There is a great opportunity for Westmeath to reach a Leinster semifinal against Galway, but our policy will be to take each game as they come. We’re not looking beyond the Antrim game at the beginning of May.”


SPECIAL FEATURE

BUCKLEY’S SUPERVALU CONTINUES TO SUPPORT LOCAL GAA

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he Westmeath GAA minor board is fortunate to have Buckley’s SuperValu as one of its longest and most generous sponsors. Since 2000, Buckley’s has sponsored competitions ranging from the U16 football championship to the U12 hurling league. Last year, they sponsored the newly-established U13 football and hurling leagues. SuperValu’s sponsorship of the GAA All-Ireland Football Senior Championship over the past three years has only served to strengthen Buckley’s ties with the Association. Through this sponsorship, SuperValu and the GAA bring together in true partnership two of the country’s most community-focused organisations. Buckley’s SuperValu and the GAA

Jimmy Buckley has sponsored Westmeath underage competitions since 2000

share common values through focusing their approach on relationships, honesty, hard work, achievement and community identity. In addition, Buckley’s – who have outlets in Mullingar, Moate and Birr – have provided sponsorship to a host of clubs in their locality, including Mullingar Shamrocks, St. Loman’s and St. Oliver Plunkett’s. Buckley’s flagship Mullingar store is familiar to all Westmeath GAA supporters as it’s literally a two-minute walk from Cusack Park. “We have received great support from the GAA community down the years and we see our sponsorship of underage competitions in Westmeath as a way of giving something back. Many of our staff are members or are supporters of the GAA, so the links are quite strong,” explains Buckley’s

At the recent Trolley Dash were, l/r: Niall Morris (Checkout Manager), Mary Quinn (Checkout Supervisor), Geraldine Niven (Trolley Dash winner), Ann Buckley (Store owner), Eoin Kennedy (Operations Manager)

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Dolan's SuperValu, is managed by Jimmy and Anne's daughter Lisa, while Rory Cronin is manager of the 10,000 sq ft Birr store, which underwent a complete refit four years ago. In 2005, Buckley's opened a new Centra outlet at Millmount, Mullingar. Formerly O'Driscoll's, Buckley's Centra forms the centrepiece of a busy shopping centre which also incorporates a filling station, butcher shop, hairdressing salon and tyre repair shop, and caters for the Millmount, Newtown and Ballinderry areas, which have experienced a population boom in the past decade or so. Centra, which like SuperValu is part of the Musgrave Group, is one of the title sponsors of the GAA All-Ireland hurling championship. Jimmy and Ann Buckley are parents to four girls - Lisa, Niamh, Susan and Anne-Marie. In recent years, Susan has joined elder sibling Lisa in the family business as the Mullingar store’s fresh food manager. Buckley's SuperValu pride themselves on their fresh produce, excellent service and commitment to local jobs. Their mission is to provide their customers with the best quality and prices as well as an enjoyable shopping experience. All of Buckley’s fresh meat, fruit and vegetables are locally sourced and can be traced back to the farm where they were produced. Unlike many other big supermarket chains which operate in this country, SuperValu are Irish-owned

Jimmy Buckley with Buckley’s SuperValu Meat and Deli Manager Tom Stone (left)

Mullingar store meat and deli manager Tom Stone, who is deeply involved in the GAA himself as chairman of the Castledaly minor board. Buckley’s is run by husband-and-wife Jimmy and Ann Buckley who employ over 200 staff between their three outlets (Jimmy also manages the Mullingar store). The Buckley's are one of Mullingar's oldest and most respected families. When Jimmy's late parents Matt and Elizabeth (who was affectionately known as 'Ma') opened a small grocery shop in 1949 next door to where the old Texas Department Store is now located, they could never have envisaged the huge growth the family business has experienced since then. In 1997, Buckley's moved to their present location on Austin Friar's Street, which is built on the graveyard of an Augustine Friary that dates back to the 12th century. The move coincided with Buckley's coming under the SuperValu banner. This impressive 18,000 sq ft premises, which incorporates a bookshop called 'First Chapter', is arguably Mullingar's busiest retail grocery outlet, with hundreds of customers filing through its doors between 7.30am and 10pm every day of the week. As well as providing the usual supermarket services, Buckley's SuperValu is a National Lottery agent and also offers an ATM service to its customers. To the side of the supermarket is the three-star Austin Friar Hotel which is also owned by the Buckley family. This is currently leased out. In 2003, Buckley's extended their interests to Moate and Birr. The 6,000 sq ft Moate store, which was previously

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Mullingar, Co.Westmeath Telephone Office : 086 7969895 Email: info@360tech.ie www.360tech.ie

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Customers and staff who took part in a recent Trolley Dash. Ann Buckley is pictured centre

and enjoy an excellent relationship with their customers. At Buckley’s, they are on first-name terms with many of their customers. Tom Stone is hoping 2013 will bring plenty of success for the Westmeath and Castledaly footballers. He is an uncle of rising Castledaly star Alan Stone, who has broken into the county senior set-up after playing for the U21s last year. “The seniors and U21s played a game against each other at 8 o’clock in the morning one Saturday recently and Alan found out after that he had made the senior panel, which was a big thing for him,” he says. “Last year, Westmeath surprised a lot of people by staying in Division 2

of the National League and almost beating Kerry in the championship. Pat Flanagan has a good, young team at his disposal and he’ll be aiming to build on the progress that was made last year. There is no reason why they can’t challenge for league promotion and give Leinster a good rattle.” Tom is quietly confident that Castledaly can reach the same heights as they did in 2008, when they won the Flanagan Cup for the first time, in the coming year. They have contested championship quarter-finals in the last two years, only to lose to Mullingar Shamrocks and Maryland (after a replay) respectively, and were only pipped for

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last year’s Division 1 league title by Garrycastle on score difference. “We’ve been rebuilding our senior team since 2008. The likes of Paddy Holloway, Lorcan Dolan and Alan (Stone) have come through from the underage system and they are now beginning to make their mark,” he continues. “We’ve been up senior for nearly 20 years and have been competitive for most of that time. Eddie Bouabbse has replaced Derek Heavin as manager this year and we should be there or thereabouts again. We haven’t suffered any retirements since last year, so hopes are high that we’ll have a good year.”


RICHIE SHAW

The Brownstown team that won the 1993 Westmeath senior hurling championship. Front row l\r: Eugene Dolan, Stephen Reilly, Lenny Higgins, Richie Shaw, Seamus Reilly, Michael Daly, Johnny Daly, Pat Clancy. Back row l\r: Eamonn Murphy, Gerry Kelly, Ken Reilly, Ultan Galligan, Johnny Murphy, Declan Geraghty, Jim Davis. Mascot: Michael Daly jnr

RICH PICKINGS

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s the holder of nine Westmeath SHC medals, Brownstown’s Richie Shaw is one of the Lake County’s most decorated hurlers. Between 1977 and ’93, Brownstown won a remarkable nine Westmeath SHC titles. One of the stars of that great team was Richie Shaw, a man who could always be relied upon to give his all every time he pulled on a Brownstown or Westmeath jersey. Arguably the outstanding centre back of Westmeath hurling of the past 30 years (he was named Hurler of the Year in 1981), Richie captained the Lake County when they won promotion to Division 1 of the National League in 1986 and were subsequently denied a famous quarter-final victory over Kilkenny at O’Moore Park by a controversial refereeing decision. That promotion proved to be the highlight of Shaw’s 15-year inter-county career which might have been more successful had emigration not robbed

Westmeath of some of their best players of that era. “I was very proud to captain that Westmeath team,” says Richie, who works in Westmeath County Council’s Water Conservation Department. “I had played minor and U21 for the county before making my senior debut in the late 1970s. By the mid1980s, we had a strong team that was capable of holding its own against anyone. We won the AllIreland ‘B’ championship in 1984 before running Galway close in the All-Ireland quarter-final. “We beat Antrim in 1986 to win promotion to Division 1. Our best performance in that campaign was a seven-point victory over Tipperary in Cusack Park. There was a great buzz about the place, after going up to Division 1 we beat Galway and Offaly, and gave the likes of Kilkenny and Cork great games. The old Lake County Hotel used to be packed with supporters after games in Cusack Park. But there’s no doubt that the

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manner of the league quarter-final defeat to Kilkenny in ’86 was a setback to us. “Mick Cosgrave had what would have been the winning goal disallowed and, in hindsight, that was a big turning point for us. If that goal had been given, who knows what we would have gone on to achieve? Instead, the team was ravaged by emigration. It was often said in the late 1980s that Westmeath had a stronger team in New York than here.” The scourge of emigration has resurfaced in recent years and Richie – who was a selector with the Westmeath U16 team that completed a three-in-a-row of Adrian Murray Cup (All-Ireland ‘B’ championship) wins last year – is hoping it won’t have the same devastating consequences as it had when he was playing. “It’s back to the way it used to be,” he says ruefully. “We have some really good young hurlers in Westmeath at the moment,


but there are no guarantees that they will stay around. They’re not going to stay in Ireland if there’s no work for them. I have been very impressed with Brian Hanley (the Westmeath senior manager) and what he’s trying to do. He is thinking long-term by putting the right structures in place now. He has two good selectors alongside him in Seamus Ennis and Johnny Greville. “I remember Seamus well from the many times we (Brownstown) played against Athboy in tournament and challenge games. And I soldiered alongside Johnny’s father (Sean) with Westmeath for many years.” Richie grew up less than half-a-mile from the Westmeath-Meath boundary in Heathstown, which is situated between Delvin and Athboy. Hailing from one of Brownstown and Westmeath’s best-known hurling families he attended Cloran National School, which produced many a Brownstown hurler before its closure a number of years ago. “Even though Heathstown is only three miles from Athboy, it’s in the parish of Clonmellon,” he explains. “I first played for Brownstown when I was 12 or 13. Paddy Bartley used to collect the lads who went to Cloran National School in his van. He’d bring me to the matches along with the likes of Tommy and Brian Daly, John Leonard and the Reillys, Ollie and Peter. I followed Tipperary as a youngster and I wanted to be like Mick Roche and Donie Nealon.” As a winner of five SHC medals with Brownstown in 1938, ’43, ’46, ’47 and ’48, the late Pat Shaw must have been a proud man when his sons Pat jnr, Christy and Richie followed in his footsteps by helping the Blues to their first Examiner Cup triumph in 25 years in 1977. Though only 19, Richie captained the team from centre back. The victory heralded a new and glorious era for Brownstown that saw them contest 13 county finals in 17 years, winning nine of them (1977, ’78, ’81, ’83, ’85, ’88, ’89, ’91 and ’93). Richie has all nine SHC medals and played in all the winning finals with the exception of the 1983 victory over Castlepollard when he missed out through injury. “I broke my leg two weeks before the county final in a tournament

match in Clonmellon,” he recalls. “It was the only time I ever played a hurling match on that pitch. I made my senior championship debut in 1975 against Lough Lene Gaels, who won the championship that year. I marked Gene O’Donnell that day and he gave me a bit of a lesson! “We won our first league title since 1959 in 1975 and were rewarded with a trip to London where we played Thomas MacCurtains the following year. A great bond developed between the players during that trip and we went on to have a lot of success over the next 15 years or so. It was a privilege to play with fellas who were so dedicated to the Brownstown cause. The games we had at training were tougher than some of the matches we played! You had to earn your place in those days. “Enda Carolan from Clonmellon trained us for a good few of those years. The other trainers we had were Ollie Gallagher from St. Brigid’s and Des ‘Snitchy’ Ferguson and Benny Reddy from Kells.” Richie’s other brothers Jimmy, Nicky (who’s now living in Canada) and Johnny also represented Brownstown, as did his sisters Mary and Dolores in camogie. Richie also enjoyed success on the football field with St. Paul’s, helping them to a JFC title in 1975 and IFC successes in 1977 and ’89. He brought the curtain down on his illustrious playing career in the mid-1990s, after which he managed the Fr O’Reilly Park outfit for a number of years. Having served as a Brownstown selector for the past couple of years and seen at first-hand the talent at the club’s disposal, Richie argues

that the once-mighty Blues are seriously underperforming. “People say the numbers aren’t there anymore, but that’s only an excuse. We still have good hurlers in Brownstown, but they aren’t putting in the effort. They know that themselves. If they put in the effort this year, there is no reason why they can’t win an intermediate championship and get back up senior again. Westmeath hurling needs teams like Brownstown to be strong. The county needs at least half a dozen strong senior teams, which isn’t the case at the moment.” Married to Clonkill woman Bridie, Richie has three children – Niamh, Aine and Conor. Aine currently plays camogie for Brownstown, while Conor lines out for both Brownstown and St. Paul’s in underage hurling and football. Indeed, he was corner back on the aforementioned Westmeath U16 team that claimed All-Ireland ‘B’ honours last year. “That was a right good team,” enthuses Richie, who served as a selector under manager Gareth O’Brien. “We had some lovely hurlers like Ciaran Fagan from Castlepollard, Shane Clavin from CastletownGeoghegan, Ian Kilcoyne from Ringtown and Darragh Clinton from Delvin. Back in 1999, I was a selector with the Westmeath minor team that lost a Leinster semi-final to Kilkenny by just two points. We got players like Brendan Murtagh and John Shaw off that team. Hopefully some of the U16s will go on to play senior for Westmeath in the years to come. It’s important to keep bringing the youngsters through.” Never a truer word . . .

The Westmeath under-16 team that captured the All-Ireland ‘B’ title

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SPECIAL FEATURE Before turning his attention to music, Bressie was an exceptional sportsman

BRESSIE’S GAA PAST

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hough it is in a different area entirely that he has subsequently carved out his career, Bressie was once an outstanding sportsman, representing both Mullingar Shamrocks and Westmeath at the highest level and also securing a professional rugby contract with Leinster. The affable musician, producer and television

personality spoke to ‘Maroon and White’ about his formative days, when gaelic football and rugby were right up there with music as his great passions. Though born in Dublin, Niall Breslin (AKA Bressie) grew up in Mullingar and possessed a deep love of both sport and music from a very early age. It seems he was always destined to forge

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a career for himself in one or the other: “My dad would have been into sport and my mother was a music teacher, so I had the best of both worlds. Growing up in Mullingar, at ten or eleven, there wasn’t a lot else to do. These days, there is so much more for young people to occupy themselves with, though some of those things aren’t particularly good…” he muses. “I was very lucky to get to play gaelic football for the Shamrocks and rugby for Leinster,” he continues. But did he have to make a call and chose one over the other? “I had to make that decision in the end, but not when I was young. As a young lad, I was happy to play as much sport as possible. When you’re young, you are trying everything. You find the sports and the activities that you love and you immerse yourself in them. “I was offered a professional contract to play rugby with Leinster and, as my parents had already put three kids through college, the contract and the scholarship [to UCD] provided me with an opportunity to take some of the burden off them. So I decided to go with that.” Bressie had already established himself as a formidable footballer with both Westmeath – who he represented at all levels - and Mullingar Shamrocks. But now rugby was going to take precedence. He earned 24 caps with Leinster and represented Ireland at both U19 and U21 levels. Eventually, however, injuries caught up with him: “When I got into the Leinster set-up I started to suffer from bad muscle injuries,” he reflects. “Anyone who’s involved with sport will tell you that these are very hard to treat. Throughout those three years with Leinster, I suffered with injury on an ongoing basis.” Ultimately, these injuries put paid to a promising ruby career and Niall decided enough was enough. But there was still the prospect of reigniting his GAA career, which had been put to one side but was now suddenly back on the agenda again. This, too, would end prematurely, however: “After Leinster, I went back to playing gaelic football again. I was called into the county squad by Paidi O Se, before Westmeath played Offaly in


the Leinster championship. I suppose their perception would have been that I was a professional athlete who could bring something to the squad, but it didn’t work out and the injuries came back to haunt me again.” Bressie was devastated. Gone was the opportunity to be part of a historymaking Westmeath squad. An exceptional sporting talent had been cut down in his prime by a succession of injuries that simply refused to let up. The singer/songwriter is in no doubt as to what was the root cause of his problems: “I over-played and I was burnt out. I remember coming back from playing in the U21 World Cup and starting to play with Leinster again immediately. It was too much. The biggest thing I would say to any young footballer is to always listen to the professionals – the coaches, doctors, physios. These people know what they’re talking about and it’s important to rest. I burnt myself out and it was absolutely heartbreaking because I never got to show my potential for Leinster. “I actually preferred the gaelic because it’s a simpler game. I played professional rugby for three years and still didn’t know the rules! Gaelic football was easier to play and as a game I think it also suited my physique better.” Bressie played the national code at all levels, starting out at St Mary’s CBS and Shamrocks underage teams and working right through the various grades, gaining representative honours with the Lake County at minor, U21 and senior levels.

“I had a growth spurt at 16,” the 6’6” star recalls. “I had played in goals up until then and they decided to try me in midfield. I was in the senior squad the following year and I loved it. “I played two seasons senior with Shamrocks. We had a very strong team and should have won the SFC the second year. But we had one bad day and it cost us. I had played rugby with the Leinster U21s the day before the [1999] county semi-final against Tyrrellspass. I’d picked up a knock and I could hardly get my hands up above my head. Tyrrellspass eventually copped on to it. We lost that semi-final by two points, having won all our games up to then by 20 or 30 points. That was definitely one that got away.” Around the same time that he was deciding to retire from professional rugby, Niall’s love of music was also sprouting wings. The end of one chapter in his life coincided almost seamlessly with the opening of a new door. “I was never keen on getting into the 9-5. I weighed up my options and music was my other passion, so I decided to give that a go.” The Blizzards was formed in 2004, releasing the critically-acclaimed albums ‘A Public Display of Affection’ and ‘Domino Effect’ in 2006 and 2008 respectively. Bressie released his debut solo album – ‘Colourblind Stereo’ in 2011 and his second full-length, ‘Rage and Romance’ is imminent. He’s signed to none other than Sony Music and has also found fame as a television personality through his role as a judge on RTE’s talent show The Voice of Ireland. As Plan Bs go, the music

career hasn’t been a bad one! Bressie believes the discipline he learned from his days as a professional sportsman has been of tremendous value in his career in the entertainment world: “I’ve always said the discipline has helped me. When you go through that way of life, which is quite strict, you hold onto those values. I had to look after myself when I was younger, so I didn’t party with my mates at college. You’d have a match the next day and you had to be fresh. “People have this perception of music being all about drugs and alcohol but it isn’t like that at all. I can’t go to bed at 5 in the morning and stay in bed until 2 the following day. That isn’t going to work for me. I’ve instilled that discipline and professionalism and work ethic in everything I’ve done. Even when The Blizzards started out – obviously, I couldn’t overdo it because the other lads weren’t coming from the same background – but I wouldn’t let anybody drink before gigs. We were always professional.” Fitness is still of huge importance to Bressie and, to this end, he is currently preparing to compete in a triathlon. “There’s a lot of bike work involved, which I hadn’t done before, but I’m enjoying the challenge. I still place an emphasis on fitness and exercise. It’s good for your head and it keeps you creative.” As his extraordinary success proves, creativity clearly isn’t a problem for this particular former Westmeath footballer!

Bressie (back, sixth from left) during his days as a midfielder with Mullingar Shamrocks

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CUMANN NA MBUNSCOL

Loughegar NS Camogie ‘A’ Final winners

Raharney Camogie ‘A’ finalists

Rathwire NS Camogie C Final winners

Loughegar captain Nicole Keogh

Rathwire captain Ciara O'Looney

Scoil Na gCeithre Maistri Camogie C finalists

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Whitehall NS Camogie C Final finalists

St Colman’s NS Camogie C Final winners

St Colman’s captain Megan Ennis St Colman’s NS Hurling B Final winners Clonmellon NS Hurling B Final finalists

St Colman’s captain Daire McLoughlin

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Tubberclair NS Hurling C Final winners

Rathwire NS Hurling C finalists Raharney NS Hurling A Final winners

Tubberclair captain Sean Dowd

Ballinagore NS Hurling A finalists

Raharney captain Conor McKeogh

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Tang NS Girls Football (Small Schools) winners

Ardnagrath NS Girls Football (Small Schools) finalists

Rathwire captain Ruth O'Connor

Rathwire NS Girls Football (Medium Schools) winners

Tang captain Chloe Duffy

Kilpatrick NS Girls Football (Medium Schools) finalists

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Gainstown NS Girls Football (Large Schools) winners

St Colmans Girls Football (Large Schools) finalists

Gainstown captain Molly Moore

Dysart NS Boys Division 5 winners

Miltownpass NS Boys Division 5 finalists

Dysart captain Adam Keegan

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Tang NS Boys Division 3 Football winners

Mount Temple NS Boys Football Division 3 finalists

Tang captain Shane Coughlan

St Colmans NS Boys Division 1 Football winners

Gaelscoil An Mhuilinn NS Boys Division 1 finalists

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St Colmans captain Ciaran Nolan


Gainstown NS Division 2 Football Final winners

Scoil an Clochair Kilbeggan Division 2 Football finalists

Gainstown captain Aidan Keena

Clonbonny NS 10 a side Boys Football Final winners

Educate Together 10 a side Boys Football finalists

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Clonbonny captain Diarmuid Martin


Rahugh NS 7 a side Football Final winners

Edmonton NS 7 a side Football finalists

Rahugh captain Adam Flanagan

SUPPORT AT THE FINALS

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UNDER 16 HURLING

The All-Ireland B winning Westmeath U16 squad

THREE-IN-A-ROW FOR U16 HURLERS

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estmeath completed a three-in-a-row of AllIreland U16 ‘B’ hurling championship victories thanks to an impressive 4-11 to 2-3 victory over Kerry in the final at Lakepoint Park on September 1 last. Ten counties – Derry, Wicklow, Down, Meath, Mayo, Kildare, Roscommon, Laois, Kerry and Westmeath – took part in the championship. The games were played at three different venues in the Mullingar area – Robinstown, Clonkill and St. Loman’s Lakepoint Park. Under the management of Garrett O’Brien, Stephen Morley, Richie Shaw, Fechin Brennan and Antoinette Savage, the hosts opened their campaign with a 1-9 to 1-3 win over Meath. They defeated Roscommon (2-25 to 0-1) and Laois (0-9 to 0-6) in their remaining group games before accounting for Kildare by 1-10 to 1-8 in the semi-final. The final proved to be a one-sided affair with Ronan Kelly’s early goal helping the Lake County to a commanding 1-9 to 0-2 lead at the break. Michael Daly, Robbie Gillen and man of the match Darragh Clinton added further majors in the second half to keep the Adrian Murray Cup in its spiritual home for another 12 months.

The victorious Westmeath squad was: Dan Greville (Raharney), Conor Shaw (Brownstown), Ciaran Fagan (Castlepollard), Johnny Bermingham (Castletown-Geoghegan), Jack Carroll (Raharney), Darren Giles (Raharney), Ronan Wallace (Crookedwood), Sean Quinn (Raharney), Shane Clavin (Castletown-Geoghegan, captain), Michael Daly (Lough Lene Gaels), Darragh Clinton (Delvin), Ian Kilcoyne (Ringtown), Robbie Gillen (Cullion), Liam Cassidy (Castletown-

Geoghegan), Ronan Kelly (Delvin), Sean Kilgarriff (Southern Gaels), Alan Kincaid (Castletown-Geoghegan), Warren Casserly (Castlepollard), Paddy Lynam (St. Oliver Plunkett’s), Cathal Daly (CastletownGeoghegan), Derek Conroy (Raharney), David Keegan (Crookedwood), Wesley Doyle (Raharney), Graham Daly (Delvin), Eoin Carolan (Delvin), Adrian Garvey (Southern Gaels), Ronan Wallace (Crookedwood), Owen Weir (Raharney), Jack Galvin (Cullion).

Pictured with the Adrian Murray Cup before the All-Ireland U16 ‘B’ hurling final were, l/r: Sean Sheridan, Westmeath captain Shane Clavin, Paul Murray, Kerry’s captain, Tom Farrell, Willie Murphy

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FOOTBALL TEAM OF THE YEAR

FOOTBALL TEAM OF THE YEAR nn 1. Darren Qui h 2. Jason Lync in av G 3. Kieran ll ce ur P on 4. Aar n ga E er G 5. y 6. Paul Sharr te ar H 7. Doron 8. John Heslin ne 9. Aidan Brow y al D 10. Seanie hill vi ul M 11. Paddy ormack cC M m lu al 12. C h yt 13. Lorcan Sm y le ur C 14. Ciaran an ol D e si 15. Des

(Tyrrellspass) innegad) (Coralstown/K mrocks) ha S (Mullingar mrocks) ha S r (Mullinga (Tyrrellspass) (St. Loman’s) (Garrycastle) (St. Loman’s) (Garrycastle) mrocks) (Mullingar Sha ) le (Garrycast (Maryland) mrocks) (Mullingar Sha mrocks) ha (Mullingar S ) le st (Garryca

2. JASON LYNCH (CORALSTOWN/ KINNEGAD):

1. DARREN QUINN (TYRRELLSPASS): Gary Connaughton’s decision to spend the summer in Boston (his stay was cut short by a serious ankle injury) was just the break Quinn needed after being understudy to the Tubberclair man on the county team for the past few years. He kept goal in the All-Ireland qualifier games against Louth and Kerry, and had a very good season for his club also. A troublesome back problem could limit his number of appearances for club and county this year, however. Honourable mentions: Ronan Tyrrell (Mullingar Shamrocks), Eoin Carberry (Rosemount), Sean Brennan (Garrycastle).

3. KIERAN GAVIN (MULLINGAR SHAMROCKS):

In their first season back in the top flight, Coralstown/ Kinnegad narrowly missed out on a place in the knockout stages despite the best efforts of corner back Lynch. The blond bombshell was man of the match in at least three of their five championship outings and has been rewarded with a call-up to the Westmeath senior squad – seven years after he represented the county at U21 level.

What a year 2012 was for the county’s first-choice full back. Captained DCU to Sigerson and O’Byrne Cup glory in the early part of the year before a quad muscle injury forced him to miss Westmeath’s entire championship campaign. However, he was back to skipper Shamrocks to their first Flanagan Cup success in 12 years in October and was subsequently handed the Westmeath captaincy for 2013. A player who wouldn’t look out of place on any of the top inter-county sides.

Honourable mentions: Mark McCallon (Garrycastle), Ray Sheridan (CastletownFinea/Coole/Whitehall), John Rock (Tang).

Honourable mentions: John Gaffey (Garrycastle), Tommy Warburton (Castledaly), Francis Boyle (Killucan).

4. AARON PURCELL (MULLINGAR SHAMROCKS): The second Shamrocks man to be included in our full back line, Purcell had an outstanding season which has earned him a call-up to the county squad. A sticky customer who performed very well in both the drawn and replayed county finals, Aaron has worked hard on his game in the past couple of years and is now reaping the rewards. Honourable mentions: Kevin Maguire (Caulry), Steven Cleary (The Downs), Stephen Gilmore (St. Loman’s).

5. GER EGAN (TYRRELLSPASS): Is there a more versatile player in Westmeath at present? The Athlone IT student featured in defence, midfield and attack for his club last year, but we’ve picked him in the slot he usually occupies on the county team. Just out of the U21 ranks, Ger had another fine championship in which he showed he is also a capable free-taker. Sadly for him, it ended on a sour note when he was sent off in the closing stages of the quarter-final against Mullingar Shamrocks and Tyrrellspass duly let a commanding lead slip. Honourable mentions: Darren Malynn (Maryland), Paddy Joyce (Mullingar Shamrocks), Willie Murtagh (Ballynacargy).

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7. DORON HARTE (GARRYCASTLE):

6. PAUL SHARRY (ST. LOMAN’S): Paul featured in a variety of positions for the Lakepoint Park outfit last year, but we’ve decided to include him at centre back after a brilliant season in the role for Westmeath. He gets the nod ahead of his county team-mate Kieran Martin, who like Paul, has made a seamless transition from forward to defender recently. A superb athlete who covers every blade of grass during a game, Sharry has been a revelation in his new role and looks set to wear the Westmeath number six jersey for many years to come. Honourable mentions: Kieran Martin (Maryland), Davy Gavin (Mullingar Shamrocks), Ronan Foley (Coralstown/Kinnegad).

9. AIDAN BROWNE (GARRYCASTLE): Aidan is seen as the long-term successor to David O’Shaughnessy in Garrycastle and showed what he’s capable of in last year’s championship run. With O’Shaughnessy and Seanie O’Donoghue now in the twilight of their careers, Browne is set to take on even greater responsibility in the coming season. A huge presence and tremendous fielder of the ball, he would be well worth his place on the county panel if he was prepared to give the massive commitment that’s required of the modern-day inter-county footballer. Honourable mentions: Aidan Finnan (Bunbrosna), Donal O’Donoghue (Mullingar Shamrocks), Daniel McDermott (CastletownFinea/Coole/Whitehall).

The newly-appointed Westmeath vice-captain had another excellent season for Garrycastle who narrowly failed in their quest for a four-in-a-row of county SFC titles. Doron’s game has improved greatly in recent seasons and he is now considered a mainstay of the Lake County defence. His ability to win ‘dirty ball’ and to carry the ball out of defence are two of his greatest attributes. Honourable mentions: Micheal Curley (Mullingar Shamrocks), Philip Sheridan (Tyrrellspass), Willie Coyne (CastletownFinea/Coole/Whitehall).

8. JOHN HESLIN (ST. LOMAN’S): While John played a lot of his club football at full forward last year, few would dispute that he is the best midfielder in Westmeath (and perhaps Leinster) at present. It was no coincidence that Westmeath’s fortunes improved dramatically following his return from Australia last spring. Still eligible for the U21 grade, Heslin has come back a stronger and more disciplined player, and it goes without saying that he will be a key man for both club and county in 2013. Honourable mentions: Denis Corroon (Mullingar Shamrocks), John Stapleton (Athlone), Alan Fitzpatrick (Caulry).

10. SEANIE DALY (MULLINGAR SHAMROCKS): After lining out for the county U21s last spring, Seanie emerged as a key figure in Shamrocks’ capture of the Flanagan Cup. He was man of the match in the county final replay, shooting four points from play, including the insurance score with time nearly up. A busy, hard-working and accurate forward, Daly will be an even bigger handful for defenders if he becomes physically stronger over the next few years. Honourable mentions: Alan Mangan (St. Malachy’s), Ger Leech (Coralstown/Kinnegad), Alan Stone (Castledaly).

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FOOTBALL TEAM OF THE YEAR 11. PADDY MULVIHILL (GARRYCASTLE):

12. CALLUM MCCORMACK (MARYLAND):

The Garrycastle captain and attack leader had another outstanding championship in which he amassed 4-12. Earlier, he had played a leading role in the Athlone club’s march to the AllIreland club final and scored a brilliant goal in the drawn match against Crossmaglen at Croke Park. Like Aidan Browne, he would be a big addition to the county team, but family and work commitments mean we are unlikely to see this gifted forward in the maroon jersey any time soon.

Due to fierce competition for the full forward positions, we’ve had to accommodate Callum at left half forward. No Team of the Year would be complete without this rising star of Westmeath football who is now being mentioned in the same breath as Dessie Dolan and Denis Glennon. McCormack is a prodigious talent who was the driving force behind Maryland’s surprise run to last year’s SFC semi-final, and who looks set to become Westmeath’s main scoring forward in the years ahead. Honourable mentions: James Dolan (Garrycastle), Kevin Brazil (Castletown-Finea/Coole/Whitehall), Alan Giles (Coralstown/Kinnegad).

13. LORCAN SMYTH (MULLINGAR SHAMROCKS):

Honourable mentions: Kelvin Reilly (St. Loman’s), James Nugent (Killucan), Eoin Gorman (St. Mary’s).

After missing a big chunk of last year’s championship through suspension, Smyth inspired Shamrocks’ incredible comeback in the drawn SFC final by scoring 2-5 (2-4 from play) in a breathtaking display. He wasn’t as prominent in the replay, but still looked dangerous and has since become a very welcome addition to the county panel.

14. CIARAN CURLEY (MULLINGAR SHAMROCKS): A member of one of Mullingar ’s best-known GAA families, C i a r a n enjoyed a tremendous season in which he finished as the SFC’s leading scorer with 429 to his name. He picked up several man of the match accolades during the season and is now in Westmeath manager Pat Flanagan’s plans. Also a talented hurler with St. Oliver Plunkett’s. Honourable mentions: Peter Tormey (Bunbrosna), Emmett Dalton (Kilbeggan Shamrocks), David McCormack (Rosemount).

Honourable mentions: Niall Kilcoyne (CastletownFinea/Coole/Whitehall), Conor Cosgrove (Garrycastle), David Glennon (Tyrrellspass).

15. DESSIE DOLAN (GARRYCASTLE): The number 15 jersey came down to a straight shootout between the Lake County’s two marquee forwards – Dessie Dolan and Denis Glennon – but in the end we plumped for the Garrycastle man on the basis of him being named Leinster Club Footballer of the Year for 2012, and the leading role he played in getting the green and reds to Croke Park last March. Dessie spent a large part of last summer in Boston, but returned to help spearhead Garrycastle’s failed four-in-a-row bid. His return to the county fold after taking a break last year has provided the Westmeath team with a major boost. Honourable mentions: Denis Glennon (Tyrrellspass), Alan Coffey (Tubberclair), Lorcan Dolan (Castledaly).

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PAT LYNAGH

PAT LOOKS FORWARD TO TAKING A BACKSEAT

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fter five years as county secretary, Pat Lynagh is looking forward to continuing his career in GAA administration as a Leinster Council delegate. For the first time in five years, Pat Lynagh has some spare time on his hands. Since succeeding the legendary Paddy Collins as county secretary in 2008, the affable Kilbeggan man has devoted his life to Westmeath GAA without receiving a penny for his efforts. Not that he’s complaining. Pat’s retirement from his job as a psychiatric nurse at St. Loman’s Hospital in Mullingar allowed him to throw himself fully into one of the most demanding roles in the GAA. And while there were some difficult times and tough decisions to be made, he found the past five years to be a hugely enjoyable and fulfilling experience. “I enjoyed it immensely,” he says. “It took up a lot of my time, and I had awful big shoes to fill after Paddy Collins stepped down, but you do these things because you enjoy them and I certainly enjoyed my time as secretary. I have done my stint now and it’s time to give somebody else a shot at it. No better man than James Savage who is a very capable guy. He was minor board secretary and assistant secretary of the county board, so he has a wealth of experience and knows what he’s getting himself into.” The role of county secretary is essentially a full-time job, yet Pat doesn’t believe Westmeath will be following other county boards in appointing a full-time administrator any time soon. “There is a case for a full-time secretary in Westmeath, but I don’t

Former county secretary Pat Lynagh

think we can afford one. I was just about able to get by with the help of Eileen Fallon, who is employed as a part-time clerical assistant in Cusack Park. “The role has expanded greatly in recent years. You now have to deal with things like Child Protection, Insurance, Players’ Mileage Expenses and Health & Safety, which wouldn’t have been issues in the past. There are more games than ever before at both club and intercounty level, and they have added to the workload. “Typically, I used to do three-to-four hours in the office in Cusack Park every day. On Saturdays and Sundays when you had three or four games on, you could spend most of the day there. I had to be there two hours beforehand and two hours afterwards. I was the first man in and the last man out! When Westmeath played Offaly in the O’Byrne Cup in January, it was the first game I watched from start to finish at Cusack

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Park in five years. It was nice not to have to worry about other things for a change. “My job was made a lot easier by the fact that I worked with some great people in Cusack Park. But at the end of the day, the secretary is the CEO for the county and is also responsible for the county ground.” Pat supports the GAA rule which precludes GAA officers from serving more than five years in the same position. “I think it’s a great idea because you know you’re going to be there for that length of time unless you mess up. It also ensures that no-one becomes stale in the job.” Lynagh’s election as a Leinster Council delegate at last December’s annual convention (former hurling board chairman Willie Murphy is the other delegate) will see him remain on the county executive for another year at least. But after nearly 30 years of involvement with Westmeath GAA, the straight-talking administrator admits his time is nearly up. “I wouldn’t have any ambitions to go any further,” he explains. “As I’ve already said, I’ve done my stint and it’s high time I gave more time to my wife Mary and my daughter Marie. Mary is a very patient woman who was a huge support to me during my time as secretary. Of course, it helped that she comes from a GAA house – her sister Theresa is married to Tommy Kenoy, the former Roscommon county board chairman, who advocated the opening up of Croke Park to soccer and rugby a few years ago. “At this stage of my life, I want to take a backseat and the Leinster Council delegate position will allow me to do that. You can’t be county


secretary and then just stop. The GAA is like a drug which you have to wean yourself off slowly. When I’m finished in this job (Leinster Council delegate), I’ll probably go back to my club and help them out.” Pat cites the hosting of Congress in Mullingar in April 2011 as the highlight of his tenure as secretary. “That tends to stick out in my mind,” he continues. “It was a huge undertaking for everyone involved with Westmeath GAA and it was great that it went so well. I was also satisfied with the improved performances of our intercounty teams. Pat Flanagan is doing a good job with the footballers and likewise Brian Hanley with the hurlers. Our underage coaches in both hurling and football must also be complimented for the work they are doing. “I’d be worried that the provincial councils are forgetting about the smaller counties when it comes to funding. I accept that the stronger counties are the ones who bring in most of the revenue, but this money needs to be distributed fairly and equally. The backdoor system suits the bigger counties more than it suits the smaller ones. You’ll never see a small county like Offaly winning an All-Ireland again because of the system that’s now in place. “We should never lose sight of the fact that club players are the ‘bread

and butter’ of our games. It is important that they are properly looked after, especially with the competition we face from so many other sports nowadays.” Pat could also take satisfaction from the dramatic turnaround in Westmeath GAA’s finances in the past few years. Last year, income was up by €164,000, giving an overall balance of €291,875. “Club gate receipts increased by €24,000 last year, which we were thrilled about. We got some bad press regarding our finances at the end of 2011 based on figures which weren’t accurate. While we’re in a good place right now, we have to watch our spending and hope that our two Supporters’ Clubs will continue to play an active part in fundraising.” Pat, whose older brother Jim is a former county footballer, took his first step into GAA administration in the late 1970s when he became secretary of Kilbeggan Shamrocks. He later served as club treasurer for 15 years, during which time Kilbeggan developed new dressingrooms and other facilities. Lynagh had a two-year stint as Westmeath minor board secretary (1980-82) before becoming Youth Officer of the county board. He then had a three-year term as assistant/fixtures secretary – his term coinciding with the GAA’s Centenary

Year of 1984. After taking a break from the county board, he was elected football board chairman in 1991 and served the position for eight years. He later served a second spell as county board assistant secretary before becoming secretary in 2008. Pat is eager to play down the important role he played in turning around the Lake County’s football fortunes in the mid-1990s. “When I went in as football board chairman in ’91, Westmeath were rock bottom in football terms,” he recalls. “We appointed Mattie Kerrigan as manager just before the 1992 Leinster championship and things improved very quickly after that. He changed attitudes forever and brought in Mattie Corcoran, Davy Gavin (Kieran’s father), Carthage Conlon and Christy Gorman as selectors. They were all super fellas. It was an exciting time because Westmeath had been down in the doldrums for a long time before that. “Mattie (Kerrigan) was also a big influence in getting Luke Dempsey to become minor manager in 1995 and we all know what happened that year. It’s a pity Mattie didn’t get involved with Westmeath a year or two earlier because some of the better players were coming to the end of their careers. But he made a massive impact nonetheless and his legacy lives on.”

Pat Lynagh (front row, extreme left) takes his place on the Westmeath executive for 2013 after being elected as Leinster Council Delegate

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LADIES CLUB FOOTBALL Garrycastle celebrate their SFC final win over Coralstown/Kinnegad

GARRYCASTLE ARE QUEENS OF THE LADIES SCENE

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arrycastle’s annexation of a fourth senior championship in five years, Killucan’s second intermediate championship in three years and The Downs’ capture of the junior championship were the main talking points from the ladies football club year. The Garrycastle ladies succeeded where their male counterparts failed when they claimed their fourth senior championship in five years at Coralstown/Kinnegad’s expense on September 16 last. The charges of Laura Harrison, Mary Duignan and Deirdre McEnery produced a dominant second half display to secure a 1-10 to 0-8 victory at The Downs and avenge their narrow 2011 semi-final defeat to the red and whites, which put paid to their four-in-arow ambitions. Ultimately, Garrycastle’s better use of possession and greater attacking options (they had seven different scorers compared to Coralstown/Kinnegad’s two) proved

decisive. Following the early exit of holders Milltown, Garrycastle and Coralstown/Kinnegad emerged as the two leading contenders for the blue riband prize. Coralstown/Kinnegad, whose mentors included the great Larry Giles, were first to book their place in the final thanks to a 1-10 to 1-8 victory over a resurgent Mullingar Shamrocks at Killucan. With Yvonne ‘Dixie’ Dixon to the fore, the Meath-border club had opened up a 0-8 to 0-5 lead by half-time. A Lisa Burke goal five minutes after the restart brought Shamrocks level, but they couldn’t build on that score and Coralstown/Kinnegad regained the initiative when Lisa Darby netted in the 46th minute. In the other semi-final at Rosemount, Garrycastle romped to a 2-14 to 1-4 win over Tyrrellspass. An upset looked to be on the cards when Tyrrellspass led by three points after the opening 10 minutes, but by the end of the first

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quarter, Garrycastle had turned a threepoint deficit into a six-point lead, 1-6 to 0-3. County star Johanna Maher pulled back a goal to leave Tyrrellspass five points adrift, 1-3 to 1-8, at the interval, but there was only one team in it in the second half as Garrycastle took control. Full forward Denise Murtagh kicked five points from play in an impressive display, while substitute Lauren Kennedy left her mark on the game when she bagged a late goal. Eager to make amends for their 2011 loss to Milltown, Coralstown/Kinnegad made all the early running in the final, but this wasn’t reflected on the scoreboard. The sides were level on 03 each after 10 minutes. They were still deadlocked on 0-4 apiece before Sarah Dolan’s point gave the champions-elect a slender 0-5 to 0-4 interval lead. The game’s turning point came three minutes after the restart when Denise Murtagh set up Jennifer Byrne for the only goal. The Athlone girls visibly grew


in confidence after that with Anne Duignan leading by example at midfield. Yvonne Dixon and Lisa Darby kept Coralstown/Kinnegad in touch, but they were left to rue a number of missed chances, including a late penalty by Dixon which was brilliantly tipped over the bar by Garrycastle ‘keeper Paula Fox. The cup was destined for south Westmeath once again when Garrycastle wing back and captain Grace Egan received the silverware from ladies football board chairperson Geraldine Giles afterwards. Sadly, Garrycastle’s Leinster club intermediate championship campaign proved to be short-lived. A 1-11 to 4-8 defeat to St. Laurence’s of Kildare saw them fall at the first hurdle. The damage was done in the first half when St. Laurence’s hit Garrycastle for three goals, from which the Westmeath champions never fully recovered. Coralstown/Kinnegad did have the consolation of winning the senior league (Division 1) title for a second year in succession. They gained a measure of compensation for their county final defeat to Garrycastle when they defeated the same opposition by 2-9 to 3-1 in the final at Lakepoint Park. The winners had the better of the early exchanges before being rocked by a Sarah Dolan goal. But a similar score from Shannon Lyons helped Coralstown/Kinnegad to a commanding 1-5 to 1-0 lead before Dolan raised her second green flag to leave the minimum in it, 2-1 to 1-5, at the break. The team in red and white regained a five-point lead early in the second half when Lyons scored their second goal. Vicki McEnery then had a major for Garrycastle, but Coralstown/Kinnegad weren’t to be denied and made sure of victory with a brace of late points from Lisa Darby. 2012 was a great year for Coralstown/Kinnegad’s neighbours, Killucan, who captured their second intermediate championship in three years. In the curtain-raiser to the senior decider at The Downs, they defeated Moate by 0-10 to 0-7 to make an instant return to the top flight where they will hope to stay significantly longer this time. Moate, who lost Stacey Holloway to injury early on, opened the scoring through Claire Killian before three

points in-a-row from Fiona Leavy put Killucan in the driving seat. Brendan McKeogh’s charges went on to lead by 0-5 to 0-3 at half-time and with Leavy and Westmeath’s 2011 All-Ireland winning intermediate captain Elaine Finn pulling the strings, they had stretched their lead to three points by the final whistle. Heading in the opposite direction to Killucan are traditional giants Rochfortbridge who have been relegated from the senior ranks. Their fate was sealed by a 1-9 to 4-15 playoff defeat to St. Loman’s, for who full forward Laura Thompson helped herself to 3-1. Another club from the east of the county, The Downs, will ply their trade in the intermediate ranks for the first time after they made up for the disappointment of their defeat to Clann Gaels in the previous year’s junior final when they powered to a 4-14 to 1-5 victory over Athlone in Shandonagh. The Mick Wynne and Kevin Stauntontrained black and ambers never looked back after Beth McGuire opened the scoring in the fourth minute. Gillian Ferguson and Mary Lynam both found the net to help them open up a 2-8 to 00 lead before Eimear Connellan finally opened Athlone’s account from a free just before the break. It continued to be one-way traffic after the restart with substitute Bernie Corroon and Beth McGuire adding further goals. In between, Lorna Mulvihill had managed a consolation goal for the outplayed Shannonsiders. The Downs will take the place of Loughnavalley, who were relegated back to junior level, in this year’s intermediate championship. In the other adult competitions, Tyrrellspass defeated Moate to win the Division 2 league title, while Milltown’s second team saw off their St. Loman’s counterparts to land the Division 3 league crown. At underage level, Rochfortbridge proved too strong for Moate in the minor ‘A’ championship final. The minor ‘B’ title went to Mullingar Shamrocks who defeated Garrycastle, while Coralstown/Kinnegad were victorious over Killucan in the ‘C’ final. St. Loman’s denied Rochfortbridge a minor and U16 ‘A’ championship double by winning the U16 showpiece game. The Downs defeated Garrycastle to

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take U16 ‘B’ honours, Killucan got the better of Mullingar Shamrocks in the U16 ‘C’ final, while Kilbeggan/St. Joseph’s captured the ‘D’ championship at the expense of Delvin/St. Paul’s. Moate defeated The Downs in the U14 ‘A’ championship final, Milltown trumped Rochfortbridge in the ‘B’ final, Delvin/St. Paul’s were too good for Mullingar Shamrocks in the ‘C’ decider, and Ballycomoyle were winners over Shandonagh in the ‘D’ final. In the U12 ‘A’ championship decider, Killucan overcame The Downs. Coralstown/Kinnegad defeated Athlone in the ‘B’ final, Loughnavalley accounted for St. Loman’s in the ‘C’ final, while the ‘D’ title went to Rochfortbridge who beat Tubberclair. Garrycastle’s senior champions: Paula Fox; Aisling Claffey, Lorraine Duncan, Niamh Dooley; Grace Egan (captain), Lisa Fitzpatrick, Aoife McCormack; Laura Brennan, Anne Duignan; Aoife Dolan, Anne-Marie Igoe, Aine McCormack; Jennifer Byrne, Denise Murtagh, Vicki McEnery. Subs used: Sarah Dolan, Laura Kennedy and Oral Connuaghton. Coralstown/Kinnegad’s senior league winning side was: Josephine Raleigh; Ciara Brannock, Amy Giles, Aine Brannock; Natasha Brady, Donna Kiernan, Claire Farrell; Maud-Annie Foley (captain), Caroline O’Hara; Mary Walsh, Tally Flynn, Becky Kearney; Shannon Lyons, Lisa Darby, Emily Dardis. Subs used: Aileen Murtagh, Janey Leydon and Maggie Keane. The Killucan team which overcame Moate in the intermediate final was: Lesley Hynes; Jacinta Goonery, Teresa Lynch, Esther Duignan; Faye Dunne, Pamela Greville, Rebecca Smyth; Rachel O’Malley, Jena McKeogh; Elaine Finn, Fiona Leavy, Regina Morley; Niamh Horan, Aileen Leavy, Aoife Boyle. The Downs’ junior championship winning team was: Linda Heffernan; Clare Crowley, Emma Murtagh, Aisling Egerton; Aoife Rowan, Leanne Duncan, Fiona Duignan; Roisin Scally, Laura Wynne; Mary Lynam, Gillian Ferguson, Ellen Taite; Amy Staunton, Beth McGuire, Sarah McGuire (captain). Subs used: Bernie Corroon, Niamh Moriarty, Carmel Coleman, Ruth Kenny, Sinead Nolan, Rebecca Kelly and Ursula Carley.


SCOR NA NOG

BALLYCOMOYLE HAVE ALL THE ANSWERS

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ebruary 18 2012 was a red letter day for Ballycomoyle GAA club whose quiz team were crowned All-Ireland Scor na nOg champions in Castlebar, Co. Mayo. The small but hugely progressive north Westmeath club of Ballycomoyle put itself firmly on the map in 2012 when its Question Time team of Andrew Leahy, Peter McKenna and Killian Daly swept to All-Ireland Scor na nOg glory. The blue and white flags flew proudly at the TF Royal Theatre in Castlebar as the talented trio took the title by an incredible 18 marks. It was both an historic and momentous occasion for a club that, at times, has struggled to survive due to its location in the middle of a hurling stronghold. But over the past decade or so, Ballycomoyle GAA has come back strongly in both underage football and Scor, and this success must rank as the club’s greatest achievement to date. “It’s massive for Ballycomoyle,” club chairman Noel Morgan enthuses. “All-Ireland titles are few and far between in Westmeath, and for Ballycomoyle to win one is an amazing feeling. We are hugely proud of the three boys and what they’ve achieved. We haven’t had much to shout about over the years, but this makes up for all the disappointments and the boys have set the bar very high for everyone else in the club now. “The boys have been together for the past couple of years and had been very close before making the breakthrough. They were narrowly beaten in the 2011 Leinster final by Allenwood from Kildare who went on to win the All-Ireland. They had great support up in Castlebar and there were up to 100 people in Castlepollard to welcome them home. They received a Garda escort

The Ballycomoyle All-Ireland winning Scor na nOg Quiz team

in from Whitehall on the Mullingar Road and they then joined family and friends for a celebration do in Hotel Castlepollard.” It’s fitting that the three All-Ireland winners all hail from well-known GAA families. Andrew Leahy is a nephew of Ballycomoyle secretary Seamus Leahy. His first cousin, Peter McKenna, is a son of underage chairman Dermot McKenna, while Killian Daly is a son of Catherine Daly, who is a member of the famous

Solo singing winner, Mullingar Shamrocks’ Rebecca Doolin (centre) with Olive Leonard and Detty Cornally

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Doherty clan from Delvin and was elected Westmeath Scor secretary in succession to the long-serving Rose Longworth last year. Noel is full of praise for Catherine and the role she has played in establishing Ballycomoyle as one of the Lake County’s most vibrant Scor units. “Scor wouldn’t exist in Ballycomoyle without Catherine,” he claims. “She has been one of the main driving forces behind it. She puts in tremendous work with all of our acts. Doreen Farrelly is another woman who deserves huge praise. We haven’t much of a tradition in Scor, but we’ve always had a huge talent base and it has only been in recent years that we’ve started to tap into that. We’ve gone from strength to strength, so much so that we were represented in all the categories in Senior Scor in 2011.” Ballycomoyle were one of two local acts to win Leinster Scor na nOg titles in 2012. St. Joseph’s, who have such a proud history in Scor, also flew the Westmeath flag in Castlebar, but their set dancers, namely Thomas Moran, Aisling McCormack,


Thomas Pettit, Francis Digan, Arlene Moran, Thomas McCormack, Ellen Pettit and Clodagh Elliffe, failed to make it an All-Ireland double for the Lake County, despite giving a flawless performance. The Scor na nOg season began in earnest the previous October when hundreds of young competitors took part in the qualifying rounds. The best acts qualified for the Westmeath finals which took place in the Ballymore Community Centre in late November. As ever, the venue was packed to capacity as Scor enthusiasts from throughout the county came together to witness a whole raft of new and exciting acts as well as performances from more seasoned campaigners. While there could only be eight winners, each and every one of the acts were excellent and could hold their heads high. The Fear an Ti for the afternoon was former Westmeath GAA chairman Seamus O Faolain, who is a passionate Scor man. Once the adjudicators, who were drawn from Longford, Leitrim, Monaghan and Dublin, took their seats, everything was ready to go. Six clubs took home county titles with the first going to the St. Joseph’s figure dancers, who were represented by Aideen Pettit, Arlene Moran, Aisling McCormack, Ellen Pettit, Clodagh Elliffe, Eleanore Conway and Aoife Hiney. With holder Sarah Fagan from Ballycomoyle not competing, Mullingar Shamrocks’ Rebecca Doolin took over the mantle of solo singing champion. Kerri Penrose, Aisling Egerton and Laura Kelly were also brilliant, but there could only be one winner and that was the Shamrocks girl. History was made when Ballynacargy were crowned instrumental music champions for the first time. Represented by Deirdre Penrose, Ben Wilson, Ciaran Boyce, James Peyton and Gary Fagan, they performed superbly to edge out acts from St. Joseph’s, Ballycomoyle and St. Malachy’s. Eight-year-old Erin Pettit from Kilbeggan/St. Joseph’s won the recitation/storytelling discipline after winning the hearts of the adjudicators and audience alike. The runners-up

the St. Joseph’s set dancers and the were Lauren Devine, Shane Ward Ballycomoyle quiz team went a step and Erin’s brother Thomas. The further by winning provincial titles. Pettits were the first siblings to The Ballycomoyle trio showed what compete against each other since a class act they are by becoming the Eamonn Og and Alva Clarke from fourth Westmeath act to win an AllCastletown-Geoghegan in the 1990s. Ireland title in question time. And they The Mullingar Shamrocks ballad did it the hard way by defeating not group won the inaugural Tommy three but four competitors with two McCormack Memorial trophy at the teams from Ulster (Monaghan and expense of Ballycomoyle, Tyrone) taking part after a dispute Ballycomoyle GFC and Ballynacargy. over the winners of the Ulster title. The Shamrocks group comprised The other competing teams were solo singing winner Rebecca Doolin, from Cork and Sligo. Niamh Gilmartin, Laura Murphy, Ben Mulligan and Daniel Egerton. Ballycomoyle’s quiz team made it back-to-back successes, but only after being put to the pin of their collars by Cullion. Of course, they would go on to bigger and better things. St. Malachy’s, who were represented by Liam McNallyWoods, Shane Ward, Cathal Daly, Ciara Corcoran, Ciara Cuskelly, James Murphy, Orla Daly and Frankie Deegan, prevailed in the novelty act, while the St. Joseph’ set dancers saw off long-time holders The Downs as well as The Downs ladies football club and Ballynacargy Seamus O Faolain pictured with to land the Moira Bardon Memorial Scor chairperson Olive Leonard Cup. One of the most sought-after prizes in Scor is the Club of the Year award. This time it went to Ballycomoyle who became the latest recipients of the Tom McHale Memorial Shield. Seven of the eight winning acts – the St. Joseph’s figure and set Scor na nOg club of the year was Ballycomoyle dancers, solo singer Rebecca Doolin, the B a l l y n a c a r g y instrumental music group, the Mullingar Shamrocks ballad group, the Ballycomoyle quiz team and the St. Malachy’s novelty act – progressed to the Leinster finals in Ballymore after coming through the semi-finals at The Downs. But only St Malachy’s were Scor na nOg Novelty Act winners

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SPECIAL FEATURE St.Loman’s, Mullingar

NEW ACUTE ADMISSIONS AND IN-PATIENT UNIT AT ST. LOMAN’S

St. Loman’s U21s celebrate

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T

he existing admission block at St. Loman’s, Mullingar is currently undergoing refurbishment, upgrade and construction at a capital cost of €6 million. The BAM Contractors project is progressing on a phased basis with a portion of the original building fully operational while construction proceeds. Works commenced in August 2011 and is scheduled for completion in June 2013. The Acute Admissions Unit and InPatient accommodation for the adult population will include a 24-bed Acute Adult Mental Health Unit and a 20-bed In-Patient replacement unit for St. Edna’s ward. In planning the facilities, account is taken of the different types of psychiatric illness and available community services. “A Vision for change” states that there should be Adult Mental Health Teams per 50,000 and Rehabilitation and Recovery Mental Health Teams per

100,000. The 24-bed Acute Admissions Unit consists of: 16 single en-suite bedrooms; 11 x 8 bed high observation assessment unit with Day / Dining Room; two Associated Day/Therapy areas and therapeutic environments; three Associated office accommodation; four Associated assessment areas; five Associated supporting infrastructures. The 20-bed In-Patient accommodation for the replacement of the St Edna’s unit will consist of: 20 single en-suite bedrooms, four of which are to be located adjacent to the Nurse’s Station; Associated Day/Therapy areas and therapeutic environments; Associated office accommodation; Associated assessment areas; Associated supporting infrastructures. The upgraded facility will focus on the needs of the individual, providing an appropriate environment for those in need of care with maximum privacy

and dignity. Of course, St. Loman’s is also synonymous with the GAA in Mullingar. Nowadays, St. Loman’s GAA club is regarded as one of the most progressive in the midlands with facilities that are on a par with any in the country. For much of its history, St. Loman’s – or Mental Hospital as it was known until the late 1950s – was a club for psychiatric nurses and other staff attached to St. Loman’s Hospital. But when an embargo on recruiting new staff was issued by the old Department of Health, the famous club teetered on the brink of extinction. A crisis meeting was called in 1980 and members agreed that the club should carry on. The meeting was to mark a turning point in St. Loman’s history as, for the first time it became a club for the whole community. Players were and continue to be recruited from the nearby Dalton Park, Bellview, Lakepoint and

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St.Lomans in semi-final action versus Shamrocks

Petitswood areas of Mullingar as well as from the outlining hurling strongholds of Cullion, Clonkill, Turin and Crookedwood.

years later and since then, the Blues

only defeat all season came against

have enjoyed unrivalled success at

Mullingar Shamrocks after a replay in

underage level.

the county semi-final. This year St. Loman’s are hoping their new manager Declan Rowley will be able to give them the final push they need in their quest to end a 50-year wait for Westmeath football’s biggest prize. Lakepoint Park, with its magnificent floodlit playing pitches (the new 3G pitch is one of the busiest in Leinster), clubhouse and stand, is a credit to the club. All that’s missing now is the Flanagan Cup to adorn the St. Loman’s trophy cabinet.

Winners of the Westmeath senior

After years of lobbying to have an

football championship in 1948, ’61

underage side affiliated, St. Loman’s

and ’63, St. Loman’s have been

succeeded in 1984 when their

striving hard to bring the elusive

request to field an U12 team was

Flanagan Cup (which was donated to

granted. Two years later, Loman’s

Westmeath GAA by one of the club’s

won

their

first

underage

most famous sons, Paddy Flanagan)

by

defeating

back to its spiritual home. The closest

neighbours Mullingar Shamrocks in

they have come in recent years was

the

U14

in 2009 when they lost the county

championship was annexed two

final to Garrycastle. In 2012, their

championship U12

final.

A

first

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MARK ROHAN and attitude is excellent. For him to be part of that set-up and to be bringing that winning mentality to the team, that’s where we see his strengths and the opportunity for him to support our guys. ormer Castledaly and “Westmeath football hasn’t won a Westmeath footballer Mark Rohan captured the lot in its history, so we’re trying to turn imagination of the nation when he that around. We need every guy that won two gold medals at the has succeeded to help us and Mark Paralympic Games in London in certainly has done that. It shows that September. an ordinary guy coming from an ordinary place can be a superstar – The 31-year-old Ballinahown man’s and he is that, he is a superstar, and first gold medal came in the when he speaks everyone listens. Paracycling H1 Time-Trial event. That “It’s a small county. People don’t was followed by his second victory in normally associate it with a huge the H1 Individual Road Race, which amount of success. You read about took place over 48km at Brands people like John Joe (Nevin) and Hatch. His achievements capped an Mark, but they’re actually here amazing year for local Olympians among us. In Mark’s case, he and Paralympians. At the London obviously has his own problems, but Olympics, John Joe Nevin won silver as he said himself there’s no point in in boxing while former Ballymore crying about it. He’s an inspiration to footballer Joseph Murphy finished everybody that he comes in contact 14th in his equestrian event, helping with.” the Irish team to fifth place overall. Star forward Dessie Dolan is also Another Mullingar man, Damien delighted to have Rohan on board. Shaw, teamed up with James Brown “When Mark came in, everybody from Co. Down to win a Paralympic was unsure as to his role because bronze in Cycling’s Individual B Timehe’s an elite athlete and he’s a very Trial. busy guy with all this training,” the An estimated 7,000 people turned former All Star explained. out at Cusack Park to welcome “But he came in and gave us Nevin and Murphy home a speech on the opening day. following their Olympic heroics. It was just incredible. It was a There was also a huge tough situation that he found homecoming for Rohan and himself in; he wanted to be a Shaw in Ballinahown on the Gaelic footballer but had an evening of Tuesday, September accident. He had a longing all 11. his life to be involved with a Mark was an emerging star of Gaelic football team. He came Castledaly and Westmeath in and was inspirational. He football, having played at full brought in the gold medals back for the Lake County in the with him and just told us how 2001 Leinster U21 much it’d mean to him to be championship, before his life involved. changed forever later that year “It was great and we’re very when he left paralysed from the lucky to have someone of his chest down as a result of calibre involved. He’s just horrific injuries he suffered after there to keep an eye on falling off his motorcycle. players, help them out, give He subsequently spent six them advice on how to go months in the National training, motivation, talking Rehabilitation Hospital in Dun psychology and all that stuff. Laoghaire before first taking up We’re looking forward to wheelchair archery and then Mark Rohan was honoured at the Westmeath county final with a working with him.” wheelchair basketball. He also played wheelchair tennis before taking up hand-cycling just four years ago. In an interview with this Yearbook in 2011, he said: "It took me a while to come to terms with my injuries. "My world was turned upside down, but I had the right attitude and was lucky to have a great network of family and friends to help me along. Being paralysed asked questions of my spirit. From the outset, I decided I was going to focus on the positives in my life, rather than the negatives. Sport is now a huge part of my life again. "In many ways, the accident has given me a wonderful life. I have travelled the world to play sport. I have competed at a level of sport way beyond my wildest dreams. I have learned about my resilience, my inner-strength and the depth of support and love of my family and friends." Since returning from the Paralympics, Mark has returned to his GAA roots by joining the Westmeath senior football backroom team. In welcoming his involvement with the team, manager Pat Flanagan said: “Mark’s strength of mentality

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SPECIAL FEATURE

Micheal O Muircheartaigh with Aisling and her parents Sally and Matty Conaty

AISLING ELECTRIFIED BY ALL-IRELAND WIN

L

ast year’s All-Ireland junior ‘A’ camogie triumph was a career highlight for Aisling Conaty who’s now challenging her Westmeath team-mates to use the success as a stepping stone to greater things. September 2 2012 was a red-letter day for Westmeath camogie. After many years of trying and the heartbreak of losing the previous year’s final to Armagh after a replay, the Lake County finally got their hands on the coveted Nancy Murray Cup following a superb 1-14 to 2-6 victory over Dublin at the Donaghmore/Ashbourne club grounds in Co. Meath. The success capped a memorable year in which Westmeath’s U16 team also claimed an All-Ireland ‘C’ title, Castletown-Geoghegan’s Aoife Corcoran won the All-Ireland Feile Skills competition and St. Munna’s

Aileen Lawlor became the county’s first Camogie Association president. Little wonder then that everyone was in such high spirits at the Westmeath Camogie Awards Night in the Annebrook House Hotel, Mullingar on January 5 last! “It was a great way to ring in the New Year,” laughs Aisling Conaty, who was selected at centre back on the Westmeath Examiner Readers’ All Star Team of the Year after a fantastic season in the colours of Lough Lene Gaels and Westmeath. “Micheal O Muircheartaigh was the special guest and presented the U16 team with their All-Ireland medals. He nicknamed me ‘Vision’ because that’s what Aisling means in Irish, and it’s stuck to me which is pretty flattering. We received our All-Ireland junior medals from Aileen Lawlor who has done so much to raise camogie’s profile in Westmeath. I’ve been on the Westmeath panel for the past six

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years and last year was definitely the highlight. “I captained the team to win a National League Division 4 title in 2011 and to an All-Ireland final against Armagh, which we lost after a replay. Westmeath won an All-Ireland junior 12-a-side championship in 2006, but I missed that year to concentrate on my studies. So it was great to finally win an All-Ireland title with such a brilliant bunch of girls,” adds Aisling, who was part of a committee that organised the Awards Night. The long-serving defender is fulsome in her praise of last year’s manager Noel Boyce and his backroom team which comprised Yvette Cully, Mark Scally, Seamus Sheridan and Ian Fivey. Yvette has replaced Noel as manager for the coming year and Aisling sees no reason why Westmeath can’t reach even greater heights under the


Dublin’s second string by 1-10 to former St. Munna’s and county 3-6 at the Ballyboden St. Enda’s star. club grounds. They put that “We don’t want to rest on our setback behind them to beat laurels,” the bubbly 28-year-old Cavan for a second time by 3-15 stresses. to 1-8 in the All-Ireland semi-final “We want to push on and – which they had reached by keep the momentum going. virtue of their earlier wins – with Last year’s success was Dinah Loughlin and Denise reward for three years of hard McGrath scoring 0-8 and 2-1 work. None of us are getting respectively. any younger and this could be The All-Ireland final presented the last chance for a lot of us to Westmeath with an opportunity to play in Croke Park. Yvette avenge their earlier reversal to never got that chance, despite the Dubs, and they opened having a brilliant career with St. brightly with Loughlin and Munna’s and Westmeath. All of McGrath posting early points. the players have enormous However, a Joeleen Hoary goal in respect for her and want to do the 16th minute helped the the best we can for her. Aisling (second from left) is pictured at the Westmeath Camogie Metropolitans to a 1-3 to 0-4 lead “We’re in the All-Ireland junior Awards Night with Bertie Dunne of the Annebrook House Hotel, at the break. championship proper this year legendary GAA commentator Micheal O Muircheartaigh and Cullion’s Eileen Murphy Noel Boyce’s charges had wind and the aim has to be to get the final, which is played in Croke advantage for the second half, Association president. We need to Park along with the senior and but when Hoary pounced for her capitalise on this now and to get more intermediate finals, and win it and second goal in the 36th minute, they support behind us. We’ve terrific secure intermediate status. We’ve trailed by four points and appeared to sponsors in Supermacs Ardleigh and seen Offaly jump from junior to senior be in big trouble. Westmeath never are delighted that they’ve rowed in in the past few years and that is panicked, though, and were level behind us for another year.” something we’d love to replicate. I’m within three minutes thanks to a “The county camogie trails are convinced we have the players to do Pamela Greville free and a goal from going really well with the new faces that. We’ve played Offaly in challenge Denise McGrath. showing good promise and the matches and have always been able With less than five minutes to go, management will have a tough task in to hold our own against them.” the sides were still on level terms, but finalising their panel for 2013.” Aisling feels Westmeath have Westmeath showed how much they En route to last year’s All-Ireland underachieved down the years wanted victory by finishing with a junior ‘A’ championship final, because of a lack of interest on the flourish. Pamela Greville edged them Westmeath enjoyed comfortable wins part of some players, and is hoping in front before further points from over Offaly’s second team, last year’s success can change that. Joanne McCormack, Dinah Loughlin Monaghan, Tyrone and Cavan before “We’ve always struggled to put our (two frees) and Greville sealed an losing their final group game to best team on the field due historic success. to players not being “The last thing we interested enough or not wanted to do was to believing they are good lose to Dublin twice in enough to play interthe same county,” she admits. championship. We dug “There are club players deep when it mattered out there who are well up most. The girls played to inter-county level, but out of their skins. It they aren’t prepared to give meant so much to all of the commitment. What I us to win the Nancy would say to them as a Murray Cup.” way of enticing them to Aisling was very play for their county is that proud of her club the rewards are huge if you Lough Lene Gaels’ are prepared to put the contribution to the Alleffort in. People are much Ireland win. The more aware of us after Collinstown outfit had the highest repwhat we achieved last year The organising committee for the Westmeath Camogie Awards Night (from left to right): Laura Hannon (Castletown-Geoghegan), Sarah King (Delvin), Eileen resentation of any club and Aileen Lawlor’s Murphy (Cullion), Jemma Egan-Maybury (Lough Lene Gaels) on the panel with nine election as Camogie and Aisling Conaty (Lough Lene Gaels)

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players – team captain Jemma EganMaybury, Joanne Walsh, Aoife Higgins, Lizzie Hannon, Cartriona Murtagh, Nicola and Avril Fagan, Nadina Grace and, of course, Aisling. With the Gaels, Aisling has won senior championships in 2001 and 2011. Last year, they were relieved of their senior title by their great rivals Raharney who won a titanic county final at Kinnegad by a point. Lough Lene Gaels gained a measure of revenge for that loss when they trumped Raharney in the 13-a-side intermediate league final, while they also proved too strong for the Deelsiders in the minor championship decider. “We’ve enjoyed an intense rivalry with Raharney over the years and we’ll be trying to wrestle the senior title back from them this year. We’ve had a lot of success at underage level in the past decade and that’s starting to pay dividends for us now,” she explains. “This year we’ll be going out to win every competition we enter. We’re hurting badly after last year and want to make amends. Our goal is to become the first Westmeath club to

win Leinster and All-Ireland titles. “I’ve been very lucky to play alongside such a talented bunch of players in Lough Lene Gaels. There is strong competition for places, but I don’t think we’ve achieved as much as we should have. Two county titles since 2001 is a poor return for a club with the underage success we’ve had.” Aisling hails from one of Westmeath’s best-known and most respected hurling families. Her father Matty played for Lough Lene Gaels for many years, but is perhaps better known for his work as an administrator. He was club secretary for 20 years (1971-’91) and served an incredible 25 years as secretary of the Westmeath hurling board. He is currently chairman of the newlyformed Westmeath hurling committee. Aisling’s siblings Damien, Caroline, Brian, Niall and Noel have all played for the Gaels. Indeed, Brian was Westmeath’s first-choice goalkeeper for a period during the last decade. For the past seven years, qualified riding instructor Aisling has been

employed in the family business, Matty Conaty Electrical Ltd, as Office & Quality Manager. In business for 33 years, Matty Conaty Electrical is based in Collinstown and specialises in domestic and commercial electrical installation, computer wiring systems, alarms and PLC systems, control panels and control wiring. The company has been a long-time sponsor of the Lough Lene Gaels club. Aisling also works part-time as a manual handling instructor with her sister Caroline’s company, CG Business Consulting Ltd, in Lucan, Co. Dublin. In conclusion, Aisling says: “I would like to thank my parents Matty and Sally for the great support they’ve given me over the years. Since I started playing camogie for Westmeath, I don’t think they’ve ever missed a match. They’re known as Westmeath camogie’s number one supporters! My brothers and sister have also been a great support to me, as has my new fiance, Paddy Duffy, who plays football with Shandonagh.”

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SPECIAL FEATURE

MICHAEL ENJOYED AN ELECTRIFYING CAREER

M

oate All-Whites failed in their quest to win the junior championship at the first time of asking in 2012. However, the South Westmeath club has a proud tradition in Gaelic football, especially from their golden era during the late 1970s and early 1980s when they captured the Flanagan Cup on four occasions, and are looking to the future with renewed optimism after winning the minor championship last year. Michael Fox hails from one of Moate’s best-known GAA families, is proud to have played for the AllWhites during what was arguably the most successful period in their history. Having claimed their first senior championship in 1933, the All-Whites won their second three years later and then a third was added in 1943. The Fox family was well represented on these teams as Michael's father Paddy and his three brothers Peter, Bernie and Rob all lined out with the club. However, an amazing 32 years elapsed before they returned to the summit of Westmeath football and there was plenty of heartache along the way. “The club actually lost three senior finals in-a-row from 1969 to 1971, which was a huge setback, but fortunately the hunger was still there with the players that had lost those finals and combined with the lads that came through from Carmelite College under Fr. Michael Cremin, we finally made the breakthrough in 1975,” recalls Michael. Fox captained Moate to their first county under-21 title in 1974, the same year that the senior side won the league title, which helped pave the way for their county final success 12 months later. Michael and his brothers attended

Michael Fox hails from one of Moates’ best-known GAA families

Tubber National School along with many other families from Moate and this is where he developed a love for Gaelic football. “We would have played football from a very young age and the likes of Michael O'Halloran and a number of parents including my father played a huge part in our early careers. “My brothers and I played for Moate as the family tradition with the club went back many years. I had some wonderful times with the club. I also played in a Galway senior football final in 1973 when I attended UCG, but we were beaten by Dunmore MacHales in the final.

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“I had the privilege of playing with some excellent footballers at that time and they included Joe McDonagh, Tony Regan, Jimmy Mannion, Paudie O'Mahony, Martin Carney and Ger O'Keeffe.” “I played alongside some outstanding footballers in Moate. The likes of Sean Heavin, Aidan O'Halloran, Larry Gillivan and Kieran Claffey (RIP), Brendan Murray, Pat Murray and Eamonn Coughlan were exceptional talents and we just gelled together very well. There was always a great spirit in the camp, even after we had lost the three finals; we always believed that we could win


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one.” Having won the '75 final, Moate made it back to the decider 12 months later and once again they would defeat The Downs, although this time it took a replay to separate the sides. “We knew when we made the breakthrough that we could go and win more. It was an exciting time for the club.” Having started out as a forward, Michael was moved to the backs where he earned rave reviews for his performances and a call-up to the county team. “I represented the county at all levels from under-16 and I was with the seniors for about four years. I enjoyed playing with the county and lining out alongside some great players including Matt Scally, Seamus Conroy, Mick Lowry, Tommy McCormack and Frank Tone. We were unlucky not to make more of a mark in the Leinster championship.” A further championship win with Moate was secured in 1978 when Athlone were defeated in the final, but Michael and his team-mates would have to wait a further five years for their fourth title when they beat St Malachy's in the final. Michael finally hung up his boots after the 1987 county final defeat to Mullingar Shamrocks, which brought an end to a glorious career, but he retired with one regret. “I think we were good enough to win a Leinster club title, but unfortunately that never happened. We came up against some very good teams, but we feared no-one and in fairness, we were always able to match any side we played. So in that respect, it would be regret, but by and large, I can't complain too much.” The fact that Michael spent most of his adult career commuting from either Galway or Dublin to Moate for training and games highlights the commitment that he had for the white jersey and indeed the maroon jersey when he was with the county. “There was a lot of time spent

Former Galway great and Garrycastle manager Paul Clancy

travelling, but in fairness there was always a group of us doing it, so it wasn't that bad and the banter on the way down and back up would always be very good. Not once did I ever consider transferring to a club in Dublin. The lads were the same, we were just all driven by the one cause and that was to win championships with Moate.” Michael has resided in Dublin for many years now and he became involved in underage coaching with the renowned Kilmacud Crokes club when his son Barry started playing. Through his knowledge of the game, Michael quickly moved up the coaching ranks and progressed to intermediate manager in 2005 where he unearthed some players that were to become household names in the capital. “I got involved with the Crokes when Barry was around 14 or 15. He played with them up until he went on a gap year, having lined out with the seniors on a number of occasions. When I was manager of the intermediates, the likes of Pat Burke played with us a few times when he returned from abroad,” he explains. “I'm also fairly sure that I can lay claim to being the first person to give Kevin Nolan his first adult game.

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Even then you could tell he was an outstanding footballer and it was great to see him get an All-Star in 2011. The likes of Niall Corkery, Mark Vaughan, Mark Davoren and David Nestor would have played with the intermediates at that time too, so it was a fairly talented bunch.” Michael has worked with ESB for many years now, having initially joined the ESB in 1978. ESB, which was last year re-branded Electric Ireland, are committed to sponsoring the GAA All-Ireland minor championships until 2016. “We have a big GAA connection and I have worked with Ollie Brogan, who is uncle of Dublin footballers Alan, Bernard and Paul, while former Galway footballer Paul Clancy and ex-Offaly midfielder and Tubber man Ciaran McManus are also employed here.” The Moate native has never forgotten his roots and is a regular at Westmeath matches, while he is hoping that his beloved Moate can revive their glory days and move up the ranks sooner rather than later. His brother Pat was a selector with the Westmeath minor footballers in 2011 and was a senior selector under Brendan Lowry in the late 1990s.


CLUB CAMOGIE Raharney camogie captain Nicola Brady lifts the senior Cup

RESOLUTE RAHARNEY REGAIN CAMOGIE CROWN

R

evenge was sweet for Raharney when they regained the senior championship at Lough Lene Gaels’ expense in what was another busy year of camogie club activity. Raharney’s senior camogie team succeeded where their male counterparts failed by reclaiming the Matrix Cup following a last-gasp 1-6 to 0-8 victory over holders Lough Lene Gaels in last September’s county final.

There was drama aplenty at Kinnegad where Pamela Greville’s injury-time free decided a titanic struggle between the two modernday superpowers of Westmeath camogie. Having been denied a fivein-a-row of senior championships by the Gaels in 2011, revenge was certainly sweet for Raharney who were subsequently beaten in the Leinster junior camogie semi-final by eventual All-Ireland champions Myshall of Carlow. Backboned by half a dozen of

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Westmeath’s All-Ireland junior ‘A’ winning side, Lough Lene Gaels were first to book their place in the decider. A dominant second half display paved the way for a 3-12 to 2-4 semifinal victory over Cullion at Lakepoint Park. Cullion were well in the game when trailing by four points, 0-1 to 05, at the interval, but the Gaels were able to pull away in the second half thanks to goals from Joanne Walsh, Ashleigh Hill and Avril Fagan. In the other semi-final at Kinnegad, Raharney swept past an emerging


Clonkill team on a 2-13 to 1-3 scoreline. Clonkill offered stubborn resistance in the opening half, going into the break just three points in arrears, but they had no answer to the Deelsiders’ power and pace after the restart when goals from Pamela Greville and Elaine Finn put the issue beyond doubt. While the final produced just 15 scores, it was fascinating nevertheless. In a game dominated by defences, Raharney were first to settle with points from Pamela Greville and Fiona Leavy. Joanne Walsh opened the Gaels’ account from a seventh-minute free, but there was despair for the same player when she blazed a penalty wide at the end of the opening quarter. Nicola Fagan eventually brought the Collinstown girls level, only for Pamela Greville to immediately restore Raharney’s lead from a free. After their goalkeeper Celeste Dermody had produced a fine save to deny Laura Murphy, the Gaels hit a purple patch which yielded unanswered points from Joanne Williams (two) and Avril Fagan to leave them two up, 0-5 to 0-3, at the break. Spectators had to wait until the 40th minute for the opening score of the second half to arrive via another Greville free. With Player of the Match Elaine Finn driving them forward with every opportunity, Raharney made a vital breakthrough in the 47th minute when substitute Gemma Briody marked her arrival with an opportunist goal following a long delivery by Greville. This gave the Blues a 1-4 to 0-5 lead, but the Gaels replied with a brace of Joanne Walsh frees to tie up the scoring with six minutes remaining. When Greville and Walsh exchanged scores in the dying moments, a replay looked to be on the cards, but Raharney weren’t to be denied as Greville held her nerve to send over the winning free after the rampaging Finn had been grounded in injury-time. Heartbreak for the Gaels, but joy for Raharney and their captain Nicola Brady who was presented with the silverware afterwards. Lough Lene Gaels gained a measure of revenge for their defeat when they eased to a 3-5 to 0-2

victory over Raharney in the 13-aside intermediate league final, which was played in November. Helen Dobson scored a goal in each half for the Collinstown side, who had outstanding performers in Celeste Dermody, Veronica Kiernan, Nadina Grace, Joanne Williams, Sinead Lynch, Lizzy Hannon, Catriona Murtagh and the Fagan twins, Avril and Nicola. It was 1-3 to 0-2 in the Gaels’ favour at half-time and they made sure of the win with second half majors from Dobson and Nadina Grace. In the curtain-raiser to the senior final, Aisling Boyhan’s injury-time goal handed Crookedwood a thrilling 3-6 to 2-8 victory over Brownstown. The goal completed a sensational comeback by the ‘Wood who had trailed by nine points at one stage. Brownstown, for who the superb Louise O’Connor accounted for 2-5 of their tally, must have thought they were home and hosed when they led by 2-5 to 0-2 three minutes into the second half, but the ‘Wood had other ideas . . . Goals from Aisling Boyhan and Antoinette Savage, whose sons Antoine, Conor and Seamus won intermediate championship medals with Crookedwood on the same day, brought them back into it before wing forward Boyhan netted her dramatic winner. In the minor championship decider at Lakepoint Park, Lough Lene Gaels’ senior stars showed the way in a 3-11 to 0-3 rout of Raharney. The purple and golds never looked back after Shannon Farrelly crashed home the opening goal inside 11 minutes. Catriona Murtagh added a second goal to make it 2-4 to 0-2 at half-time. It continued to be one-way traffic following the change of ends when Farrelly raised her second green flag. Raharney won the U16 ‘premier’ championship with Delvin claiming the ‘A’ equivalent. Raharney also captured the U14 ‘premier’ championship with the ‘A’, ‘B’ and ‘C’ titles going to Castlepollard, St. Munna’s and Delvin respectively. The Deelsiders also represented Westmeath at the Feile na nGael finals in Dublin at the beginning of July where they had comprehensive wins over Whitehall/Colmcille, Ballyboden/St. Enda’s (both Dublin)

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and St.Brigid’s of Mayo to qualify for a semi-final against Athleague. In a close affair, Raharney defeated their Roscommon counterparts on a 3-1 to 1-1 scoreline, but outright success proved a bridge too far for them as they lost the final in Parnell Park to Naas by 0-3 to 3-2. The U14 Feile Skills competition was won by CastletownGeoghegan’s Aoife Corcoran, who went on to annex the All-Ireland title. The Poc Fada U14 winner was Michaela Murtagh of Delvin, while Sarah Jackson of CastletownGeoghegan took the Poc Fada senior crown. Raharney’s senior champions were: Sandra Greville; Jacinta Goonery, Liz Shaw, Claire Coyne; Jena McKeogh, Teresa Lynch, Andreanna Doyle; Elaine Finn, Laura Murphy; Faye Dunne, Lisa Burke, Pamela Greville; Aoife Boyle, Fiona Leavy, Amy Goonery. Subs used: Nicola Brady (captain) and Gemma Briody. Lough Lene Gaels’ intermediate league winning team was: Celeste Dermody; Veronica Moran, Nadina Grace; Yvonne Malone, Joanne Williams, Sinead Lynch; Lizzy Hannon (captain), Avril Fagan; Nicola Fagan, Michelle Murtagh, Aisleigh Hill; Catriona Murtagh, Helen Dobson. Subs used: Anne-Marie Kennedy and Caoimhe McCrossan. The Crookedwood team which staged a remarkable comeback to snatch the junior crown from Brownstown’s grasp was: Carol Daly; Meadbh Orme, Julie McLoughlin, Stephanie Muldoon; Kathleen Boyhan (captain), Roisin Scally, Shonagh Savage; Elaine Shaw, Elaine Boyhan; Aine Boyhan, Muireann Scally, Aisling Boyhan; Tracy Corrigan, Susan Boyhan, Antoinette Savage. Rest of panel: Chloe Kelly, Kate Weir, Holly Foley, Anna Savage, Karla O’Reilly, Michaela Monaghan, Geraldine Corcoran and Sinead Collins. Lough Lene Gaels’ minor winning side was: Shauna Loughlin; Nadina Grace, Kelly Dobson; Yvonne Malone, Avril Fagan, Aoife Flynn; Anne-Marie Kennedy, Caoimhe McCrossan; Nicola Fagan, Ashleigh Hill, Shannon Farrelly; Orla Lynch, Catriona Murtagh. Sub used: Jenny Kiernan.


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SPECIAL FEATURE

Noel with his brothers and the Christy Ring Cup in New York during 2006

HOME IS WHERE THE HEART IS FOR NOEL

F

ormer county hurler Noel Gavin literally knows no boundaries when it comes to lining out for his beloved St. Oliver Plunkett’s as ‘Maroon & White’ recently discovered. Is there a more committed player in Westmeath GAA than Noel Gavin? The two-time Christy Ring Cup winner’s job as a project manager with Lynskey Engineering regularly takes him to the Continent, but he still somehow finds the time to line out for St. Oliver Plunkett’s. “I haven’t missed a championship game in eight or nine years,” explains the Mullingar native, whose remarkable dedication and commitment to Plunkett’s was reflected in his appointment as team captain for the last number of seasons. “While I’m officially based in Dublin, I’ve worked all over Europe in the past few years –Innsbruck in Austria,

Amsterdam in Holland and Hannover in Germany to name but a few. I’m coming and going the whole time. It’s hard to marry work with hurling, but when I’m away from home, it makes me cherish the game more and that is why I always make it my business to get home and to play for the club. But while I’m away I have to train hard on my own to stay competitive.” Noel is 34 now and engaged to Dutch/Armenian lady, Nairy (who was initially fascinated and has since developed a great interest in the ancient Irish game), but insists he has no intention of hanging up his hurl. “I’m taking an even more professional approach to the game now than when I was playing with the county,” the experienced all-rounder and free-taker says. “I’m enjoying it more than ever and plan to keep going for a good few years yet. I look after myself in terms of my physical condition and fitness,

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and don’t drink or smoke. I’m the sort of fella who wants to be up at the front with the lads who are 10 and 15 years younger than me when we’re doing laps in training. That competitive streak hasn’t left me. “Whereas other fellas of my age would be looking for an excuse to give up playing, I’d be looking for an excuse to keep playing.” Noel, whose brothers Tony and Greg have also represented their club and county with distinction, isn’t giving up on his dream of winning an Examiner Cup with his beloved Plunkett’s. The semi-final of the senior hurling championship remains an insurmountable obstacle for the Robinstown men whose 2012 interests were once again ended at the penultimate stage by Raharney. “It’s become a psychological thing. In terms of fitness, commitment and ability, we are as good as anyone. But unlike the historically successful clubs, we don’t have men with senior


medals. We don’t have a winning tradition and that, more than anything, is holding us back. “The big breakthrough that we crave was as elusive as ever last year, but we live in hope. The same guys will be there again this year, hoping that their day will finally come. But if you were somebody looking in from the outside, you would probably think that it (the opportunity to win a senior championship) is slipping away from us. “We had about 10 years where we had fantastic underage success, but the problem was that we didn’t have a group of lads who came before or after them. When we won the intermediate championship in 1998, I was the third oldest on the team and I’m still about the third oldest I think! Half the team is over 30 at this stage. I’ve played in seven semi-finals, two of which were replays, and never progressed to a county final. It’s very demoralising, but you have to keep on trying.” Despite an excellent 0-14 to 1-7 quarter-final victory over Lough Lene Gaels last year, Plunkett’s were well beaten by Raharney in the semi-final (0-11 to 2-14), a result Gavin had absolutely no complaints about. “Realistically, we were a good bit short of what was needed to win last year’s championship. It wasn’t our best ever team,” he admits. “One positive observation from the semi-final loss last year was that we showed some grit and determination and made Raharney work for the full duration of the encounter.But we hadn’t beaten any of the heavyweights to get as far as we did last year. Having said that, Eddie Casey and last year Ciaran McKenna as managers, as well as contributions as selectors from Paddy Hassett, Paul Ahearne and Sean Hynes, have brought us up to a higher level over the past few years. “We’ll give it another shot this year and see where it takes us. I’d love to see guys like Stephen McManus and Govinda Geoghegan win senior medals before they retire. No-one would deserve it more than them after the commitment they’ve given over the years.” Noel inherited his passion for hurling from his father Anthony, who captained St. Brigid’s to an U21 championship and also won a senior championship with the Dalystown club in 1972. More recently, Anthony acted as an umpire for top referee Barry Kelly (who is arguably

Aaron Purcell and Noel Gavin with the Flanagan Cup

Plunkett’s best known club member) and was on duty for the 2006 and 2008 All-Ireland finals, which were both won by Kilkenny. Noel was part of the first St. Oliver Plunkett’s team to bring a county Feile na nGael title back to Robinstown in 1992. His younger brothers Tony and Greg were members of the Plunkett’s teams which won back-to-back All-Ireland Feile na nGael Division 3 and 2 titles in 1994 and ’95. They defeated O’Donovan Rossa of Antrim in the ’94 final and

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Coolderry of Offaly in the ’95 decider. “Those were great days for the club. For men like John Joe Lynch and Tony Donoghue, who are sadly no longer with us, those successes must have meant everything to them. They were there from the very beginning of the club’s existence and were the heart and soul of the club.” After captaining the Westmeath minor hurling team in 1996, Gavin played senior hurling for Westmeath from 1997 to ’09, during which he won Christy Ring Cup medals in 2005 and ’07 at the expense of Down and Kildare respectively. He also represented UCD and Trinity College while studying in both universities. Another highlight was the 2006 Leinster championship win over Dublin which paved the way for the visit of Kilkenny to Cusack Park for the provincial semi-final. While acknowledging that Westmeath have progressed, Noel still feels the county team isn’t fulfilling its potential. “Things have definitely moved on a level since the Christy Ring Cup era,” he says. “When I started with Westmeath in 1997, it was sometimes a struggle to assemble a strong squad on match days let alone for training. Thankfully, it’s a much more professional set-up nowadays, but it’s disappointing to think that some of the best guys still aren’t committing or being selected. I would love to see a situation where the best 15 players are going out to represent the county. “From what I’ve heard the manager Brian Hanley is a very shrewd, nononsense guy. The goals for this year must be to get promotion in the

league and to build on last year’s championship win over Antrim by putting it up to the teams that are slowly gravitating towards Westmeath in terms of realistic chances of victory like Offaly, Wexford and even Waterford. At the same time, we need to be looking over our shoulder at the other upand-coming counties like Carlow and Kildare. They could overtake us if we’re not careful by applying the same principles that Westmeath have in our development. “The other thing I would like to see is a more competitive domestic county championship. The gap is widening between Clonkill and Raharney, and the rest of us. It’s not good for Westmeath hurling to have

two clubs dominating.” Despite having a much shorter football career, Noel garnered a senior championship medal with Mullingar Shamrocks in 2000. He also represented UCD during his time there and played minor for Westmeath in 1996. Needless to say, he was delighted to see Shamrocks regain the Flanagan Cup last year after 12 years. Being his football club and with several St. Oliver Plunketts players on the victorious Shamrocks squad as well as the close family connections with a number of the Shamrocks players, Kieran and Davy Gavin, Aaron Purcell and Denis Corroon, makes this achievement very special for him.

Noel Gavin in the colours of Oliver Plunketts

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OBITUARIES

FRIENDS WE LOST CYRIL McLAVIN (DYSART) Dysart native Cyril tragically lost his life when the plane he was flying crashed in Long Island, New York on October 20 last. His flying companion Andrew Messana also died in the crash. The 51year-old learned to fly in Ireland before moving to the US in the early 1980s. He hailed from a well-known GAA family with his brother Fabian – who is a mechanic in Mullingar – being a star dual player with the St. Malachy’s footballers and Castletown-Geoghegan hurlers in the 1980s. Cyril’s father Sonny is a former referee, and he played GAA himself before emigrating. PETER CURRAN (CASTLEPOLLARD) A former Castlepollard hurler, Peter died in his adopted Carlow last September. He was married to Jacqueline and had three children – Katie, Jonathan and Evan. COLM GEOGHEGAN SNR (CASTLETOWN-GEOGHEGAN) Colm, who passed to his eternal reward in September, was the father of Colm Jnr and Alo Geoghegan, who have had a long involvement with the St. Malachy’s and Castletown-Geoghegan clubs. Colm Jnr doubled up as secretary of both clubs last year, and played on the St. Malachy’s team that won the intermediate championship in 2001. He was also honoured with the Clubman of the Year award in 2008. Alo was St. Malachy’s treasurer last year, having previously served as chairman from 2009 to 2012. He also captained the club’s second team in 2012. MARIE GEOGHEGAN (CASTLETOWN-GEOGHEGAN) The Geoghegan family were dealt a second devastating blow when Marie passed away two months after the death of her husband, Colm. Marie, whose maiden name was Clavin, reared eight children – sons Colm Jnr, Thomas, Larry, Alo, Matthew, Kedagh and daughters Mary and Therese. DAVY ALLEN (ATHLONE) A member of the Defence Forces and one of Athlone’s best-known GAA families, Davy’s death at the age of just 43 in February 2012 shocked and

saddened all who knew him. Along with his brothers Philip and Kevin, he was a stalwart of the club, having worn the blue and white jersey with pride and distinction at every level. The highlight of his long playing career, which only ended in 2011, came in 1998 when he was a member of Athlone’s senior championship winning panel. His daughter Kayleigh was mascot for the final against Coralstown/Kinnegad, while Philip lined out at wing back. In more recent times, Davy – who was married to Tara and was dad to Kayleigh and Shane – immersed himself in Athlone’s underage scene. His finest hour as an underage mentor came in October 2011 when the U14 team he had coached for the previous six years captured a first championship in the grade for Athlone in 22 years. The same team also won the Feile earlier that year. Athlone GAA staged the inaugural Davy Allen Memorial U15 Tournament last year and fittingly, the team he had worked so tirelessly with were the first winners, defeating St. Brigid’s (Kiltoom) in the final. DOLORES McCORMACK (DELVIN) Dolores’ tragic death following a road accident in August caused widespread shock and sadness. Her young daughter Bronagh Flynn was also seriously injured in the accident, which occurred between Delvin and Mullingar, but thankfully has since made a full recovery. Dolores was immensely proud of her two girls, Katie and Bronagh, who are both talented camogie players. Along with her partner Pat Flynn, she gave them tremendous encouragement and was a familiar face along the sideline at games in which they were involved. TOMMY BURKE (MILLTOWNPASS) Born in Mayo, Tommy was a young lad when he moved to Enniscoffey with his parents and siblings where they obtained a farm. He married Clonkill woman Julie in 1986 and they had four children – Tommy Jnr, Teresa, Claire and Eva. He took an interest in all sports, in particular horse racing and GAA. He was an uncle of former Milltownpass footballer Kevin Burke, who was midfield on the Westmeath team that won the All-Ireland U21 title in

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1999. JOHNNY LYNG (ST. LOMAN’S) The death occurred of former Westmeath football star Johnny Lyng in London on November 16. A native of Kerry where we won juvenile and minor championships, Johnny moved to the Green Road, Mullingar after his father took up a job with CIE. Johnny later followed in his footsteps, moving to England and working with British Rail for much of his life. Johnny joined the old Mullingar club in 1944 and lined out at left corner back on the side that defeated Kinnegad by 3-7 to 2-8 in the county senior football final that year. The Mullingar team was managed by Brother Hogan of St. Mary’s CBS, who was a brother of Michael Hogan, the Tipperary footballer who was shot dead in Croke Park on Bloody Sunday and whom the Hogan Stand is named after. The Tralee native subsequently joined St. Loman’s (then known as Mental Hospital) and was full back on the team that defeated Athlone by 0-5 to 0-1 to claim the club’s first senior football championship in 1948. The following year, Mental Hospital surrendered their title to Athlone, while there was further disappointment for Johnny when he wore the number four jersey in Westmeath’s defeat to Meath in the Leinster senior final. He continued to play for club and county until he emigrated to London in the mid1950s. He retained a strong interest in the GAA after that and regularly returned to Mullingar. Aged 87, he is survived by his long-time friend Olive, brother Tommy and sisters Carmel English, Remy Wallace and Anna Connaughton. JOHN DILLON (MOATE) A shopkeeper in Moate for 50 years, John was a great supporter of the local GAA club who formed a guard of honour at his removal last April. Originally from Cadamstown in Co. Offaly, the 92-yearold was the second eldest in a family of 18 children. He married Ballinlough, Co. Roscommon woman Maureen in 1950 and the couple had four children – Noel, Sean, Marie and Triona. KATHLEEN DARCY (HORSELEAP) The Westmeath Scor fraternity was saddened to learn of Kathleen’s sudden


passing on November 13. One of life’s great characters, she represented both St. Joseph’s and Ballymore in Scor, and won a county title in the Novelty Act discipline with the latter in 1985. On the same night, her son Eddie also won a county title in Question Time representing Rosemount! Kathleen was one of the founders of Scor in the St. Joseph’s club and followed the local acts all over the country. Married to Tom, she had one daughter and five sons. One of her sons, Tom Jnr, was a star of Rosemount and Westmeath football for many years and is currently a member of the Westmeath senior management team. LARRY McLOUGHLIN (CLONKILL) The local hurling community was plunged into mourning after a farm accident claimed the life of 72-year-old retired postman Larry McLoughlin in October. Husband of May and father of Thomas and Amanda, he is remembered in hurling circles as an outstanding player who occupied the centre back position in Clonkill’s 1969 senior hurling championship success – their last for 32 years. His hurling skills first came to notice when he scored three goals in the last 10 minutes of the U17 hurling final in 1959 – two years after the club had been reformed. Living within a puck of a ball of Clonkill’s pitch, he helped the north Westmeath club to the junior championship (1961), senior league (1963) and Feis Cup (1967) before their big success came in 1969. When Clonkill won the U21 championship in 1968, Larry was club secretary. During the same period, Larry was a regular on the county side. He and his great friend and defensive colleague Christy ‘Kit’ Austin were part of the Westmeath team that lost the National League Division 2A final to Kildare at Croke Park in 1969. The Clonkill club formed a guard of honour for Larry at his removal, while a minute’s silence was also observed before the senior championship final between Clonkill and Raharney on October 21. NICHOLAS SMYTH (BALLYNACARGY AND MULLINGAR) Nicholas, who died on November 8 at the age of 89, was a native of Ballynacargy who made his home in Mullingar with his wife Perpetua and their five children, Barbara, Jean, Raymond, Brian and David. He was a talented tennis player in his youth and was also a keen GAA supporter. He followed the Westmeath football team the length and breadth of the country and regularly travelled to Ballinagore to see them training. MICHAEL TYRRELL (MULLINGAR) A popular postman in his native Mullingar and in other parts of the

county for many decades, Michael was a keen fisherman and was also a regular visitor to Cusack Park where he supported the Westmeath football and hurling teams. He was also passionate about horse racing and cycled to meetings in Galway and The Curragh in his younger days. BILLY MARTIN (BALLYMORE) Billy, who passed to his eternal reward at the age of 77 in July, was a cornerstone of the GAA in Ballymore. Hailing from a family steeped in the Association – his brother Joe is one of Westmeath GAA’s best-known personalities – he served as secretary and treasurer of Ballymore for many years. Billy, who was married to Nancy for 49 years, was also deeply involved in underage coaching and, in recent years, devoted much time and effort to researching the history of his beloved club. He was a familiar face on the local Scor scene, having helped to establish Scor in Ballymore in the 1970s. All six of his children participated in both Scor na nOg and Scor Sinsear down through the years. Billy was also a member of the committee that built the Ballymore Community Centre – which regularly hosts Scor finals – in the early 1980s and served as chairman of the local Tidy Towns Committee. MAURA HARTEN (MOATE) A native of Kiltimagh, Co. Mayo, Maura – whose maiden name was Mulhern – moved to the midlands in 1979 after taking up employment in the Bank of Ireland, Pearse Street, Athlone where she met her husband Kieran, whom she married three years later. After relocating to Moate, where she and Kieran reared two daughters, Sinead and Aoife, she became deeply involved with Moate All-Whites. She served as treasurer for five years and was chosen as Club Person of the Year in 2000. She was also the club’s honorary vice-president and served on the executive for many years. Despite being a staunch Mayo supporter, she proudly wore the Westmeath jersey in that unforgettable summer of 2004 when the Delaney Cup came to the county for the first time.

mother of Martin, Jim, Ned, Tom, John, Breda and the late Bernadette. The Moores are one of Westmeath’s best-known GAA families. The most famous of the brothers – in Lake County GAA circles at least – is Ned who had the distinction of captaining Mullingar Shamrocks to four consecutive Westmeath SFC titles between 1992 and ’95, and managed St. Mary’s, Rochfortbridge for the past two years. Each of the five brothers attended Mullingar CBS with Ned, Tom and John playing their club football with Mullingar Shamrocks and Martin and Jim representing The Downs. Jim and John have been deeply involved in the GAA in London and New York respectively for many years now. JOE DEEGAN (MULLINGAR) Mullingar lost one of its most colourful and likeable characters on June 2 last with the passing of Joe Deegan. A native of Canal Court, Joe lived in Cathedral View, having returned many years ago from England where he worked with McAlpine and Murphy on building sites in Liverpool. Joe had a great love for his county and was one of Westmeath’s most vocal supporters whenever they played at Cusack Park. He took immense satisfaction from the Lake County’s 2004 Leinster football championship success and the All-Ireland minor and U21 wins which preceded it in 1995 and ’99 respectively. A minute’s silence was observed for him and the late Kay O’Connell – mother of Westmeath’s first football All-Star – before last summer’s Leinster SHC quarter-final between Westmeath and Galway at Cusack Park.

KEVIN BUTLER (BALLYMORE) One of a family of 10, Kevin kept goal for Ballymore until a knee injury cut short his football career. He was a lifelong supporter of the green and golds, and is sorely missed by everyone in the club.

MARGARET CORRIGAN (RINGTOWN) Margaret was just shy of her 93rd birthday when she passed to her eternal reward on January 3, 2013. She was one of the most senior and respected members of her community. The Corrigan family are synonymous with Ringtown hurling club and Margaret’s sons, Christy, Tony, Michael John and the late Peter were all prominent players. After his playing career ended, Michael John served as Westmeath hurling board chairman. Margaret and her late husband Michael left their native Mayo to settle in Kiltoom where they reared nine children – five daughters (Maura, Anne, Margaret, Catherine and Josephine) and four sons.

PATRICIA MOORE (MULLINGAR) The death occurred on November 2 of Patricia (Patty) Moore of Tudenham, Mullingar. Predeceased by her husband and proud Galway man Eamonn in 2006, the Kells, Co. Meath native was

BENNY KEOGHAN (KILBEGGAN SHAMROCKS) Benny, whose death took place in Kilburn, London, was a native of the Comagh Road in Kilbeggan. He was a brother of Richie and John Keoghan

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who both wore the Kilbeggan jersey with distinction for many years. Richie is regarded as one of Kilbeggan’s greatest ever footballers and was a key figure on the team that contested the 1980 SFC final against The Downs. NOEL KENNEDY (BALLINAGORE AND ST. BRIGID’S) Noel was a lifelong member and supporter of Ballinagore GAA club, having hurled for nearby St. Brigid’s in his younger days. His finest hour in the Brigid’s colours came in 1964 when he was goalkeeper on the team that won the junior hurling championship. Noel was honorary president of the Ballinagore club and also served as a selector to the senior and junior teams for many years. He was a familiar face at every game in Pairc Bhodhrain and is sorely missed by everyone in the small, close-knit club. JOE SMITH (MARYLAND) Maryland GAA was plunged into mourning last April with the passing of Joe, who was a founding member and president of the club. He made an enormous contribution to the success and growth of the Drumraney club, initially as a player and later as an administrator. He served as chairman for many years and is regarded as one of Maryland’s greatest ever servants. OLIVER JAMES KELLY (CAULRY) Oliver James, whose death occurred in Derby, England, was a member of the Caulry team that won JFL titles in 1956 and ’57, and the JFC in 1957. The Mount Temple club defeated Mullingar Shamrocks by 1-10 to 1-5 in that championship decider. NAN LYNCH (ROCHFORTBRIDGE AND CLONKILL) Nan, whose maiden name was Delamere, was an icon of Westmeath camogie. Regarded as one of the greatest camogie players the county has ever produced, she won five championship medals with her native Clonkill in a long and illustrious playing career. She played a major role in the development of camogie in this county and such was her love and dedication for her club and her sport that she returned to the field of play while in her fifties. DERMOT HENNESSY (CASTLETOWN-FINEA AND CASTLEPOLLARD) Dermot was just 29 when he passed to his eternal reward on April 3 last, having been seriously injured in a road accident three years earlier. A son of Louis and Nancy Hennessy, the young electrician was well-known throughout north Westmeath thanks to his sporting interests. He was also a member of

Macra na Feirme and took part in the National Ploughing Championships. He represented CastletownFinea/Coole/Whitehall in football and Castlepollard in hurling, and guards of honour were provided by both clubs at his removal to St. Michael’s Church in Castletown. He was laid to rest at Finea Cemetery. JOHNNY EGERTON (CLONKILL) Clonkill’s joy at winning the county Feile na nGael title last May soon turned to grief when news of Johnny (Sean) Egerton’s sudden passing filtered through. A member of one of Clonkill’s best-known hurling families he wore the green and gold jersey at every level and regularly assisted club referees as an umpire. A young man who was married with two daughters, he remained a committed supporter of the club, despite having moved from the area a number of years ago. PAT MURPHY (BALLYNACARGY) Pat’s passing in Manchester last July came as a great shock to the folk of Ballynacargy. He was an important and popular member of the Ballynacargy team during the 1950s when they enjoyed some legendary battles with the likes of Athlone and Empor. Although small in stature, he was a fierce competitor, having honed his skills in McGeyr’s Field, which was not a place for the faint-hearted. Although based in Manchester for much of his life, Pat retained a strong interest in his home club and always made a point of going to see them play any time he was home. TOMMY ENNIS (CORALSTOWN) Before emigrating to London as a young man in the 1950s, Tommy had played football with Coralstown. The story is still told of how Tommy – who was a student in Mullingar Vocational School at the time – accidentally kicked a ball through the window of the nearby Courthouse while playing with some of his school friends. The court was in session at the time and Tommy had to assist the gardai with their enquiries! VINCENT MURPHY (CASTLEPOLLARD) Vincent, who died in Dublin on April 26 last, was a brother of former Castlepollard hurlers Michael and Kevin. He was married to Angie and father to Vincent, Barry, Phyllis, Gemma and Angela. BRIAN DELAMERE (THE DOWNS AND MULLINGAR) A long-time member of Westmeath County Council’s engineering department, Brian’s death on Good Friday, April 7 was much regretted by all who knew him. A father of three, he lived in Beechgrove, Mullingar with his wife

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Kathleen. As a young man, he played football for The Downs and represented Westmeath at minor level. As well as being a lifelong supporter of Na Dunta, he was a fluent Irish speaker. WILLIE MALONEY (BALLINAGORE) Willie, who was one of the oldest and most highly thought-of members of the local community, played football and hurling in his younger days. He was also a talented musician and played with the Ballinagore and Kilbeggan bands as a youngster. BERNARD KELLY (MOATE ALL-WHITES) Bernard, who was better known as Bernie, was a stalwart of Moate GAA over many years. He wore the white jersey with distinction before going on to serve as secretary. He sat on the club executive and was honorary vicepresident of the south Westmeath club. DANIEL KENNY (ATHLONE) Daniel’s tragic death, while on holiday in Majorca last July, stunned the people of Athlone. The young mechanic wore Athlone GAA colours from U10 right up to minor. He is sadly missed by his parents Donie and Eileen, brother Jack and sisters Vivienne and Claire. SEAN CASEY (ROSEMOUNT) Sean, whose death occurred last June, wore the famous black and amber jersey of Rosemount for many years. He was married to Mary and was father to four children – Emer, John, Colin and Thomas. JOSEPHINE BOYLAN (CASTLEPOLLARD) The people of Castlepollard were saddened to learn of the death of Josephine (Josie) Boylan on March 14 last. Predeceased by her husband Pat Joe, she was devoted to her family both as a mother and grandmother. Josie took a great interest in the GAA and was a keen supporter of the Castlepollard hurling and camogie clubs, who provided guards of honour at her removal and funeral. DANIEL MCGRATH (RICKARDSTOWN AND DELVIN) Danny had lived in Addinstown, Delvin since 1952, but was a native of nearby Rickardstown, Collinstown. Predeceased by his wife Nancy, he played hurling for the now defunct Rickardstown club and was a cousin of Westmeath’s greatest hurler, John ‘Jobber’ McGrath. In later years, he was a familiar face at Delvin GAA grounds where he collected admissions at games. He served in the position of club treasurer and was also a team mentor for several years. Danny


was known for having an encyclopaedic knowledge of hurling and football. He was also treasurer of the Delvin Hall Committee and the Bord na Mona Ballivor Social Club. PADDY HAUGHEY (RINGTOWN) Paddy, whose death occurred on December 28 last, hurled for Ringtown before emigrating to England. He returned to his native Whitehall almost 30 years ago where he was a muchrespected member of the community. Ringtown hurling club provided a guard of honour at his funeral and a club jersey was placed on the coffin. PADDY O’CONNOR (KILLUCAN) A brilliant musician, Paddy was wellknown on the local Scor scene. Over many years, he gave generously of his time to the different and hugely successful Scor teams which represented The Downs. A ‘button accordion’ specialist who had a great love for Irish culture, his music, recitations and dance accompaniment were always a treat and to the fore in so many of their successes. NICOLA HENSON (GARRYCASTLE) Nicola’s passing at the beginning of 2013 came as a huge shock to everyone associated with the Garrycastle club. The Henson family are synonymous with the club, with Nicola’s brother Karl having featured prominently in last year’s run to the All-Ireland club final. Nicola was a member of the original Garrycastle ladies junior team that formed in 1995 under the management of Bernie Duignan and Michael McCormack. MICHAEL JOHN BOYHAN (RINGTOWN) A respected member of the north Westmeath farming community, Michael John was a lifelong supporter of Ringtown hurling club and was always willing to help out behind the scenes. It was a great source of pride to him that his sons Andrew and John (who still plays) wore the Ringtown colours. A devoted family man who also worked as a truck driver, his other interests included Irish culture, music, song and dance. COLM NEWMAN (THE DOWNS) A resident of The Downs, Colm worked as a chef in Harry’s, Kinnegad and the Beehive (which is situated on the main Mullingar-Delvin Road) before continuing his catering career at Mullingar Regional Hospital. His daughters Laura and Amy are talented camogie and ladies football players with Cullion and St. Loman’s, and it was fitting that both clubs provided guards of honour at his removal from the Cathedral in Mullingar. A minute’s silence was also observed

before the All-Ireland junior camogie championship match between Westmeath and Cavan in Cusack Park following his untimely passing on August 8 last. One of his proudest moments was seeing Laura win an All-Ireland intermediate ladies football championship medal with Westmeath at Croke Park just 10 months earlier. MICHAEL ‘BOILER’ RYAN (TYRRELLSPASS) The passing of 92-year-old Michael on the morning of January 22 last marked the end of an era in Tyrrellspass GAA. Nicknamed ‘The Boiler’ after the great Meath footballer Tommy ‘Boiler’ McGuinness, Michael was a pillar of the community in Tyrrellspass. He ran a successful grocery, fuel and quarry business, and had the honour of becoming the first Lord Mayor of Tyrrellspass in 1979. Michael was a talented footballer and athlete in his younger days. He played minor football for Tyrrellspass and Westmeath in the late 1930s and excelled in the long jump and high jump disciplines. After he finished playing, Michael remained a passionate supporter of Tyrrellspass. He kindly gave the club the use of a field in the 1960s and then in 1974 he sold them the site on which the present pitch was developed two years later. Michael never married, but he had two sisters, Maisy Conway and Lily Malone, and 18 nephews and nieces. JIMMY LYNCH (CULLION) Cullion hurling club lost one of its greatest supporters on December 22 with the passing of Jimmy Lynch. A native of Collinstown, he settled in Knockdrin in the 1960s with his wife Nancy, who was also a huge Cullion and Westmeath fan. Their late son John Joe was a star player for club and county and was later heavily involved in the formation of the St. Oliver Plunkett’s club in Mullingar. John Joe’s sister Marian is married to Kit Sharry, who also played for both Cullion and Westmeath. Their son Paul plays football for St. Loman’s and Westmeath. Jimmy and Nancy supported Cullion from the late 1960s when John Joe began playing for the club’s underage teams. They rarely missed a game and were especially proud when their beloved son won U16, minor and junior championships on the field of play in 1972. A carpenter by trade, Jimmy was one of the many volunteers who put their skills to work in the development of the original Cullion clubhouse. Jimmy and Nancy’s generosity was also reflected in their willingness to transport underage players to and from matches over many years. A guard of honour, led by former chairmen Mick Power and John Bourke, was provided by Cullion club members

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at Jimmy’s removal. RICHIE DEERING (MULLINGAR SHAMROCKS) O’Growney Drive resident Richie was an avid Shamrocks supporter for many years. PAT KELLY (MULTYFARNHAM) Hailing from a well-known GAA family in Multyfarnham, Pat represented both his club and county in football. BRENDAN McCANN (BALLINAGORE AND WATERFORD) A minute’s silence was observed before the recent All-Ireland club football semifinal between St. Brigid’s (Roscommon) and Crossmaglen (Armagh) at Cusack Park for Brendan, who died following a road traffic accident. A retired garda based in Waterford, Brendan was Westmeath football goalkeeper during the 1950s and 1960s. His brother Martin is assistant secretary of Ballinagore GAA club. PAT KELLY (BUNBROSNA AND MULTYFARNHAM) Pat, whose death occurred in February 2013, had an association with both the Bunbrosna and Multyfarnham clubs. He played for Bun’ for many years and also with Westmeath before helping to form the present Multyfarnham club. A guard of honour was provided by both clubs at his removal to Multyfarnham Church. JIM McKNIGHT (BALLYMORE) Jim passed to his eternal reward on May 29 last. He was a member of a well-known GAA family in Ballymore and an avid supporter of the green and golds. MAUREEN HANNIFY (BOHER) Maureen was the beloved wife of longserving Westmeath Scor PRO Johnny, who has won numerous Scor titles himself as a member of the renowned St. Joseph’s Question Time team. MEADHBH O’DONOGHUE (GARRYCASTLE) Garrycastle’s outstanding midfielder Seanie O’Donoghue was bereaved with the passing of his mother Meadhbh earlier this year. A minute’s silence was observed in her memory before the Westmeath v Louth National League clash at Cusack Park. KAY O'CONNELL (ATHLONE) It was with deep regret and a profound sense of loss and sadness that all club members and players learned of the untimely death of Kay O'Connell. While Kay had been in failing health for a number of weeks, the club found it very difficult to come to terms with the fact that they had lost one of their most


loyal and diligent workers. She served on the executive committee of the club for many years and was also a very efficient secretary. At the various functions held in Aras Chiarain over the years, Kay would be the first person to meet you with her friendly smile and the cupan tae, the sandwich, biscuits, dinner or whatever the menu entailed on the night. Every Thursday night when the club held its weekly fundraising bingo and lotto draw she would be very much to the fore greeting the people and running her friendly little shop for the convenience of the large numbers of bingo enthusiasts. When any team wearing her beloved blue and white jersey of Athlone were playing from U10 right up to senior level, Kay would be one of the first people in attendance at the game wherever it was played. Last year she followed the fortunes of the Athlone U14 team on their march to County Feile and championship titles. She was immensely proud of the team and one of her quotes after the final win was that hopefully the senior team would land a county title to run in tandem with the U14 success. We are confident that our senior panel will bring her wishes to fruition in due course. Kay was a very popular and yet a most unassuming individual. She always wanted to remain what she really was, a real unsung hero of the club. She never sought or wanted the limelight in any make, shape or form. Great humanity manifested itself throughout her sporting life and indeed her life in general. All of her sons played with Athlone at every level. In 2004 her son Rory won a Leinster senior football championship medal playing midfield for Westmeath and he was awarded an All Star accolade in 2001. Kay must have felt a very proud mother and a proud Gael. In 1976 along with her great friend, the late Maisie Allen, she founded the Ballymahon Road Community Games. From humble beginnings they travelled all over the country and then on to the National Finals in Mosney, Co. Meath. Their work for the games became the stuff of legend. Of course Kay later became very much instrumental in ensuring that the national finals of the game are now held in Athlone every year at the superb facilities provided by the Athlone Institute of Technology. When blue and white flags, bunting and banners were needed for the various club celebrations down the years such as for La na gClub which was celebrated countrywide in 2009, Kay provided them and meticulously made most of them at her home on her sewing machine. One could fill many pages describing all of her work for the club, but spaces does not allow. She has now passed on to her eternal

reward, her name will always be remembered and shine like a beacon in the annals of Athlone GAA. All in the club say thanks a million times Kay for the many endearing and abiding memories. Slan abhaile our good friend and may the road to heaven rise up before you. The Athlone GAA club wishes to extend its deepest and heartfelt sympathy to her heartbroken husband Christy, sons Diarmuid, Kevin, Paul, David and Rory; sister Helen, to her five daughter-inlaws, grandchildren, relatives and to all her friends in the GAA and the community games nationwide. Go ndeanai Dia trocaire ar an anam. Athlone GAA JOHN GAVIN (CLONMELLON) With regret we record the death of John Gavin of Killua, Clonmellon. John was a dedicated club man who served with distinction on the St. Paul's committee through the years. He was secretary, chairman and county board delegate at various times. He was secretary in 1989 when St. Paul's last won the Intermediate Championship, Indeed he togged out as a sub in Rochfortbridge that very year when we were lacking numbers in a game against St Mary's. John was very much into the development of the underage game. As secretary he looked after all the juvenile teams, from U10 right through to minor. He always attended matches wherever they were played. Aside from football, John was a very affable man who was generous with his time. He was a great conversationalist who loved recounting local history. He was a president of the Delvin Historical Society and the Meath Archaeological and Historical Society. His knowledge enabled him to conduct lectures and lead historical walks throughout the locality. We extend sincere sympathies to his widow Betty, sons John and Patrick, daughter Imelda, son in law/daughter in law, grandchildren, brother in law, sister in law, nieces, nephews, relations; friends and neighbours. John was laid to rest in Clonmellon cemetery November 15th. He was 83 years old. Ar dheis De go raibh a anam. St. Paul’s GAA SHEAMUS McCORMACK (CASTLEPOLLARD) It is with great sadness we report the passing of our friend and club member Sheamus McCormack, Church Street, Castlepollard, on Thursday, February 16, 2012. Sheamus, who was only 46, had bravely battled his illness for the last two years but, sadly, succumbed to it at home surrounded by his family. It is

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testament to his great strength of character and resolve how he came to terms with and indeed met his illness head on, battling it with both dignity and grace right to the end. He grew up in Northampton where his parents, Mary and the late Connie had moved in the early 60's and where he and his family made some lifelong friends. His family returned to Ireland in the 70's, briefly residing in Coole, before moving into what is now McCormacks Bar and Restaurant and were both active and generous supporters of Castlepollard Hurling Club over the years. A carpenter by trade, Sheamus had worked extensively in this country, but also in the UK, the Isle of Man and Australia where he made numerous friends. He had a passion for sport which was evident through his active roles in numerous sporting organisations in the locality. He served as Treasurer of Castlepollard Hurling Club for the last 10 years, and was involved with Cionn Tore Motorcycle Club, McCormacks Golf Society and Ballycomoyle Football Club. He played briefly at underage level with Castlepollard for the U12 and U14's and ditto for Ballycomoyle. He was indeed instrumental in getting the U8 and U10 hurling coaching up and running. A guard of honour was provided by members of Castlepollard Hurling Club, Cionn Tore Motorcycle Club, the Golf Society and Ballycomoyle Football Club while representatives of these clubs helped carry his remains to his final resting place. The large numbers who attended his funeral Mass was testimony to Sheamus's legacy. People travelled from near and far in order to pay their respects. To his wife Helen, his boys Charlie and Alex, his mother, Mary, brother Oliver, sisters Rosa, Sheila and Imelda, relatives and many loyal friends we offer our deepest sympathy and support. Ar dheis De go raibh a anam dilis. (1965-2012) Castlepollard HC JOE MATTHEWS (ST. LOMAN’S) "He will never be replaced" is a common expression in Mullingar. At times it sounds hackneyed but in the case of Joe Matthews, it is so true. When Joe passed away suddenly the general feeling of disbelief was very palpable in Dalton Park where he lived, but none more so, than in his beloved St. Loman's G.A.A. Club. He was, as Chairman Aidan Davitt said at his graveside eulogy, "coach, groundsman, gateman, caterer and fixer of all problems within the club." Way back in the early ‘80s when St. Loman's Mullingar affiliated at


underage, Joe was to the forefront in accommodating the launch of underage football which over the years has turned out to be such a success story. From a club which was weeks from extinction, it rose to what it is today, one of the leading clubs at underage in Leinster. Much of this can be attributed to Joe Matthews. As a coach, he had few equals; his empathy with the young players, his gentle manner and his respect for all players was the hallmark of his coaching. In return he earned the respect of all children of all ages. He had many proud days over the years, most notably when his son, Joe Junior, became the first young lad from the coaching academy to play Senior football with St. Loman's. His beloved daughter Amy gave him many proud days, in particular winning Junior, Intermediate and three Senior Championships in-a-row. Of course Joe's other sons also played with St. Loman's; Stan and Mark and, of them, his youngest son, Conor, played on this year's minor team. Joe and Tess were an inseparable pair and the amount of work they did in the clubhouse would be impossible to quantify, but suffice to say that it would have been impossible to operate without both of them. It would not be possible in such a short space to do justice and recognise the inestimable contribution which Joe made to his club but without doubt the line at the start of this very small tribute rings very true in the case of Joe Matthews. A testament to Joe's popularity was the large crowd that turned out to bid farewell to a lovely guy. Indeed a very poignant moment for all club members, players, adult and underage, came when his funeral cortege stopped at the club gates and in excess of 200 people stood guard of honour and gave Joe one final applause. To his wife, Tess, his sons, Joe, Stan, Mark, Enda and Conor, his daughter, Amy and to his extended family we offer sincere condolences and share in your grief and loss. St. Loman’s GAA THOMAS PENROSE (BALLYNACARGY) It is with sadness that we bid farewell to former footballer, proud supporter and good friend, Thomas Penrose. The Ballintue resident, aged 83,was one of the club's most senior members and gave outstanding service during a lengthy playing career, in an era that presented many different challenges. His talent was equally matched by dedication and former colleagues recalled how he played until he was in

his forties. As a player he was, by all accounts, a fearless competitor, his ability to win aerial possession often admired. A distinguished playing career during the '40s, '50s and into the '60s saw him serve club and county, but it was representing Bal' that arguably gave him greatest satisfaction. He was, after all, a community man at heart. Thomas' footballing ability wasn't lost on his family, for whom he was a tireless worker. His sons were outstanding footballers and it surely filled him with pride to witness their triumphs on the playing field, 1987 perhaps a standout memory. His daughter Irene, also developed a great love for the game and her silken skills left many an opponent scrambling. In a poignant moment during Thomas' beautiful funeral Mass in the packed Church of The Nativity, Ballynacargy, on Christmas Eve, a photograph of him and his brothers, Pat, Robin, Birdy (Richard), Leo, Bill and Jody, all part of a Ballynacargy team, was brought to the altar. Seven brothers playing together on the same team certainly represented a noteworthy achievement and it was one they all appreciated as the years rolled on. Thomas was honoured only recently as a Club President and, for someone who gave such outstanding service, it was certainly richly deserved. The Penrose name has been synonymous with the club for generations now. We offer our sympathy to his sons and daughters, Willie, Tommie, Johnnie, Alan, Kevin, Mary, Martin, Brendan, David and Irene; Thomas' wider family circle and many friends. Ar dheis De go raibh a anam. Ballynacargy GAA JIMMY WALSH (RINGTOWN) Wednesday, December 19 saw the passing of Jimmy Walsh, Whitehall, one of the great characters of our community, and a revered member of Ringtown Hurling Club. Jimmy was one of the main links between past and present Ringtown. He donned the club colours himself in his younger days, only to witness disbandment in the fifties mainly due to emigration. However, his interest in the games never waned and he was an instrumental figure in the revival of Ringtown during the early seventies. One of his many roles was as a selector of the Junior Championship winning team of 1974, along with Paddy Smith and the late Paddy Maxwell. Jimmy took great pride in Ringtown's senior victories of 1980 and 1987, as

he did years earlier watching the famous exploits of his brother Tommy with Ringtown, Westmeath and Leinster, However, Jimmy was a man for all seasons. He remained loyal and steadfast as success ebbed and flowed over seven decades of his life. He was a frequent visitor to the hurling field where he watched the progress of our young players with deep interest. Also, Jimmy was the life and soul of every social event ran by Ringtown. Involved in farming all his life, he was greatly respected by neighbours and work colleagues. At his removal, a large Guard of Honour was provided by Ringtown members, and a club jersey was placed on his coffin. Jimmy Walsh was laid to rest in Whitehall cemetery, a sweet puck of a sliothar from his beloved Ringtown field. To his brothers Tommy, John and Vincent, and all other relatives and friends, we tender our deepest sympathy. Ar dheis De go raibh a anam dilis. Ringtown HC JIM McHUGH (GARRYCASTLE) Last September we were very saddened with the news of the death of our beloved club President, Jim McHugh. Jim had taken a very keen interest in Garrycastle GAA club since the early 1980s, when his eldest son Jim started to play for the club. Jim Junior was a key member of our Under 12 team which brought the first ever underage county title to Garrycastle in 1985 and he went on to win several further honours at underage level. He also played a big part in our Junior success in 1993 and our first and only Intermediate title in 1997. By then younger brother Tom had already made a serious impact, being part of the U-14 team that won the AllIreland Feile in 1995. Tom went on to win a minor title in 1999, U-21 medals in 1999 and 2001, six senior championship medals, a junior award in 2011 and of course the never-to-beforgotten Leinster title last December, Jim Senior took great delight from all these victories and was very proud of the fact that, he was Club President during the most successful period in the club's history. Anyone who called to his house in Ardnagrath over the weekend would have seen evidence of his love for Garrycastle, with several photographs decorating the walls. Ar dheis De go raibh a anam uasal. Garrycastle GAA

We have endeavoured to include all Westmeath Gaels who passed away between the time of publication of last year’s Maroon & White Yearbook and the end of February 2013 when this edition went to press. Every effort has been made to ensure all relevant deaths were included. However, if an omission has been made, we apologise sincerely. Some obituaries are included twice, as they were requested by two clubs. We offer heartfelt condolences to the family and friends of our departed. Thanks to all the clubs who assisted in compiling this year’s obituaries.

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SPECIAL FEATURE

North Leinster Junior ‘A’ finalists against St. Joseph’s, Rochfortbridge

SCHOOL OF EXCELLENCE

T

he multi-million euro construction of a new school building at Athlone Community College will only enhance its reputation as one of the country’s leading football nurseries according to former Westmeath star Joe Fallon, who is a member of the school’s teaching staff. Already an established force in Leinster Colleges football, it seems Athlone Community College will only get stronger in the coming years thanks to the school’s strong emphasis on promoting Gaelic football and the development of a new school building, which will cater for 1,000 students. Work on the new building, which will be three stories high and will make it one of the largest schools in Ireland, got underway last November and is expected to be completed by April 2014. The new school is being delivered under the Public Private Partnership (PPP) model with BAM PPP acting as the main contractors. Indeed, BAM PPP has been awarded a contract by

the Department of Education & Skills for the design, build, finance and maintenance of eight schools nationwide. Athlone Community College is a mixed gender school located on the town’s Retreat Road. The school is attended by 900 pupils and employs more than 70 teachers. Under its Principal Mrs Eileen Donohoe, Athlone Community College is committed to creating an atmosphere of excellence in learning and challenging the pupils to reach their full potential. The school’s ethos encourages a mutual respect for one another where the joy of learning becomes a reciprocal experience. “It’s an exciting time in the school’s history,” enthuses Geography and History teacher Joe Fallon, who was a member of Westmeath’s 2004 Leinster SFC winning panel. “Everyone is going to benefit from the new school, including our football teams. As part of the development, we are getting a new full-size sandbased pitch and a fully-equipped gym. The gym will be a huge addition to us because weight training is now

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part and parcel of a team’s preparation for the Leinster Colleges ‘A’ championship which, in my opinion, is on a par with inter-county minor football. “The new facilities will also mean that we won’t be relying on local clubs for use of their facilities as is the case at the moment. The new building is being developed on the site of our old pitch and gym which means the building work isn’t interfering with the existing school. The new Gaelic and soccer pitches, along with the new gym, will be developed on the site where the current school now stands.” He continues: “The next 12 months or so will be difficult from a training and preparation point of view, but we are fortunate that surrounding GAA clubs like Athlone, Clann na nGael and St. Brigid’s are always willing to accommodate us and allow us to use their facilities. Athlone IT are also very helpful in this regard. In return, we’d like to think that those clubs will be getting back better and fitter young footballers.” While all students are encouraged


to involve themselves in some of the many sports which are catered for by Athlone Community College, there is little doubt that Gaelic football is the number one sport in the school. The sport has flourished in the school since it first competed in the Leinster Colleges SF ‘A’ championship in 2006 after winning back-to-back All-Ireland Vocational Schools junior titles in the preceding two years. “After the success we had in Vocational Schools football, the principal at the time, Val O’Connor, applied to have us entered into the Leinster Colleges ‘A’ championship, where the standard of football is that bit higher. It was an inspired move because Gaelic football has really taken off in the school since then,” explains Athlone clubman Joe, who along with Niall Finneran and Eunan Martin manage the senior team this year. March 9 2008 was a red-letter day for Athlone Community College who, after just two years in the competition, celebrated a first Leinster Colleges SF 'A' championship success following a dramatic win over Franciscan College, Gormanston at Longford's Pearse Park. Four unanswered points against a strong wind in the closing quarter secured an historic 0-10 to 0-9 victory for the Niall Finneran and Chris Ford-managed outfit who brought the prestigious crown to the banks of the Shannon for the first time, and became the first Westmeath school since St. Mary's CBS, Mullingar in 1983 to claim the biggest prize in Leinster Colleges GAA. Athlone were subsequently denied a place in the All-

Athlone CC’s Killian Bannon under preessure from Luke Flynn of St. Mary’s, Edenderry

Ireland final by a strong St. Patrick's Academy, Dungannon team, but they could still look back on a momentous achievement. The success was not only a major boost for Westmeath football, but also for the surrounding counties of Roscommon, Galway and Offaly who were all represented on the panel. The team that started the Leinster final featured 10 Westmeath players and four from Roscommon, while 15year-old Padraig Cunningham from Ballinasloe in Galway made an invaluable contribution by kicking the winning point. Caulry, with five players, had the biggest representation of any club on the starting line-up, while Tubberclair provided the team with its inspirational An image of the new school building at Athlone Community College

Best Wishes To BAM & Athlone Community College, From

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Contact Edward On 087 9733040

133


captain, Ian Coffey, as well as defenders Aonghus Hanna and Jack Byrne. Athlone Community College captured their second North Leinster Colleges League title before Christmas (their first league success preceded the 2008 championship win). Certainly, no effort is being spared as Fallon and co. regularly oversee 7am training sessions and has enlisted the help of well-known physical trainer Paul Buckley, who is attached to Custume Barracks in Athlone. “They are a very honest, committed and talented group of players" says Joe. “We’ve won the North Leinster League and had good wins over Celbridge and Athy in the first two rounds of the championship. We were drawn against reigning All-Ireland champions St Mary's, Edenderry in the quarter final and while we underperformed on the day, Edenderry were worthy three point winners. Ronan Daly shoots for goal in the Leinster Colleges SF ‘A’ championship “We have players from all over south quarter-final against Edenderry Westmeath as well as Roscommon, Galway and launched. The School of Excellence has been twinned with Offaly. Eoin McCormack and Brian Shaughnessy, who are the aforementioned St. Pat’s Academy in Dungannon, Co. both from Ballinasloe, are Galway minors. We have another Tyrone who play Athlone Community College at U14 level seven or eight Roscommon minors and then you have the on a home and away basis every year. The ‘twinning’ is likes of Ray Connellan and Matthew Darling from Athlone, aimed at building on the fine achievements of the school’s Eric Kearney and Ken Dolan from Garrycastle and Michael past-pupils and consolidating its position as one of the McMahon from Caulry representing the Westmeath side.” Donie Shine (Clann na nGael), John Connellan (Athlone), foremost football nurseries in the country. Cathal McHugh (St. Brigid’s), Mark McCallon and Doran Harte(Garrycastle), Ben Moran (Caulry), John Egan Best Wishes to Athlone Community College, from (Athlone) and Ian Coffey (Tubberclair) are among the pastpupils of Athlone Community College who have gone on to play inter-county football in recent years. The school’s commitment to Gaelic football is underlined Blyry Commercial Park, Athlone by the awarding of five bursaries – in partnership with Westmeath VEC and the Westmeath and Roscommon county boards – each year along with the provision of necessary playing gear for all students who partake in the Kieran Hunt Cup. In 2011, an U14 Gaelic Football School of Excellence was

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Joe Fallon in his Westmeath days

134


SPECIAL FEATURE

The Junction 14 Motorway Service Station

MILLTOWNPASS ENGINEERING FUTURE SUCCESS

A

s well as being an ardent Milltownpass clubman, Joe Gorman is also the founder and managing director of JA Gorman Consulting Engineers Ltd. in Mullingar, which is celebrating its 15th anniversary this year. As an underage coach, Joe is well positioned to witness the great work that is being invested in this vibrant young club. He believes the Black & Whites will be challenging for major honours sooner rather than later. Joe Gorman established JA Gorman Consulting Engineers Ltd. in 1998. The business has grown steadily in the meantime and now employs a team of eight, handling all types of projects from commercial,

retail, industrial, petrochemical, residential and legal to education and leisure. A hands-on project development service is offered including feasibility study, planning application, Fire Safety Certification, civil/structural engineering design, Health & Safety advice, contract tendering, project management, cost control and licensing. A London office was set up four years ago and 30% of JA Gorman’s work is now UK-based. Joe is pleased to report that all things considered his business is performing well: “We had a few tough years but it has stabilised fairly well over the last six months or so, to the point where

things are picking up slightly again. The work is steady again, but the sector remains quite slow. Most of our work would be in the midlands but we provide a nationwide service and have worked on projects in Dublin, Donegal, Cork, Limerick etc.” True to form, Joe has overseen a lot of GAA-related work, including projects for Westmeath GAA, Milltownpass, Killucan Mullingar Shamrocks and Tyrrellspass. Was it through his own GAA involvement that he made these contacts? “I suppose the GAA background would be some help but people would know our practice as well and we’d enjoy a very good reputation throughout Westmeath and beyond, so I’d like to think that was the decisive factor.”

Applegreen – Balbriggan, Co. Dublin – M1 Motorway site and truck stop

135


The Milltownpass U14 squad that reached the Division 2 final

Blackriver Developments, Tinnynarr, Edgeworthstown, Co. Longford

O'Brien's Centra & Service Station – Mullingar, Co.Westmeath

NRA Lusk West

Centra Grifeen which JA Gorman worked on

136

Joe started to line out for the then fledgling Milltownpass GAA club as an U14 back in the early ‘eighties. He played through every grade before hanging up the boots six years ago. He played the odd junior game but says his playing career is now well and truly over. The Milltownpass clubman also played schools football with St Joseph’s. Rochfortbridge, lined out for UCD and had the honour of pulling on the county jersey on a number of occasions. He was involved with a number of county underage squads. During the course of his career, Joe was deployed in an array of positions: “I normally played in the backs but I would have played in most positions,” he notes. “I was a midfielder at underage level but then found myself at centre half back. However, I was moved back into the full-back line as I got slower.” Even though Milltownpass was a relatively new club, a host of honours were secured, even if championship glory stubbornly eluded them: “We won Division One, Two and Three leagues as well as a Feis Cup. We got to several championship semifinals – both intermediate and senior – but could never quite get through to the final.” The highlight of his playing career? “Winning the Division One league was very good. Taking that title would have to rank as one of the club’s best-ever achievements. They had won the junior and intermediate championships in 1980 and ’81 and got to a senior semi-final in ’82, just before I started playing. We then won Division One in ’84 and it was great to be involved in that. We also won two intermediate cups and contested three intermediate championship semi-finals, one of which we lost to Tang after a replay. “The club won the JFC in 2010 and I missed out again having retired. So they won championships before and after I played but I never got to win one myself, unfortunately.” Joe went on to serve the club in a variety of capacities, including chairman, and is currently involved as an underage coach (something he has been doing since hanging up his boots). He looked after the U8s last year is is in charge of the U10s this


SPECIAL FEATURE

The Junction 14 Motorway Service Station

MILLTOWNPASS ENGINEERING FUTURE SUCCESS

A

s well as being an ardent Milltownpass clubman, Joe Gorman is also the founder and managing director of JA Gorman Consulting Engineers Ltd. in Mullingar, which is celebrating its 15th anniversary this year. As an underage coach, Joe is well positioned to witness the great work that is being invested in this vibrant young club. He believes the Black & Whites will be challenging for major honours sooner rather than later. Joe Gorman established JA Gorman Consulting Engineers Ltd. in 1998. The business has grown steadily in the meantime and now employs a team of eight, handling all types of projects from commercial,

retail, industrial, petrochemical, residential and legal to education and leisure. A hands-on project development service is offered including feasibility study, planning application, Fire Safety Certification, civil/structural engineering design, Health & Safety advice, contract tendering, project management, cost control and licensing. A London office was set up four years ago and 30% of JA Gorman’s work is now UK-based. Joe is pleased to report that all things considered his business is performing well: “We had a few tough years but it has stabilised fairly well over the last six months or so, to the point where

things are picking up slightly again. The work is steady again, but the sector remains quite slow. Most of our work would be in the midlands but we provide a nationwide service and have worked on projects in Dublin, Donegal, Cork, Limerick etc.” True to form, Joe has overseen a lot of GAA-related work, including projects for Westmeath GAA, Milltownpass, Killucan Mullingar Shamrocks and Tyrrellspass. Was it through his own GAA involvement that he made these contacts? “I suppose the GAA background would be some help but people would know our practice as well and we’d enjoy a very good reputation throughout Westmeath and beyond, so I’d like to think that was the decisive factor.”

Applegreen – Balbriggan, Co. Dublin – M1 Motorway site and truck stop

135


The Milltownpass U14 squad that reached the Division 2 final

Blackriver Developments, Tinnynarr, Edgeworthstown, Co. Longford

O'Brien's Centra & Service Station – Mullingar, Co.Westmeath

NRA Lusk West

Centra Grifeen which JA Gorman worked on

136

Joe started to line out for the then fledgling Milltownpass GAA club as an U14 back in the early ‘eighties. He played through every grade before hanging up the boots six years ago. He played the odd junior game but says his playing career is now well and truly over. The Milltownpass clubman also played schools football with St Joseph’s. Rochfortbridge, lined out for UCD and had the honour of pulling on the county jersey on a number of occasions. He was involved with a number of county underage squads. During the course of his career, Joe was deployed in an array of positions: “I normally played in the backs but I would have played in most positions,” he notes. “I was a midfielder at underage level but then found myself at centre half back. However, I was moved back into the full-back line as I got slower.” Even though Milltownpass was a relatively new club, a host of honours were secured, even if championship glory stubbornly eluded them: “We won Division One, Two and Three leagues as well as a Feis Cup. We got to several championship semifinals – both intermediate and senior – but could never quite get through to the final.” The highlight of his playing career? “Winning the Division One league was very good. Taking that title would have to rank as one of the club’s best-ever achievements. They had won the junior and intermediate championships in 1980 and ’81 and got to a senior semi-final in ’82, just before I started playing. We then won Division One in ’84 and it was great to be involved in that. We also won two intermediate cups and contested three intermediate championship semi-finals, one of which we lost to Tang after a replay. “The club won the JFC in 2010 and I missed out again having retired. So they won championships before and after I played but I never got to win one myself, unfortunately.” Joe went on to serve the club in a variety of capacities, including chairman, and is currently involved as an underage coach (something he has been doing since hanging up his boots). He looked after the U8s last year is is in charge of the U10s this


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138


time around. Two of his children are playing juvenile football with Milltownpass: Sadhbh plays U8s and U10s, while Liam lines out with the U12s and U14s.” Looking to the future, Joe is confident that Milltownpass – who collected the 2010 Division 4 MFC – have a bright future at underage level: “We have a really strong underage set-up with some very good people involved and reasonable numbers. “We were punching above our weight these last couple of years and got to an U14 Division Two final last year against Ballynacargy and we were strong from minor and U16 right down to our U12s, who only lost twice all year, to Shamrocks and Maryland/Tang. That’s very good going for a club that’s drawing its players from a village with a population of only two or three hundred people.” Joe also believes Milltownpass can kick on at adult level in the coming years and is confident that they have the right blend of youth and experience at their disposal to push for a place in senior football again: “After winning the JFC, we had a great run to the Leinster junior club championship semi-final, where they were beaten by Ballinabrackey from Meath.

Milltownpass celebrate their 2010 JFC win

Rock 'n' Bowl, Mullingar

“They didn’t perform up to scratch in last year’s Westmeath intermediate championship but it will take them a bit of time to find their feet. Once they do, there is plenty of potential coming through and I think they’ll have a very good blend of youth and experience in the next five years to have a good crack at the intermediate. The work is going in and we have the talent, so I think there should be m o r e silverware on the way.”

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139


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138


time around. Two of his children are playing juvenile football with Milltownpass: Sadhbh plays U8s and U10s, while Liam lines out with the U12s and U14s.” Looking to the future, Joe is confident that Milltownpass – who collected the 2010 Division 4 MFC – have a bright future at underage level: “We have a really strong underage set-up with some very good people involved and reasonable numbers. “We were punching above our weight these last couple of years and got to an U14 Division Two final last year against Ballynacargy and we were strong from minor and U16 right down to our U12s, who only lost twice all year, to Shamrocks and Maryland/Tang. That’s very good going for a club that’s drawing its players from a village with a population of only two or three hundred people.” Joe also believes Milltownpass can kick on at adult level in the coming years and is confident that they have the right blend of youth and experience at their disposal to push for a place in senior football again: “After winning the JFC, we had a great run to the Leinster junior club championship semi-final, where they were beaten by Ballinabrackey from Meath.

Milltownpass celebrate their 2010 JFC win

Rock 'n' Bowl, Mullingar

“They didn’t perform up to scratch in last year’s Westmeath intermediate championship but it will take them a bit of time to find their feet. Once they do, there is plenty of potential coming through and I think they’ll have a very good blend of youth and experience in the next five years to have a good crack at the intermediate. The work is going in and we have the talent, so I think there should be m o r e silverware on the way.”

Best Wishes To Joe Gorman The Rocks, Crossdoney, Co. Cavan Office Tel: 049 43 37390 Fax: 049 43 37400 Email: jraconstruction@eircom.net Our Portfolio includes: • Design & Build Contractor • General Building Contractor • Civil Engineering • Commercial & Industrial Building • Shop/Commercial Fitout • House Building • Renovations/Extensions • Restoration of Historic Buildings • Agricultural Buildings • Schools & Colleges • Plant Hire

Continued Best Wishes To JA Gorman, From

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The recently constructed Milltownpass Community Centre

139


ENDA MULVIHILL Enda Mulvihill comes under pressure in the drawn All-Ireland club SFC final against Crossmaglen Rangers

PLENTY TO MUL’ OVER

G

arrycastle are determined

October,

most

“I realise that a number of us aren’t

to put the disappointment

successful club of the past decade

getting any younger, but we have a

Westmeath’s

of losing an All-Ireland club

faces a huge challenge to regain the

lot of good players coming through –

final replay and their county and

Flanagan Cup in 2013. Given their

the likes of James Dolan, Justin

provincial

them,

high age profile and the amount of

Barrett, Eoin Monaghan and Sean

according to long-serving defender

miles they have on the clock, it’s

Brennan – who can help to keep us at

Enda Mulvihill.

tempting to write them off, but this is

the top for another while yet. We

Garrycastle we’re talking about and

could have no complaints after losing

the recent appointment of former

to Shamrocks last year. They were

Garrycastle can bounce back from

Clare

Kilmurry-Ibrickane

extremely hungry and they showed

the double heartbreak of losing last

supremo Micheal McDermott as their

that by coming from nine points down

year’s All-Ireland and county football

new manager would indicate they are

in the drawn county final. We were

finals after replays.

ready for the hard road again.

lucky to get the replay in the end.”

crowns

behind

The veteran player is confident that

and

Mulvihill

says

McDermott’s

Having been denied a four-in-a-row

“We certainly feel there’s more

of county titles by an emerging

county championships left in us,”

appointment as successor to Paul

Mullingar

Mulvihill maintains.

Clancy is a clear statement of intent

Shamrocks

team

last

140


by the Athlone-based club. And he

winning last year. Loman’s are strong

playing career has run parallel to the

believes he and his team-mates will

too, Maryland are improving and

most period in Garrycastle’s history. I

have benefited greatly from having

Athlone are coming again. We were

was on the panel when we won the

had the winter off after an exhaustive

lucky to draw with Bunbrosna last

intermediate championship in 1997.

2011/2012.

year and that just goes to show there

The following year, I made my senior

“It’s great that we’re able to attract a

are no easy games. We have a

championship

manager of that calibre,” the 34-year-

chance to prove we can still do it and

Castledaly in Pairc Chairain, which

old defender continues.

to redeem ourselves after last year.”

also happened to be Garrycastle’s

debut

against

“It reflects the ambition and intent of

Mulvihill admits last year’s All-

the club. Micheal brought Kilmurry-

Ireland final loss still rankles with him.

“We’ve been very successful since

Ibrickane to an All-Ireland club final in

“It was a missed opportunity,” he

then. We have an exceptional group

2010 and Clare to their first Munster

ruefully reflects.

first ever senior match.

of players who I’ve been privileged to

final in 20 years last year. He wouldn’t

“You don’t get many chances like

play alongside. It would be easy to

be coming up from Clare if he didn’t

that and when you do, you have to

walk away from it at this stage, but

make sure you take them. We should

you never grow tired of winning and I

have won the first day, but didn’t

don’t think this team is finished

close it out and Crossmaglen came

winning yet.”

think we were capable of mounting another All-Ireland challenge. “The batteries are recharged now and we’re ready to go again. It’s easy to forget that we had virtually no break between the 2011 and 2012 championships. Three weeks after we lost the All-Ireland final replay to Crossmaglen, we were straight back into it again against Tyrrellspass in the

first

round

of

championship.

the

In

county contrast,

Crossmaglen had three months off. Fatigue was a big problem for us, but it won’t be an excuse this year.” The manager

business is

in

development no

doubt

that

Garrycastle can scale the same heights as they did when they came

back to get the draw. In fairness to

A cousin of star Garrycastle forward

them, they put us under a lot of

Paddy Mulvihill, Enda was a member

pressure in the last 15 minutes and it

of Westmeath’s 1999 All-Ireland U21

was difficult to hold out.“At the time,

winning panel, but didn’t play senior

we didn’t feel we had left it behind

for his county after that.

and we were actually quite bullish

“It’s been a great time to play

leaving Croke Park that evening. But

football

it all went horribly wrong for us in the

produced our best minor, U21 and

replay. Whereas 12 or 13 of us had

senior teams since 1995. But one of

played well in Croke Park, none of us

the drawbacks of playing during that

played well in Cavan. Unfortunately,

era is the competition has been the

we can’t turn back the clock now. We

competition you’re up against. Maybe

can only hope that we will get the

if I was playing in a different era I

chance again.”

might have got a run with the county

Part

of

Garrycastle’s

golden

in

Westmeath.

We’ve

seniors. For the past 15 years or so,

generation, Enda has enjoyed a

however,

Westmeath club to lift the Andy

hugely successful career which has

blessed with good defenders,” he

Merrigan Cup at Croke Park on St.

yielded six Westmeath SFC medals,

explains.

Patrick’s Day 2012.

one Leinster club SFC medal, county

An engineer by profession, Enda

“We definitely can get back up to

IFC, MFC and U21FC mementos as

has been employed as a business

that level again. If you win your

well as league and Feis Cup honours.

development manager with Harmac

county championship, you are only

Not surprisingly, he feels privileged to

Medical Products since last October.

three or four games away from a

be part of a great Garrycastle team

Based in Castlerea, Co. Roscommon

Leinster. Look at our near-neighbours

which has dominated the football

and Buffalo, New York, Harmac’s

St. Brigid’s – they’re after coming

landscape in the Lake County since

managing director is former Athlone

back strongly from their All-Ireland

2001 and appeared in two Leinster

and

semi-final defeat to us last year.

finals in 2009 and 2011, winning the

McEnroe. An uncle of Dessie Dolan,

within a whisker of becoming the first

Westmeath

Westmeath

has

footballer

been

Mick

“Our number one goal for this year

latter at the expense of Dublin

Mick is one of a select band of

is to win back the county title. That

kingpins St. Brigid’s. And they broke

players to have represented the

won’t be an easy task when you

further new ground for Westmeath

county in goal and outfield.

consider

clubs when they reached the All-

how

strong

Mullingar

Shamrocks are. They will have gained a lot of confidence from

Ireland final last year. “I’ve been very lucky in that my

141

Enda is married to Dublin-based solicitor Ruth and the couple are expecting their first child in July.


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140


ENDA MULVIHILL Enda Mulvihill comes under pressure in the drawn All-Ireland club SFC final against Crossmaglen Rangers

PLENTY TO MUL’ OVER

G

arrycastle are determined

October,

most

“I realise that a number of us aren’t

to put the disappointment

successful club of the past decade

getting any younger, but we have a

Westmeath’s

of losing an All-Ireland club

faces a huge challenge to regain the

lot of good players coming through –

final replay and their county and

Flanagan Cup in 2013. Given their

the likes of James Dolan, Justin

provincial

them,

high age profile and the amount of

Barrett, Eoin Monaghan and Sean

according to long-serving defender

miles they have on the clock, it’s

Brennan – who can help to keep us at

Enda Mulvihill.

tempting to write them off, but this is

the top for another while yet. We

Garrycastle we’re talking about and

could have no complaints after losing

the recent appointment of former

to Shamrocks last year. They were

Garrycastle can bounce back from

Clare

Kilmurry-Ibrickane

extremely hungry and they showed

the double heartbreak of losing last

supremo Micheal McDermott as their

that by coming from nine points down

year’s All-Ireland and county football

new manager would indicate they are

in the drawn county final. We were

finals after replays.

ready for the hard road again.

lucky to get the replay in the end.”

crowns

behind

The veteran player is confident that

and

Mulvihill

says

McDermott’s

Having been denied a four-in-a-row

“We certainly feel there’s more

of county titles by an emerging

county championships left in us,”

appointment as successor to Paul

Mullingar

Mulvihill maintains.

Clancy is a clear statement of intent

Shamrocks

team

last

141


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by the Athlone-based club. And he

winning last year. Loman’s are strong

playing career has run parallel to the

believes he and his team-mates will

too, Maryland are improving and

most period in Garrycastle’s history. I

have benefited greatly from having

Athlone are coming again. We were

was on the panel when we won the

had the winter off after an exhaustive

lucky to draw with Bunbrosna last

intermediate championship in 1997.

2011/2012.

year and that just goes to show there

The following year, I made my senior

“It’s great that we’re able to attract a

are no easy games. We have a

championship

manager of that calibre,” the 34-year-

chance to prove we can still do it and

Castledaly in Pairc Chairain, which

old defender continues.

to redeem ourselves after last year.”

also happened to be Garrycastle’s

debut

against

“It reflects the ambition and intent of

Mulvihill admits last year’s All-

the club. Micheal brought Kilmurry-

Ireland final loss still rankles with him.

“We’ve been very successful since

Ibrickane to an All-Ireland club final in

“It was a missed opportunity,” he

then. We have an exceptional group

2010 and Clare to their first Munster

ruefully reflects.

first ever senior match.

of players who I’ve been privileged to

final in 20 years last year. He wouldn’t

“You don’t get many chances like

play alongside. It would be easy to

be coming up from Clare if he didn’t

that and when you do, you have to

walk away from it at this stage, but

make sure you take them. We should

you never grow tired of winning and I

have won the first day, but didn’t

don’t think this team is finished

close it out and Crossmaglen came

winning yet.”

think we were capable of mounting another All-Ireland challenge. “The batteries are recharged now and we’re ready to go again. It’s easy to forget that we had virtually no break between the 2011 and 2012 championships. Three weeks after we lost the All-Ireland final replay to Crossmaglen, we were straight back into it again against Tyrrellspass in the

first

round

of

championship.

the

In

county contrast,

Crossmaglen had three months off. Fatigue was a big problem for us, but it won’t be an excuse this year.” The manager

business is

in

development no

doubt

that

Garrycastle can scale the same heights as they did when they came

back to get the draw. In fairness to

A cousin of star Garrycastle forward

them, they put us under a lot of

Paddy Mulvihill, Enda was a member

pressure in the last 15 minutes and it

of Westmeath’s 1999 All-Ireland U21

was difficult to hold out.“At the time,

winning panel, but didn’t play senior

we didn’t feel we had left it behind

for his county after that.

and we were actually quite bullish

“It’s been a great time to play

leaving Croke Park that evening. But

football

it all went horribly wrong for us in the

produced our best minor, U21 and

replay. Whereas 12 or 13 of us had

senior teams since 1995. But one of

played well in Croke Park, none of us

the drawbacks of playing during that

played well in Cavan. Unfortunately,

era is the competition has been the

we can’t turn back the clock now. We

competition you’re up against. Maybe

can only hope that we will get the

if I was playing in a different era I

chance again.”

might have got a run with the county

Part

of

Garrycastle’s

golden

in

Westmeath.

We’ve

seniors. For the past 15 years or so,

generation, Enda has enjoyed a

however,

Westmeath club to lift the Andy

hugely successful career which has

blessed with good defenders,” he

Merrigan Cup at Croke Park on St.

yielded six Westmeath SFC medals,

explains.

Patrick’s Day 2012.

one Leinster club SFC medal, county

An engineer by profession, Enda

“We definitely can get back up to

IFC, MFC and U21FC mementos as

has been employed as a business

that level again. If you win your

well as league and Feis Cup honours.

development manager with Harmac

county championship, you are only

Not surprisingly, he feels privileged to

Medical Products since last October.

three or four games away from a

be part of a great Garrycastle team

Based in Castlerea, Co. Roscommon

Leinster. Look at our near-neighbours

which has dominated the football

and Buffalo, New York, Harmac’s

St. Brigid’s – they’re after coming

landscape in the Lake County since

managing director is former Athlone

back strongly from their All-Ireland

2001 and appeared in two Leinster

and

semi-final defeat to us last year.

finals in 2009 and 2011, winning the

McEnroe. An uncle of Dessie Dolan,

within a whisker of becoming the first

Westmeath

Westmeath

has

footballer

been

Mick

“Our number one goal for this year

latter at the expense of Dublin

Mick is one of a select band of

is to win back the county title. That

kingpins St. Brigid’s. And they broke

players to have represented the

won’t be an easy task when you

further new ground for Westmeath

county in goal and outfield.

consider

clubs when they reached the All-

how

strong

Mullingar

Shamrocks are. They will have gained a lot of confidence from

Ireland final last year. “I’ve been very lucky in that my

143

Enda is married to Dublin-based solicitor Ruth and the couple are expecting their first child in July.


SHINTY

Ireland captain Eoin Price lifts the Hurling/Shinty International Series trophy

LOCAL PLAYERS TO THE FORE IN HURLING/SHINTY SUCCESS

W

estmeath was well represented on the Ireland senior and U21 teams which swept to victory over Scotland in the annual hurling/shinty internationals last October. Eoin Price had the honour of captaining the senior side to victory over the two tests which were played in Inverness and Ennis. His Clonkill club-mate Brendan Murtagh – who is a veteran of the series at this stage – scored 2-3 in the second test as Ireland secured a 8-11 to 4-3 victory.

The Irish team also featured Castletown-Geoghegan’s Joe Clarke and Kilbeggan native Shane Fennell, who played all his underage hurling with Castletown before his job as a detective garda took him to Louth. Shane, whose younger twins brothers Paul and David are members of the Westmeath hurling panel, is the current Louth captain and was selected on the Nicky Rackard Cup ‘Champion 15’ team last year. The Irish U21s also defeated their

142

Scottish counterparts with rising Westmeath star Niall O’Brien helping himself to two goals in the second test at the St. Joseph’s DooraBarefield grounds in Co. Clare. The Castletown-Geoghegan sharpshooter commented: “It was a great team display and great to be involved in it. The Scottish lads put it up to us well and they got a goal and a point straight after half-time and I thought it would be hard for us to come back after that, but thankfully we dug deep to carve out a victory.”


LAKESIDE LEGENDS

At the launch of Lakeside Legends were, l/r: Gerry Buckley, Aileen Lawlor, Liam O’Neill and Paddy Flanagan

‘LAKESIDE LEGENDS’ LAUNCHED

G

AA president Liam O’Neill was in Mullingar on November 29 last to launch Gerry Buckley’s latest book, ‘Lakeside Legends’. Leinster Council chairman Martin Skelly, Camogie Association president Aileen Lawlor, Most Rev Dr Michael Smith, Bishop of Meath, Westmeath county board chairman Tom Farrell and Westmeath football manager Pat Flanagan were among the large crowd who attended the launch at the Annebrook House Hotel. The book, which retails at just €10, contains 504 pages of facts, figures and team photographs relating to Westmeath GAA stretching from the 1890s up to October 31 of last year. Westmeath’s inter-county results in all grades of league and championship and county senior champions for the first 75 years (up to 1959) are chronicled, as are all senior team results, dates, venues and lineouts in league and championship, with scorers for both Westmeath and the opposing teams, from 1960 onwards. Dates, venues and results of Westmeath teams in minor, U21, intermediate and junior championship

action are also listed from 1960 to date. Addressing guests, Westmeath GAA fanatic Gerry said: “I’ve called this book ‘Lakeside Legends’ because to me, anyone who’s played for Westmeath is legendary. I would have slept in a bed of nails to have been good enough to play for Westmeath. “I hadn’t the ability, but it didn’t stop me supporting Westmeath with a passion all my life.” In complimenting Gerry on his work, GAA president Liam O’Neill said: “When it was first put to me that this

book was going to be launched, and that it was a book about Lakeside or Westmeath heroes, somebody in my company was unkind enough to say that that book ‘won’t be too big’. “So I had to stand up and say that certainly, I expected it to be a very large book and a very worthwhile book. I’m delighted to be proven right here tonight.” ‘Lakeside Legends’ is Gerry’s fourth book, following on from his ‘Millennium Handbook of Westmeath Gaelic Games’, which was launched in 2000, ’50 Years of the Hogan Cup’ and ’55 Years of the Croke Cup’.

At the book launch in the Annebrook House Hotel were, l/r: Seamus O Faolain, Liam O’Neill, Aidan Davitt, Gerry Buckley, Bishop Michael Smith and Bertie Dunne

143


SPECIAL FEATURE The team at Technical Engineering Group

ENGINEERING A RETURN TO COMPETITIVENESS

I

n 2013, The Downs will be managed by Tommy Kelly, a longserving member of the club who began his GAA career with the famous St Brigid’s of Roscommon. Tommy – who is the founder of Technical Engineering Group – has set himself a target of making the erstwhile county kingpins competitive once more. Through his business ventures, Tommy Kelly has demonstrated that he possesses a winning touch. If he can transfer that acumen into his role as manager of The Downs senior footballers, then the club can look forward to the 2013 season with optimism. Off the field, Tommy established Technical Engineering Group (TEG) in 2003, specialising in precision components for the pharmaceutical and aerospace industries. Why did he get involved in such a high-tech

industry? “It was just a business choice I made. I had worked in the pharmaceutical sector and had built up some contacts. That led to us producing equipment and I built the

company up from there. We decided to diversify into the aeronautical industry – another highly-regulated sector – and we have never looked back.” TEG is a significant employer in the

Technical Engineering Group specialises in precision components, l/r: Ciaran Kiely, Tommy Kelly, Anthony Carey, John Hunt, Niall Nolan

144


The Downs 2005 SFC winning squad

Mullingar area, providing key employment in these dark economic times – a huge boost to the local economy: “We employ 75 people on-site and that number is increasing,” he reveals. “Most of these would be highend jobs – design engineers, mechanical engineers, toolmakers, CNC machinists etc. Many of them are trained in-house and we also have associations with Queen’s University, DIT, UCD, Athlone IT and FAS in Athlone. The recession has not affected the company. To the contrary, Technical Engineering Group is thriving. “Business is buoyant and there is great demand for our products,” Tommy confirms. “Traditionally, Ireland would be renowned for its expertise in the pharmaceutical

The 1964 JFC winners

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145


getting dragged into relegation battles.” Whereas The Downs have been looking over their shoulders in recent seasons, Tommy intends to make them into a force again: “Our first target is to be competitive in the league and hopefully to get ourselves into the shake-up for promotion from Division Two. We would also be hoping to get to a SFC quarter-final at the minimum.” Originally from the St Brigid’s club in Roscommon, Tommy was introduced to The Downs by the late Brian Delamere. That was during the early 1980s and he was 17 at the time. “The transport infrastructure wasn’t what it is now and, besides, I didn’t have a car anyway, so I had to find a new club and Brian brought me to The Downs,” he reflects. The Roscommon man played senior football with The Downs for a number of years, winning a few league medals as well as some ‘B’ honours. He still offers his services for the third team on occasion but, at 47, has effectively retired from competitive fare for over a decade. Since hanging up his boots, so to speak, Tommy has continued to serve the club behind the scenes. For example, in 2003 and 2005, when the SFC was annexed, he was part of the management team, with Ray Smith, Aiden McGuire, Seamus Conroy, Brian Murtagh and Eunan McCormick. “I’ve been involved with the senior squad on numerous occasions since, including last year, when I was a selector. We had brought in an outside manager but I ended up taking over and luckily we avoided the relegation final with an against-the-odds victory over St Malachy’s. I’ve also been involved with the U21s, so I have a fair idea of the talent in the club and I agreed to give it a go this year.” Managing a senior club team represents a massive undertaking, particularly for an individual running a successful company. For example, the week Tommy was interviewed, he was working with the team six nights! Obviously, he wouldn’t have taken the position unless he believed there was potential in the team to achieve progress: “We have some good young footballers coming through at the moment and the fact that they survived last year, they will learn a lot from that. We know we are not

Championship winners all, from top: 1970, 1972 and 1980

sector but we are setting a trend in the aeronautical sector. 80% of our products would be exported.” In its capacity as a local business, Technical Engineering always goes out of his way each year to provide some form of sponsorship to the local GAA, soccer and rugby clubs. But it is the GAA club – The Downs – that is closest to his heart: “I will manage the club’s seniors in 2013 and the goal is to get them back to the top table, challenging for honours again. We haven’t been competitive in recent years and we want to be challenging for silverware rather than

The Downs side that claimed the 1968 Westmeath SFC

146


The junior champions of 1934

The men who won silverware in 1917, pictured 52 years later in 1969

at the level of Mullingar Shamrocks or Garrycastle but this year will take us a step closer. “We have a two- or three-year plan to be back competitive again. We want to challenge for honours again and to restore pride in the jersey. You can lose that pride very quickly and I believe that’s one of the problems in the club at present. Tommy’s love of The Downs is very much a family affair, with the entire Kelly family involved in the local GAA club. His wife Geraldine serves on the Bingo committee and his eldest daughter Laura (19) would have played junior with the club. Mark (16) is making great progress with the minors and is also on the Mullingar CBS ‘A’ team, while Clodagh (12) is also playing juvenile ladies football. Based at Forest Park, Mullingar Business Park, Technical Engineering Group provides technical, design and related services in the development of complex tooling. Precision engineers supply regulated companies in the pharmaceutical, aeronautical and medical device sectors across Europe through two main divisions: the TechnicalPharma division and the TechnicalTransport division. Pharmaceutical tooling is designed, manufactured, assembled, installed and validated to ISO 9001:2008 standards, while Technical Engineering Group is also certified by the European Aviation Safety Agency. The company boasts vast experience and expertise in the development of complex tooling and precision engineering, investing in the latest design and manufacturing techniques and applying internationallyrecognised standards to all processes. Its main customer base is in the UK, Ireland, Germany, France, Switzerland, Holland, Belgium, Spain, Italy, Israel and Poland but products are exported to a worldwide market.

Wishing Every Success To TECHNICAL ENGINEERING GROUP

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The U14 boys squad

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The Downs All-Ireland Feile girls squad

147


HURLING TEAM OF THE YEAR

HURLING TEAM OF THE YEAR overn 1. Shane McG n ga E 2. Thomas lle vi re 3. Paul G an 4. Conor Jord dall ow D dy ad P 5. ormack cC 6. Darren M in av G 7. Noel 8. Joe Clarke 9. Eoin Price ara 10. Barry O’M le oy B k 11. Fran urtagh M an nd re 12. B 13. Dan Carty w 14. John Sha n rie ’B O 15. Niall

d) (Crookedwoo ) ill nk lo (C (Raharney) (Raharney) (Clonkill) ) (Castlepollard nkett’s) lu P (St. Oliver eoghegan) G nw to (Castle (Clonkill) d) (Crookedwoo y) (Raharne (Clonkill) Gaels) (Lough Lene (Raharney) eoghegan) (Castletown-G

2. THOMAS EGAN (CLONKILL): The future looks bright for Clonkill with Egan, Kelvin Reilly, Alan McGrath, Niall Dowdall, Anthony Price and Cathal Scally all winning senior and U21 championship medals last year. Egan excelled in a new-look Clonkill full back line, and can be pleased with keeping Raharney’s Cormac Boyle scoreless in the final. A player with a big future ahead of him. Honourable mentions: Stephen McManus (St. Oliver Plunkett’s), Tony Doyle (Raharney), Paul Fennell (Castletown-Geoghegan).

1. SHANE MCGOVERN (CROOKEDWOOD): 2012 was a memorable year for the young custodian who established himself as Westmeath’s number one and was a key figure in Crookedwood’s first intermediate championship triumph since 2005. There was strong competition for this position with the likes of Pat Burke, Jimmy Greville, Stephen Nulty, Paddy Maloney and Brian Conaty all considered. Honourable mentions: Pat Burke (Ringtown), Paddy Maloney (Castletown-Geoghegan), Jimmy Greville (Raharney).

3. PAUL GREVILLE (RAHARNEY): The dual star and Raharney captain was the standout full back in last year’s championship and looks set to occupy the same position on the county team in 2013 after operating further out the field last year. Greville is a magnificent hurler who can always be counted on to give his all. Honourable mentions: John Fagan (Clonkill), Tommy Doyle (Lough Lene Gaels), Emmett Dalton (CastletownGeoghegan).

4. CONOR JORDAN (RAHARNEY): Jordan makes our selection for a second successive year after another outstanding season. Wore the number six jersey for Raharney last year, but we’ve picked him in his county position. Like Greville, he’s a man you’d want to have in your team when the going gets tough. Honourable mentions: Enda Murray (Crookedwood), Eamon Og Clarke (Castletown-Geoghegan), Tommy Gallagher (Castlepollard).

5. PADDY DOWDALL (CLONKILL): Captained the county side last year before going on to win his fifth Examiner Cup, Paddy remains an inspirational figure in the Clonkill half back line. Will be a big loss to Westmeath in the coming season after he opted off the panel due to work commitments. Honourable mentions: Ronan Whelan (Castletown-Geoghegan), Philip Gilsenan (Brownstown), Mark Keegan (Clonkill).

148


7. NOEL GAVIN (ST. OLIVER PLUNKETT’S):

6. DARREN MCCORMACK (CASTLEPOLLARD): Injuries may have forced him to bring the curtain down on his 15year intercounty career in 2012, but there is no disputing the fact that McCormack remains one of the top players in the county. He produced arguably the performance of the championship in ‘Pollard’s narrow quarter-final defeat to Clonkill when he was prominent at both ends of the field and finished with a personal tally of 2-4.

Even at 34, the oldest of the Gavin brothers continues to play out of his skin. Noel won two Christy Ring Cups during his inter-county career which spanned from 1997 to 2009, but would probably swap those for a senior championship medal with his beloved Plunkett’s. A fierce competitor and a gentleman off the field he is a great example to any young player. Honourable mentions: Paul Fennell (Castletown-Geoghegan), Adam Price (Clonkill), Brian Connaughton (Raharney).

8. JOE CLARKE (CASTLETOWN-GEOGHEGAN): The new Westmeath vicecaptain has been rejuvenated since returning from London. A member of one of the Lake County’s best-known hurling families Joe’s leadership qualities will be invaluable to a young Castletown team in their bid to win a first senior championship since 2004.

Honourable mentions: Andrew Mitchell (Clonkill), John Gilligan (Fr. Dalton’s), Alan Aughey (Turin).

9. EOIN PRICE (CLONKILL): One of three brothers on the Clonkill team, Eoin is fast b e c o m i n g Westmeath’s most important player (his appointment as captain would seem to back this up). While he’s not the biggest of players, Price is a superb leader who captained both Clonkill and Ireland to glory in 2012. Was also man of the match in the county final.

The young sharpshooter posted some big scores in the ‘Wood’s capture of the intermediate championship last year. O’Mara is an excellent free-taker who is sure to figure in Westmeath manager Brian Hanley’s plans this year.

Honourable mentions: Kieran Martin (Fr. Dalton’s), Aonghus Clarke (CastletownGeoghegan), Niall Flanagan (Raharney).

Honourable mentions: Cathal Scally (Clonkill), Andrew Dermody (Castlepollard), Colum Mackey (Fr. Dalton’s).

Honourable mentions: Robbie Greville (Raharney), Stephen Quinn (St. Brigid’s), Shane Power (Clonkill).

10. BARRY O’MARA (CROOKEDWOOD):

HURLING TEAM OF THE YEAR 149


HURLING TEAM OF THE YEAR 11. FRANK BOYLE (RAHARNEY): The third Raharney man to feature on our team, Frank made a successful transition from county footballer to county hurler in 2012. Now teaching in England, Raharney and Westmeath fans will be hoping the strong-running centre forward will be back to assist them once the summer holidays arrive.

12. BRENDAN MURTAGH (CLONKILL). An easy choice this one, the Clonkill talisman enjoyed another excellent season which saw him rack up 0-32 in six championship outings. Murtagh has been indispensable to Westmeath for more than a decade, but it looks as though he won’t be involved in 2013 which is a great pity. Honourable mentions: Chris Flanagan (Raharney), Alan Mangan (Castletown-Geoghegan), Patrick Farrington (Delvin).

13. DAN CARTY (LOUGH LENE GAELS): Along with Derek McNicholas, Dan has been the Gaels’ leading marksman over the past number of years. He has a great eye for a score and should be back to spearhead the Collinstown attack come the championship after undergoing surgery recently.

Honourable mentions: Alan McGrath (Clonkill), Derek McNicholas (Lough Lene Gaels), Aaron Craig (St. Oliver Plunkett’s).

14. JOHN SHAW (RAHARNEY): Now the elder statesman of the Westmeath team, John finished as top scorer in last year’s senior championship with a whopping 4-32 to his credit. The 2005 Christy Ring Cup winning captain is playing as well as ever and Raharney will look to him in their quest to regain the Examiner Cup this year. Honourable mentions: John Dooley (St. Oliver Plunkett’s), Alan Devine (Castlepollard), Johnny Orme (Crookedwood).

Honourable mentions: Alan Devine (Castlepollard), Luke Loughlin (Clonkill), Cian O’Leary (St. Oliver Plunkett’s)

15. NIALL O’BRIEN (CASTLETOWN-GEOGHEGAN): While Castletown were a major disappointment in their championship semi-final defeat to Clonkill, no Team of the Year would be complete without this teenage sensation. A nephew of new Wexford football manager Aidan O’Brien, Niall showed what a class act he is by scoring 2-7 against All-Ireland runnersup Galway in last year’s Leinster championship. Honourable mentions: Killian Murphy (Delvin), Kevin Brazil (Castlepollard), Kieran ‘Bomber’ Daly (St. Brigid’s)

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SPECIAL FEATURE Kepak Group Livestock Procurement Manager Jonathan Forbes

KEPAK GROUP PROUD OF ITS GAA LINKS

T

he Kepak Group has always enjoyed a special relationship with the GAA as Group Livestock Procurement Manager and former Westmeath hurler Jonathan Forbes explains. The Kepak Group and the GAA go back a long way. For over 15 years, the Clonee, Co.Meath-headquartered company sponsored the Meath football team and they have continued to support the GAA at local level, with Kilbeggan/St. Joseph’s underage, Dunnamaggin (Kilkenny), Killavilla (Offaly) and Belmont (Offaly) among the clubs who currently sport the iconic Kepak logo on their jerseys. Kepak also gives employment to hundreds of GAA members at its six sites throughout the country. Many Westmeath hurling followers will be familiar with the Group’s Livestock Procurement Manager Jonathan Forbes. Hailing from Jeffreystown, Monilea, he won a SHC medal with Clonkill in 2001 and played county hurling for three years before a

151

Former Westmeath hurler Jonathan Forbes


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At the Ploughing Championships in New Ross

combination of injuries and work

Sean Boylan. Kepak is still owned by

commitments forced him to hang up

the Keating family and Noel’s children

his hurl in 2007.

Stephen, Liam and Niamh are

“Kepak’s association with the GAA can be traced back to the early 1990s

involved in the day-to-day running of the business,” Jonathan explains.

when they became Meath sponsors.

Kepak is a young, professional and

The Group’s founder, Noel Keating,

dynamic business that has grown into

who died at the age of just 51, was a

one

fanatical Meath supporter and a great

processing companies. At the core of

friend of the then Meath manager

this success has been a commitment

of

Europe’s

On a Kepak beef walk

153

leading

food

to developing strong customer relationships through a partnership approach. Kepak prides itself on its dedication to innovation, brand management, consumer focus and an unwavering commitment to food safety. Acutely aware of changing market requirements, Kepak continues to supply consumers with premium quality products at competitive prices. The Group is divided into three strategic business units comprising Kepak Meat Division (KMD), Kepak Convenience Foods (KCF) and Arga Trading. Each plays a pivotal role in Kepak’s growth and expansion. Kepak Group processes in excess of 255,000 cattle, 800,000 lambs and 30,000 tons of consumer foods per annum. The Group has a turnover in excess of €750 million and employs over 2,000 at its nine processing facilities across Ireland and the UK. Kepak also has a sales presence in all major EU and international markets, and an operations office in South America. Kepak has a strong presence


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in Westmeath thanks to its beef production facility at Rostella, just outside Kilbeggan. Similar plants are located in Clonee and Cork, while the site in Athleague, Co. Roscommon processes both beef and lamb. Kepak’s plant in Hacketstown, Co. Carlow processes lamb only, while the Group also operates a beef processing plant in Ballymahon, Co. Longford. Despite being one of the wettest years on record, 2012 saw cattle prices soar and Jonathan – who is responsible for Kepak’s sheep and livestock buying policy – expects the market to remain buoyant in the coming year. “Prices are good, but you also have to take into consideration the amount of extra money farmers are spending on feed for their stock because of the poor weather conditions,” he says. “2012 will probably go down as the worst year of weather on record. Every farming enterprise was affected, with beef and sheep farmers affected by poor thrive, poached ground and poor fodder quality. On a positive note, cattle supplies were very tight and prices remained strong throughout the year. This trend is set to continue in 2013, but we have to be wary of austerity across Europe, which accounts for 90 per cent of our market. “However, all the indications are that there will be an extra 100,000 cattle killed this year to meet the demands of a growing worldwide population, and that can only be good news for Irish farmers.” Last year saw the launch of SuperValu’s Better

Together Sustainable Farming Programme in association with Kepak and Teagasc. This new initiative is the first retailer-farmer programme to be rolled out in Ireland. Focusing initially on 10-15 farms, the programme aims to increase efficiencies, improve profitability and also improve product quality. The programme, which will commence this spring, will focus on key areas such as grassland management, market specification, farm efficiency, carbon footprint analysis and herd health. Through consistent focus on these key areas, the programme will improve economic and technical performance on the participating farms. Another highlight from last year was the Kepak/Supervalu sponsored Sheep 2012 event in Athenry, Co. Galway. Sheep prices have also remained strong and the recent announcement of a Sheep Technology Adoption Programme and funding from last December’s Budget must also be considered as very positive news for the sector. The Teagasc Young Bull Production programme, which is supported by Kepak, is entering its third year of research. Last October’s Open Day in Grange, Co. Meath was well attended and Kepak looks forward to continuing the significant research on young bulls with the enthusiastic and helpful staff at Grange this year. Jonathan became Group Livestock Procurement Manager two years ago after working for Liffey Meats in Ballyjamesduff, Co. Cavan for 10 years prior

155

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Jonathan at the Royal Meath Show

to that. He explains: “I look after procurement at our sites across the country. I wouldn’t be able to do this job if I hadn’t been born into a farm. You have to have a gra for it. I received my agricultural degree in Aberdeen before returning home and joining Liffey Meats. The experience I gained there has served me well in my current position.” A pacey forward, Forbes began his hurling career with Turin before transferring to parish rivals Clonkill as an 11-year-old. He was part of the

Clonkill team that ended a 32-year wait for SHC honours in 2001 by defeating Cullion in the final. He also played in the 2003 final against Castlepollard which the Loughegarbased club lost to a last-gasp Darren McCormack goal. Since then, Clonkill have gone on to establish themselves as the leading power in Westmeath hurling, having won four of the last six senior championships. They also made history in 2008 when becoming the first club from the Lake County to win

an All-Ireland (intermediate) championship at Croke Park. “They have a cracking team now,” enthuses Jonathan, who is married to Tipperary lady Shirley and has two young children, Laura (four) and Derek (two). “When I was playing, they were only developing the winning mentality they have now. I played with a lot of the current team and I know how good they are. Even though I won a senior championship medal in 2001, my fondest memories are of my minor days with Clonkill. I was vice-captain when we lost a minor semi-final to Lough Lene Gaels, and that year tends to stick out in my mind for some reason.” Jonathan was handed his Westmeath debut by Tom Ryan – who managed Limerick to All-Ireland final appearances in 1994 and ’96 – in 2003 and scored 1-2 after coming on a substitute in the following year’s Leinster SHC win over Kildare. That game, which was played in Cusack Park, ended in controversy after it was claimed that the home side had used six substitutes. But after hours of committee room arguments, the result stood and Westmeath progressed to a quarter-final clash against Dublin at Croke Park, which Forbes started at centre forward.

A Clonkill team from 2006 with - Jonathan Forbes (back row, second from right) on board

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BROWNSTOWN

T

his year sees the 20th anniversary of Brownstown's last senior hurling championship success. In 1993, they defeated Castletown Geoghegan to claim their 15th title at that level, a record that still stands today, although other clubs are closing in rapidly. However, the intervening years have not been so kind to the north Westmeath side as they now languish in the intermediate ranks and are no longer considered one of the most feared sides in the county. For the past two years, the club has failed to reached the semi finals of the second tier championship, but there is an underlying belief within the club that they can make a return to hurling's top table in the not too distant future and what better way to celebrate the 20th anniversary of that last senior success than winning their third intermediate title since 2006. There is no doubt that Brownstown possess the quality to make a return to the top flight. Age is certainly on their side as only a handful of players have passed the 30 mark and indeed many of the side are closer to 20 years old. Throw in the fact that despite limited success at underage level, which has seen them amalgamate with neighbours Delvin to compete in the premier competitions, there is a steady flow of youngsters coming through the ranks on an annual basis. In the last few years, the likes of Niall Leonard, Ross Daly, James Moore and Cormac Foley have been

James Moore clears his lines against Raharney

BIG YEAR AHEAD joined by Jamie Fitzsimons, Harry Keane, Paddy Reilly and Daniel Dugdale, who are eight talented hurlers that are sure to all play for the side in 2013. Straight away that is over half the team and when you have more experienced players like Philip Gilsenan, John Fitzpatrick, Robert Dugdale, Martin Kelly, Jimmy McQuaid, Dara Brady and Maurice Gavigan in the ranks also, one wonders how the side is failing to even make the penultimate stage of

the championship. In 2012, former Meath hurler Paddy Kelly was appointed manager of the side and he added Seamus Reilly and Richie Shaw as his selectors, to make up a formidable management team. There were flashes of their true potential in some of the games but overall they were not consistent enough. Ironically, in one of the games that they played to their full potential, Brownstown were undone in

The 2011 junior B finalists. (Replay played in 2012). Front row l/r: Maurice Gavigan, Jamie Fitzsimons, James Moore, Niall Leonard, Robbie Dugdale, Emmet Cuneen, Ross Daly, Paddy Reilly, Daniel Dugdale, Joey Dugdale, Brendan O’Brien, Stephen Reilly, Michael Murphy. Back row l/r: Danny Henry, Keith Forde, John Carpenter, Willie Anderson, Leonard Higgins, Michael Travers, Gerry Kelly, Martin Kelly, Cyril Dugdale, Cormac Foley, Sean Smith, Gavin Mulvey, Kenneth Davis, Darragh Reilly, Conor Rice, Harry Keane

158


Division 3 Cup winners. Front row l/r: Gavin Mulvey, Patrick Reilly, Dara Brady, James Moore, Niall Leonard, Ross Daly, Kenny Higgins. Back row l/r: Maurice Gavigan, Philip Gilsenan, Joey Dugdale, Jamie Fitzsimons, Sean Smith, Robbie Dugdale, Willie Anderson, Michael Travers, Conor Shaw, Darragh Reilly

controversial circumstances as their performance against Ringtown at Clonkill showed great character and determination. When it looked as if a defeat was on the cards, they dug deep to claim what everyone apart from the referee thought was a onepoint win for the Blues, but the match

Martin Kelly uses an unorthodox strike to hit the sliotar

official on the night had it down as a draw. It was a cruel blow as a win there would have seen them through to the semi finals, but the damage had been done in earlier matches. The performances against Raharney and Clonkill in the quarterfinal were poor to say the least, as the second string of both clubs outclassed Brownstown on both occasions. For Brownstown to achieve their goal of returning to the senior ranks, everyone involved must work together for the better good of the club. As stated, there is no question that the talent is there, yes there are small numbers to work with and it is difficult to compete against the bigger clubs, but certainly the club should be in the top flight and retain that status. But, at the end of the day it is down to the players to make it happen, yes everyone can play their part off the

field, on the field though; it is a different story as it is down to the 15 to 20 players used on any given day. A GAA career is shorter than many youngsters think as the 'years don't be long slipping by' and it would be a great shame if the players mentioned don't get to sample senior hurling ever again.

Robbie Dugdale in action against Turin

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LOUGH LENE GAELS

T

he 2012 Westmeath senior hurling championship campaign was something of a familiar experience for the Lough Lene Gaels as a quarter-final spot was once again obtained. Not since 2009 has the purple and gold reached a county final as they continue their rebuilding process. After a period of unprecedented success that yielded five senior championships between 1996 and 2002, the club have been in rebuilding mode for the past number of years. Since their last success, the Collinstown outfit have lost a further four county finals, which has been difficult to take. With so many established players having retired in recent years, there has been an air of scepticism about their chances in the championship, but there is no doubt that they still have some of the most talented hurlers in the county at their disposal. However, like all clubs, emigration has hit them while exceptional talents like Killian Cosgrove and Tommy Doyle have been long term absentees through injury. The loss of these two in particular has been felt not only at club level, but county wise also. It is hoped that Doyle will return in the not so distant future, however the same cannot be said about Cosgrove and for hurling in general to lose such a talent is huge setback for the game. For any club to lose the calibre of these players in the space of a few

Brendan Doyle weighs up his options

AIMING TO MAKE A STEP UP years is a major setback, but when it's a rural club, the loss is felt even more so. Down through the years, the Gaels have produced some outstanding hurlers including John (Jobber) McGrath (Rickardstown), Tommy 'Jogger' Doyle, Mick Cosgrove, Matt and John Kennedy, Christo Murtagh and Paul Williams to name just a few. As stated the club's golden era came in the mid to late nineties and like so many clubs that have a proud tradition behind them,

this can make it difficult for the current crop to live up to the high expectations. In fairness, despite going through a period of transition, Lough Lene Gaels are still considered a top four team in the county with only current champions Clonkill, Raharney and Castletown Geoghegan ahead of them in the pecking order. Year after year, the club reach the knockout stages of the championship, but at present they

Lough Lene Gaels Intermediate Camogie Winners 2011. Front row l/r: Aoife Flynn, Ashleigh Hill, Helen Dobson, Shauna Briody, Yvonne Malone, Avril Fagan, Nicola Fagan, Orla Lynch, Kelly Dobson. Back row l/r: Michelle Murtagh, Shannon Farrelly, Lizzie Hannon, Caitriona Murtagh, Ann Marie Kennedy, Celeste Dermody, Nadina Grace, Sinead Lynch, Caoimhe McCrossan, Joanne Williams, Veronica Kiernan

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Lough Lene Gaels, 2011 JHC squad. Front row l/r: Robbie Conway, John Egan, Joey Williams, Michael Walsh, Seamus Carroll, Darragh McCormack, Alan Fitzsimons, Brendan Doyle, Fergal Moran, Trevor Fitzpatrick, Francis Kennedy. Mascots Alex McNicholas, Cian McCormack. Back row l/r: Eamonn Potter, Jamie Nolan, David O’Rourke, Eddie Boylan, Francis McDermott, Philip Reilly, Keith Fitzpatrick, Damien Conaty, Shane Reilly, Derek McNicholas, Brian Caffrey, David Cunningham, Johnny Molloy, Gary Kelly, Niall Conaty, David Fitzsimons

don't seem equipped to knock Clonkill off their perch. That is not to say that on any given day, they are a match for any side in the county. When you have the likes of Derek McNicholas and Dan Carty in your ranks, then you always have a chance as these two have proven to be two of the top forwards in the county throughout the last decade. Both have been outstanding servants and their score taking for both club and county is second to none. Carty has proved to be one of the craftiest forwards in the modern era, while McNicholas has not only been outstanding in the forwards, but he adapted with ease to the centre back spot that he currently holds for the club and is still getting his name on the score sheet on a regular basis. Throw in the experienced Brian Conaty, Seamus Carroll and Mark McNicholas as well as the likes of James Boyle, Stephen Barden, Niall Conaty, Darragh McCormack and Derek Healy and it is no wonder that

they are consistently reaching the knockout stages of the championship. Nonetheless, the 2012 campaign turned out to be a tame affair for the Gaels as even though they reached the quarterfinal, they will have been disappointed to lose to St Oliver Plunkett's, a side that they had got the better of at the same stage last

year. They opened their campaign against Castletown Geoghegan, who went into the match as favourites. Nonetheless the sides have had many close battles over the years and this match was no different as nothing separated them for long periods, although Castletown's ability to take their scores when under

Lough Lene Gaels Minor Camogie Champions 2012. Front row l/r: Jennie Kiernan, Nicola Fagan, Kelly Dobson, Shauna Coughlan, Yvonne Malone, Aoife Flynn. Back row l/r: Caitriona Murtagh, Caoimhe McCrossan, Ann Marie Kennedy, Shannon Farrelly, Nadina Grace, Ashleigh Hill, Avril Fagan, Orla Lynch

Lough Lene Gaels, Westmeath Senior Camogie Runners Up 2011. Front row l/r: Celeste Dermody, Yvonne Malone, Orla Lynch, Ashleigh Hill, Avril Fagan, Veronica Kiernan, Shauna Briody, Nicola Fagan, Lizzie Hannon. Back row l/r: Breege Dobson, Helen Dobson, Aoife Flynn, Aoife Higgins, Jemma Egan, Caitriona Murtagh, Ann Marie Kennedy, Joanne Williams, Nadina Grace Aisling Conaty, Sinead Lynch, Joanne Walsh, Michelle Murtagh

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Captain Lizzie Hannon receives the Intermediate Shield from Westmeath Camogie Chairperson Olive Leonard

Joint Lough Lene Gaels Captains Nadina Grace and Ashleigh Hill receive Minor Cup from Westmeath Camogie secretary Mary Heffernan Glynn

David Cunningham in action against St Oliver Plunkett’s at Cusack Park

pressure saw them over the line on a won yet another title. Nevertheless, there was plenty of positives to take scoreline of 1-19 to 2-10. from the campaign and with a huge It wasn't the best of starts to the amount of work being done at campaign, but all was not lost with underage level as well as the two games remaining. Their next average of the side being in the mid match was a must win game against twenties, there is certainly plenty to old rivals and neighbours be optimistic about in the club. Castlepollard. Results between the The 2013 campaign is upon us. In sides have gone either way on a their first match, the Gaels will have a regular basis. chance of redemption as they face St Pollard were actually slight Oliver Plunkett's in what will be a favourites to come out on top in this massive game for both sides. Also in one. The Gaels knew that a win the group are Raharney and would effectively put them through to Crookedwood, meaning a good start the knockout stages and the players to the campaign is imperative. were really up for this one. A virtuoso It is a big year for Lough Lene Gaels performance by McNicholas, who and it would be no surprise if they are was outstanding paved the way for the team to break the the Collinstown outfit's success as Clonkill/Raharney domination of they held on for a narrow 1-16 to 2-12 recent years, it would take a brave victory. man to bet against such a situation! This really lifted the players and as expected they saw off the challenge of Delvin (1-19 to 0-7) SUMMERCAMPS in their last group game to confirm their place in the quarter-finals. Plunkett's awaited and a place in the last four was at stake. The Gaels entered the match relatively confident of progressing, but on the day, they never really played to their full potential and Plunkett's capitalised on this, winning out on a scoreline of 0-14 to 1-7. It was a case of what might have been for Lough Lene Gaels as they were left to rue a number of missed chances during the game. Nonetheless, they did go on to reach the Feis Cup final where they faced county champions Clonkill in the final. A brave effort by the Gaels just fell short as the Loughegar side

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BALLYMORE

A

fter a shaky start, Ballymore turned their season around to reach the knockout stages of the IFC for the first time in five years. Chairman Denis O’Roarke is encouraged by the progress the team has made. Anyone who witnessed Ballymore’s lacklustre performance against CastletownFinea/Coole/Whitehall in the second round of last year’s IFC would have made them relegation candidates. But, in a remarkable turnaround, the green and golds won their next three games to qualify for the quarter-finals in impressive fashion. Unfortunately for Ballymore, their quest to bring the Peter Geraghty Cup back to its spiritual home ended with a narrow 0-11 to 0-13 defeat to Tubberclair at Cusack Park, but they could still take some satisfaction from the fact that their season extended beyond the group stages for the first time since 2007. Former Tubberclair and Westmeath star Gerry Walker has since stepped down as manager, but Ballymore chairman Denis O’Roarke is in no doubt that he and his selectors Louie Meares, Ciaran McCormack and Willie Finerty have left the team in a much healthier state than they found it at the start of 2011. “Gerry brought us on a good bit over the last two years and we were sorry

Darragh Rooney in action against Tubberclair in the IFC quarter-final

THAT’S ‘MORE LIKE IT! to lose him. Having played at the highest level, he knows what it takes to be successful. He got a great response from the players. It was a good achievement to reach the quarter-finals and we weren’t too far away from reaching the semi-finals either,” he says. O’Roarke, who soldiered in the green and gold for many years,

The Millmore Gaels side that performed so well in 2012

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admits the alarm bells were ringing after the aforementioned defeat to Castletown-Finea/Coole/Whitehall, which followed a dour draw with Ballinagore in the opening round. “The heads were down leaving Shandonagh that evening but, in fairness to the lads, they really knuckled down after that and got a great win against St. Mary’s in their


next game. That win was a turning point in our season. Up until then, we had been struggling a bit. We lost our first two games in the league and that kind of set the tone. “But the return of Denis Eivers and others who had been injured, coupled with the introduction of some new blood, brought about an immediate improvement. Hopefully we’ll be able to keep the momentum going in the coming year when we’ll be aiming for promotion from Division 3 and qualification for the knockout stages of the championship again. It’s very important that we make a good start to the league. If you lose one or two games, you’re out of the promotion hunt straight away, so we need to hit the ground running,” the well-known farmer and auctioneer continues. Ballymore needed a late pointed free from new county recruit David ‘Daley’ McCormack to earn a 0-9 apiece draw with Ballinagore in their championship opener at Moate’s Hogan Park. Ballinagore led by 0-4 to 0-3 at the break, but a strong start to the second half, which yielded scores from Michael Slevin, ‘Daley’ McCormack and Alan Slevin, augured well for Ballymore. However, Ballinagore fought back to take the lead before McCormack came to the Suedysiders’ rescue with an equaliser two minutes from the end. The low-point of Ballymore’s season came when they suffered a crushing 0-4 to 2-11 defeat to CastletownFinea/Coole/Whitehall in their second outing. The championselect never looked in any danger after Patrick Cheevers’ early goal gave them a lead they wouldn’t relinquish. Ballymore twice got to within two points of their north county opponents thereafter before going an incredible 38 minutes without scoring. Indeed, it looked as though they would go through the entire second half without registering a score until county hurler John Gilligan popped up with his second point in the final minute. The green and golds showed real character to overcome St. Mary’s by 1-8 to 0-5 in their next game at Cusack Park. After leading by 0-5 to 0-3 at half-time, Ballymore were reeled in after the restart, but they were never headed and had opened up a three-point lead thanks to scores from Michael Slevin, Brian Finerty (free) and Derek ‘Ching’ Molloy before ‘Daley’ McCormack’s fisted goal in injury-time sealed their first win of the campaign. A 0-8 to 0-7 victory over an in-form Rosemount side on a heavy Tubberclair pitch left Ballymore within touching distance of a knockout spot. Rosemount led by 0-5 to 0-3 at the interval, but the rejuvenated green and golds outscored them by 0-5 to 0-2 in the second half, with Derek Molloy holding his nerve to hit the winning free in injury-time. An outstanding second display saw Ballymore cruise past Shandonagh and into the quarter-finals at Ballynacargy. Gerry Walker’s charges led by 0-4 to 0-1 at the end of a poor first half and, while Shandonagh halved the deficit within 10 seconds of the restart, they managed just one further score as Ballymore took control. No fewer than 11 different Ballymore players got on the scoresheet in what was their best display of the championship. The quarter-final pitted Gerry Walker against his native Tubberclair, who were many people’s favourites to make an instant return to the senior ranks following their relegation at the end of 2011. Walker, whose son Ronan lined out at wing forward

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Daly McCormack is focused on launching the ball forward

Conor McNeill is determined to get the ball

Stephen Rooney has been a consistent performer in recent years

for the Glasson outfit, saw his side take a 0-3 to 0-2 lead after 16 minutes thanks to a Derek Molloy free, but that proved to be the only time in the game that they led as Tubberclair replied with three unanswered points from Francis ‘Brolly’ Spollen and Alan Coffey (two). Molloy kicked a fourth Ballymore point after they had strong claims for a penalty turned down, but they still trailed by 0-4 to 0-7 at the break. Half-time substitute ‘Daley’ McCormack made an instant impression by scoring within 90 seconds of the restart before Tubbeclair took over again with a trio of points. Ballymore responded with three unanswered points of their own via McCormack (two) and Derek Molloy. Scores from Coffey and David Fagan kept Tubberclair three in front and a late Sam Moran free wasn’t enough to save Ballymore. At underage level, Millmore Gaels (a combination of Milltown and Ballymore) captured the U14 Division 1 Shield and also contested the minor championship Division 3 final. Managed by Johnny Meares, Kevin McLoughlin, Seamus Kennedy and Eamon Hynes, the U14s began the year by reaching the Feile na nOg semi-final where they were beaten by The Downs. They narrowly missed out on a place in the semi-finals of the U14 Division 1 championship, but did have the consolation of beating St. Loman’s in the Shield final at Ballynacargy. “Considering that it was our first time to play in Division 1, I thought our U14s did brilliantly,” enthuses Denis, who is also Millmore Gaels secretary and was joint-manager of the minor team along with Michael Kiernan. “We would have qualified for a championship semi-final had we not lost three games by a point in the group stages. This is a very talented group of players and hopefully we’ll be able to keep them together over the next few years.” There was disappointment for the Millmore Gaels minors who, after beating Ballycomoyle in the semifinal, lost the Division 3 (13-a-side) final to Shandonagh in heartbreaking

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Denis Eivers climbs highest in the IFC quarter final versus Tubberclair

Mike Slevin dives full length to secure the ball

Derek Molloy kicks forward as Ciaran Finnerty looks on


circumstances in Ballynacargy. Twice during the first half, they enjoyed a four-point lead, but a Luke Tynan goal had Shandonagh level at the break. Millmore Gaels regained the lead after the restart and looked the more likely winners until Tynan fisted home his second goal with 10 minutes remaining. It was all Millmore after that, but they couldn’t regain parity as Shandonagh held on for a 2-5 to 0-9 victory. “We had enough chances to win that final, but didn’t take them. It was our second time in three years to lose that final. We’re tight for numbers at U16 and minor level, but we’re still hopeful of making a breakthrough in one or other of those grades in the near future,” Denis concludes. On a sad note, two great Ballymore stalwarts, Billy Martin and Jimmy McKnight, passed away during 2012. It goes without saying the club won’t be the same without them. The Ballymore team which faced Tubberclair in the IFC quarter-final was: Vinny McCormack; Seamus Keena, Barry McDermott, Dara Rooney; Paddy Harrington, Denis Eivers, Michael Slevin; Paddy Martin, Derek Molloy; Alan Slevin, Sam Whooley, Eanna Keena; Stephen Rooney, Sam Moran, John Gilligan. Subs used: David McCormack, Ciaran Finerty and Frank Eivers. The Millmore Gaels U14 Division 1 Shield winning panel was: Peter Kennedy, Sean Keena, Ciaran Lynam, Jack Kearney, Ronan McLoughlin, Ian Burke, Dylan Molloy, Jamie Meares, Aaron Kennedy, Joe

Paddy Harrington breaks up another St Mary’s attack

Kincaid, Mark McCaughey, Dylan Rabbitt, Leon Hynes, Daire Hynes, Sean McCabe, Conor Dillon, Sam Maxwell, Oisin Ryan and Christopher Whyte. Millmore Gaels’ minor championship Division 3 finalists were: Kevin Cuffe; Diarmuid Maguire, David McKnight; PJ Maxwell, Liam O’Roarke, Darren Sloan; Thomas Lynn, Joseph Halligan; Ben Maxwell, Sam Moran, Michael Reilly; Eanna Keena, Conor Duncan. Sub used: Eoin Ryan.

JUNIOR ‘B’ SUCCESS Ballymore made the best possible start to 2013 when they accounted for Moate All-Whites by 1-13 to 1-6 in the delayed 2012 junior ‘B’ championship final at Hogan Park on January 13 last. The success completed a league and championship double for the Ballymore second string which had defeated St. Malachy’s by 0-11 to 0-7 after extra-time to claim the AllCounty League Division 5 title just a couple of weeks earlier. It was also the perfect send off for Gerry Walker who was taking charge of the green and golds for the last time. On a heavy surface, Ballymore laid the foundations for their victory between the 10th and 22nd minutes when they scored 1-5 without reply to lead by 1-8 to 0-4 at the interval. The Ballymore goal was scored by Ben Maxwell after a great move involving Stephen Rooney and Alan Slevin. A Jimmy Gillivan penalty brought Moate back into it at the end of the third quarter, but Ballymore were not to be denied as three late points from Derek ‘Ching’ Molloy and another from Bobby McDermott copperfastened the win. The Ballymore team was: Liam O’Roarke; David McKnight, Barry McDermott, Andy Slevin; Paddy Harrington (captain), Liam Gilligan, Michael Slevin; Derek Molloy, Paddy Martin; Ciaran Finerty, Alan Slevin, Eanna Keena; Stephen Rooney, Sam Moran, Ben Maxwell. Subs used: Frank Eivers, Anthony McKnight, Bobby McDermott, Darren Rooney and Dave Hannon.

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Barry McDermott shows great determination

Sam Whooley wins this aerial duel

Brian Finnerty has his mind set on gaining possession


CULLION

T

he 2012 intermediate hurling campaign may not have gone according to plan for Cullion as only one win was recorded during the championship, leaving them bottom of the table by virtue of a poorer scoring difference than Turin.

From the ouside Cullion look like a club that is faced with a tough future but that is certainly not the case as the work being done at underage level is providing the club with a platform to build on for years to come. The heady days of reaching their first ever county senior hurling final in 2001 seem a distant memory now as the club languish in the second tier of hurling since their relegation from the senior ranks just 12 months after reaching that senior final. Their fall from grace had been dramatic and to be fair they haven't looked like winning the intermediate title for a number of years now, having reached the 2005 final only to lose to Crookedwood in the decider. In recent years, the club has gone back to its roots and have concentrated on developing their underage structure, which has proven to be very successful as not only have they picked up silverware in the last few years, but their

Vincent Conneely is a tough tackling defender

PROGRESS BEING MADE intermediate team is now starting to benefit from the work being done. Club secretary Paul Reynolds believes that their failure to always place an emphasis on their underage structure proved costly over the last decade or so and he explains to Maroon & White why this happened. “For a number of years, there wasn't

much work being done at underage level. The like of Gerry Gillen was doing his best, but he only had the help of a few people and we have paid the price for that,” stressed Paul. “However, in the last few years, we have focused more on the underage structure within the club and it definitely has made a huge difference

The Cullion U16 side which reached the Division 2 final, front row l/r: Conor Shaw, Ronan O’Toole, Kevin Regan, Paul Rock, Mark Tubridy, James Cox, Andrew Connaughton, Brendan King, Shane Broughan. Back row from l/r: Sean Regan, Jack Carton, Jack Galvin, Mark Brennan, Brian Reilly, Robbie Gillen, James baker, Eoin Fox, Sean Frayne, Conor Gilhooley

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Robbie Galvin has given many years great service to Cullion

James Clarke is one of the rising stars in the club

Ger Beahan solos out of trouble against Clonkill

to us. The simple fact of the matter is that the club would have gone out of existence had we not looked after the underage. We are now competing at all grades and we have lads coming through from minor on to the intermediate team, which for a few years we had no one coming through and that is why we went back so much.” For the 2012 campaign, Frank McGrath was over the side and there was a genuine hope within the club that they could make an impact on the intermediate championship. However, Paul admits that it ended in disappointment. “We were very disappointed with the way we played in the championship. One win from seven games is a poor reflection on us and we will be looking to improve on that this year. A few young lads came on to the team last year and they now have a year's experience under their belts, while I expect a few more to come through this year.” Paul revealed that the management have decided to take a different approach to this year's campaign as they look to make more of a mark on the campaign. “We started back training in January, which would be very unusual for us as it's usually later in the year, but Frank and the lads have decided to use a different approach. A lot of our trouble is getting lads out and getting them tuned in for the year. There's an almost casual approach taken by some of the players, but the fact is that we have some very talented players at our disposal and if they gave the right commitment, we know that we could do well in the championship. “I'm not saying that we could win it, but certainly reach a semi-final. If we could do that I'm sure it would bring a buzz around the place and with the lads now coming through from the underage, given a few years we could make a return to senior.” There is no doubt that despite being one of the smallest clubs in the county, Cullion have some of the best facilities and would put some of their senior counterparts to shame on that front. Paul added that despite pulling

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Vincent Conneely uses his strength to gain control of the sliotar

Derek Kerrigan gets his challenge in against Crookedwood

Ger Beahan has the situation under control against Turin


Pio Kelleghan clears his lines Paul Reynolds has been a stalwart in defence over the years

from a small catchment area, emigration is something that hasn't affected them in the last couple of years. “We would have lost lads through emigration, but no one has left because of that in the last two years, so numbers wise we wouldn't be too bad at the moment, but it is always hard to compete with the bigger clubs. “You look at the likes of Clonkill and Raharney and see the amount of players that they would have and it's unreal. I do believe that one of those sides will win the intermediate championship in the next couple of years; they are getting that strong. But, with the work that we are putting in, I do think that we can make progress this year. That is our aim

anyway.” With the Leinster League and county league due to start before the championship, Paul feels that they will have plenty of competition to prepare for the main event of the year. “The Leinster League is a very good competition as it's very competitive and teams seem to be evenly matched in each division. Throw in the league and junior matches and we are getting plenty of games anyway. “This is a big year for us. Last year we even considered amalgamating with a team just so that we could be competitive in the championship, but it never happened. Now, we are happy to go it alone and hopefully we can do well.”

James McGrath stoops low to gather the sliotar

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LOUGHNAVALLEY

F

ew clubs in Westmeath have been affected by emigration to the extent that Loughnavalley have over the past number of years. But while their playing numbers may be critically low, last year’s captain Peter Kelly insists the show must go on. These are tough times for Loughnavalley. A formidable junior outfit not so long ago – they were JFC quarter-finalists in 2011 – the small but resolute club from the centre of the county endured a nightmare season which saw them win just one game between league and championship. When we caught up with Loughnavalley captain Peter Kelly, he was in no doubt as to the reason for Loughnavalley’s downturn in fortunes. “Emigration,” he declared without any hesitation. “It has had a devastating effect on us. It has got so bad that we are only barely surviving. Last year we had to bring two lads out of retirement – Ken Daly and Terry Kelly – to make up the numbers. We wouldn’t have been able to field but for them. I know every club in the country has lost players to emigration, but it seems the smaller you are, the bigger the impact.” He continues: “Last year was our poorest year in a long time. We were

Derek Glennon has a look to see what his best option is

Kevin Monaghan is a safe and dependable goalkeeper

BATTLING THE ODDS relegated from Division 4 of the league without winning a game and our only win in the championship came against Delvin. It was very disheartening, but we’ve been on our knees before and survived. We have to keep it going and stay positive.” In 2012, Loughnavalley lost four key players – Kenneth Rigney, Ryan O’Heir, Gerry Clarke and 1999 AllIreland U21 winner Bobby Elliffe to overseas. If that wasn’t bad enough, Sean Ruane transferred to Athenry in Co. Galway where he’s now based. Peter, who has been a regular on the team for the past decade, also cites the lack of an underage structure as a huge drawback to Loughnavalley. “We have hardly any young lads coming through,” he laments. “It has often being spoken about (starting an underage club), but the numbers just aren’t there. The only option would be to amalgamate with another club. The ladies are able to field underage teams, but they have the advantage of being able to pick players from other areas like Castletown, Shandonagh, Ballymore

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and Milltown. The men’s club picks from a much smaller area. “Unfortunately, when a young lad in Loughnavalley wants to play football, he has to go to another club. And you can’t blame him for staying with that club when he gets older because he’s settled and wants to continue playing with the lads he’s always played with.” Under the management of Christy Keenan, whose selectors were Jack Kelly and Johnny Quinn, Loughnavalley got off to the worst possible start in last year’s JFC when they were beaten 0-5 to 2-22 by St. Joseph’s (the ‘Valley had beaten the same opponents in the previous year’s championship). It set the tone for a torrid campaign which saw them lose their next five group games to Milltown (0-6 to 1-21), championselect Kilbeggan Shamrocks (0-3 to 418), St. Paul’s (0-4 to 2-11), Multyfarnham (0-6 to 0-11) and Moate All-Whites (0-5 to 1-21). The losing sequence finally ended with a 2-10 to 0-11 victory over Delvin, but another defeat followed


against Ballycomoyle (2-8 to 3-7) in their final outing. “We actually finished the year not too badly. We put in a good performance against Multyfarnham, who hadn’t been beaten up to then, beat Delvin and ran Ballycomoyle close. It gives us a bit of hope for this year. We are trying to bring in a few numbers players to give the thing a boost. It’s not all doom and gloom,” Peter asserts. The Loughnavalley team that faced Multyfarnham in last year’s JFC was: Kevin Monaghan; Richie Gaye, Joe Kelly, John Hegarty; Alan Giblin, Stephen McManus, Peter Kelly; Colm Ruane, Derek Glennon; Brian Tyrrell, Derek Ruane, Stephen Harte; Stephen Kelly, Darren Rigney, Derek Newman. Subs used: Fergus Kelly, Paul O’Donohue, Tadhg O’Sullivan and Maurice Gorman.

solo goal, and the green and golds were out of sight. After the game, the cup was presented to joint-captains McKenna and Zara Daly.

The U14 and U16 teams both reach the semi-final stages of their respective championships – the U16s were defeated by the eventual winners Delvin/St. Paul’s. The club had half a dozen players on the county U12 county panel and was also represented on the county U13 and U15 development squads. In addition, Ashley Ruane was on the Westmeath U16 panel and Avril Corbett was a member of the senior squad. Loughnavalley ladies football stalwart Alice Kerrigan, who is also secretary of the Westmeath county board, says the club’s success at underage level helped to soften the blow of the adult team’s relegation SILVERWARE back to the junior ranks – just two FOR U12 GIRLS years after they won an historic junior title. In a year when the Loughnavalley “Despite the best efforts of jointladies failed to retain their managers Frank Lynam and Derek intermediate status, the U12s ‘Ching’ Molloy, we were unable to provided hope for the future by retain our intermediate status for recording an emphatic 6-11 to 1-2 2013,” she ruefully reflects. victory over St. Loman’s in the ‘C’ “At underage level, the club looks championship final at Milltown. strong, but there needs to be a renewed effort at adult level if we’re The well-drilled Loughnavalley side to compete successfully in the signalled their intent by scoring a goal coming years. Work commitments, inside the first minute. St. Loman’s which are 100 per cent replied almost immediately with a understandable in the present similar score, but the ‘Valley climate, had a huge bearing on the reasserted themselves after that and availability of players last year. went on to lead by 3-5 to 1-2 at the “2012 also saw us lose a number of break. Within a minute of the restart, players during the summer to Muireann McKenna scored a brilliant America on J1 visas and to other Best Wishes To Loughnavalley GAA, From o v e r s e a s destinations. Because many of our players are students, summer Contact Conor Elliffe on 087 1482660 emigration is a From the top down and to the highest standard huge problem for us, but we’re not • Unique tar removed system the only ones to • Back Boilers Cleaned • Solid Fuel Stoves & Range Serviced suffer from it and • Bird & Rain Guards Supplied & Fitted hopefully we won’t • Gutters Emptied & Washed be as badly • Window Cleaning (Incl Frames) • Powerwashing • Registered & Fully Insured affected in the Domestic External Cleaning Services coming year.”

Vinny Mulligan closes in on his opponent

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Joe Kelly wins this race for possession


ST. LOMAN’S

S

t. Loman’s lost just one competitive game in 2012, yet the Flanagan Cup remained as elusive as ever. However, chairman Aidan Davitt takes encouragement from their consistency and is hoping new manager Declan Rowley will be able to give them the final push in their quest to end a 50-year wait for senior championship honours. SFC semi-finalists, All-County League Division 2 and 4 champions, St. Loman’s made quite an impact in 2012, but a failure to bring the Flanagan Cup back to its spiritual home was once again a source of frustration for everyone involved with the ambitious Lakepoint Park outfit. After 17 minutes of their SFC semifinal replay against town rivals Mullingar Shamrocks, St. Loman’s led by six points and looked set to carry their unbeaten record in all competitions into the county final against champions Garrycastle. But, in a remarkable turnaround, Shamrocks outscored Kenny McKinley’s men by 3-6 to 1-3 in the remainder of the match to inflict a first defeat on them. “It’s harder to take when you lose only one game all year,” St. Loman’s

John Heslin has emerged as one of the best midfielders in the country

A WHISKER AWAY chairman Aidan Davitt admits. “We were within an ace of beating Shamrocks and reaching our first final since 2009. We were well in front in both games, but couldn’t put them away. Shamrocks went on to prove

what a good team they are by beating Garrycastle after another replay in the final. We know we are very close. If we can improve by another five or 10 per cent next year, it could make all the difference.

Div 2 League Cup winners. Front row l\r: Gerard Farrell, Patrick Dowdall, Seanie Dinnegan, Eoin Price, David Whelan, Donal McGovern, Michael Gleeson. Back row l\r: Senan Russell, Adam Carroll, Paul Leonard, John Heslin, Shane Flynn, Stephen Gallagher, David Rushe, Darragh O’Keeffe

174


champions-elect didn’t know what hit them as John Heslin – making his first championship appearance for the Blues since returning from Aussie Rules – sent Kenny McKinley’s charges on their way with a punched goal in the ninth minute. That score separated the teams at the break, 1-5 to 0-5, but Loman’s took over completely after the restart when they reeled off 1-7 without reply, with Kelvin Reilly accounting for the goal. Trailing by 0-6 to 2-12, Shamrocks narrowed the gap to eight points before man of the match Paul Sharry rounded off a memorable evening for the blue half of Mullingar by converting a ’45. St. Loman’s suffered the first of two blips en route to the winning the group when they were held to a 2-7 to 1-10 draw by Athlone. Played a massive 10 weeks after the first round rout of Shamrocks, the game failed to live up to expectations with scrappy play being the order of the day. Second half goals from Ciaran Kilmurray and Kelvin Reilly looked like giving Loman’s the win until John Egan kicked a late equalising point for the Shannonsiders. In another surprising result, St. Loman’s were forced to come from seven points down to draw their third game with St. Malachy’s. The Castletown-Geoghegan/Dysart men flew out of the starting blocks to lead by 1-5 to 0-1 after 15 minutes, but Loman’s had narrowed the gap to three points, 0-7 to 1-7, at the break. The outstanding John Heslin eventually brought them level with seven minutes remaining before Kieran Lynam gave them the lead for the first time. But a late Ronan Whelan point ensured the spoils were shared, 0-13 to 1-10.

“We can’t fault Kenny McKinley or his selectors Joe Matthews and Adrian Charles for the work they put in with the team. Under Kenny, we’ve become one of the most consistent teams in the county. We won Division 2 of the league and were there or thereabouts in the championship. In addition, our second team won Division 4 and reached the quarter-finals of the junior championship. There’s plenty to build on for this year.” Davitt is hoping the appointment of Declan Rowley as manager will be the final piece in the jigsaw as far as St. Loman’s quest for senior championship success is concerned. One of the most respected coaches in the midlands, the Killoe Young Emmets clubman has enjoyed much success with the famous St. Mel's College football nursery in Longford. He managed Leitrim in the last decade and was also assistant to Luke Dempsey during his time in charge of Longford. Last year, Rowley managed Clonguish, which is the home club of Longford star Paul Barden. “We're delighted that Declan Rowley has agreed to come on board. He has an extensive CV, having won several Leinster College titles with St.Mel's. He served a term as Leitrim manager and worked with Luke Dempsey while he was in Longford,” the well-known auctioneer and county councillor says. "He has huge experience and will be a great asset to the club. Three former players, James Davitt, Aidan Canning and Robbie Kenny, have gone in with him as selectors. The aim is to win a senior championship. Fifty years is a long time to be waiting for one. For the first time in a long time, we have a nice mix of youth and experience in the team. “We have some excellent young players like Jason O’Toole, David Whelan, Stephen Gilmore and Kelvin Reilly coming through. They have blended in very well with the likes of Paddy Dowdall, Kieran Lynam, Ciaran Kilmurray and Jonathan Plunkett, who are very experienced. We also have three established county players in Paul Sharry, John Heslin and Conor Lynam. And we’re hoping to get more game-time out of Eoin Price, who was a great addition when he came in towards the end of last year. I know hurling comes first with him, but he has a lot to offer as a footballer as well.” St. Loman’s made the best possible start to last year’s championship when they crushed neighbours Mullingar Shamrocks on a 2-13 to 0-10 scoreline at Cusack Park. The

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John Heslin receives the Div 2 League Cup

Despite the presence of two defenders Conor Lynam still wins possession

Adrian Gilmore has the ball under his control

The Lakepoint Park outfit rediscovered the form they had displayed against Shamrocks when they demolished The Downs by 2-19 to 0-6 in their fourth outing. Loman’s only led by four points, 0-9 to 0-5, at the interval, but they turned on the style in the second half with John Heslin and Adrian Gilmore both raising green flags. Heslin, Kelvin Reilly, Shane Flynn and Kieran Lynam all chipped in with two points each from play. A stunning goal from Kelvin Reilly propelled St. Loman’s to a 1-10 to 1-6 victory over Maryland and to automatic qualification for the semifinals for the second year in-a-row. There was little to choose between the sides until Reilly’s strike with three minutes remaining gave the Delvin Road men the edge. Mullingar Shamrocks’ fine comeback win over Tyrrellspass in their quarterfinal joust set the scene for another all-Mullingar semi-final. John Heslin's early goal had Loman's 1-8 to 0-6 ahead at the break, but a Seanie Daly penalty in the 41st minute dragged Shamrocks back into it and they then proceeded to open up a four-point lead. Loman’s reduced the leeway to three before, in a dramatic finale, Ciaran Kilmurray forced a replay with a last-gasp goal after Conradh Reilly had cleared a Cian O’Leary shot off the line just moments earlier at the opposite end. The final score was 212 apiece. In the replay, which saw both teams reduced to 14 men midway through the first half, St. Loman’s once again started brightly to lead by 0-7 to 0-1 by the 17th minute. However, the game took a decisive turn in Shamrocks’ favour when Ciaran Curley’s goal helped them to overturn the deficit and to take a 1-6 to 0-7 lead into the break. The Springfield side extended their advantage when Paddy Joyce netted shortly after the restart. A third goal from Conor Twomey pushed them six points clear, 3-6 to 0-9, and while Heslin converted a 58th minute penalty to half the deficit, it was a case of too little, too late as Shamrocks prevailed on a 3-7 to 1-10 scoreline. 2012 was a surprisingly lean year for St. Loman’s at underage level, but

176

Kelvin Reilly sets off on another run

Johnathan Plunkett shoots for another score

Paul Leonard gathers the ball under pressure


John Heslin wins yet another aerial duel

David Windsor holds off the challenge of his marker

Conradh Reilly had an impressive campaign in 2012

Davitt isn’t overly concerned. “That’s the way it goes sometimes. We had a lot of success the previous year. Hopefully we’ll get back to winning ways this year,” says the chairman, who is looking forward to the opening of St. Loman’s third full-size pitch (work on their stateof-the-art 3G pitch was completed last year) in the coming weeks. Sadly, one of St. Loman’s greatest stalwarts, Joe Matthews, didn’t live to see the club’s latest development. Joe’s death on October 29 last was mourned by everyone associated with the GAA in Westmeath. “Joe was the figurehead of our club. He was always there to greet you when you arrived. All of his children, Joe Jnr, Stan, Mark, Enda, Amy and Conor, wore the blue jersey at some stage. Indeed, some of his grandchildren are now playing with our underage teams. Things haven’t been the same since we lost Joe, but hopefully we can go out this year and win the senior championship in his memory,” Aidan concludes on an upbeat note. St. Loman’s lined out as follows in their SFC semi-final replay against Mullingar Shamrocks: Paul McGann; Stephen Gilmore, Paddy Dowdall, Jason O’Toole; David Whelan, Gary Glennon, Paul Leonard; Ciaran Kilmurray, Willie McGovern; Kelvin Reilly, Paul Sharry, Eoin Price; Conradh Reilly, John Heslin, Conor Lynam. Subs used: David Rushe, Shane Flynn, Kieran Lynam, Jonathan Plunkett and David Windsor. The St. Loman’s team which lost their JFC quarter-final to Milltown by 0-8 to 1-8 was: Larry Rasiaskis; Cian Burke, Adam Carroll, Darragh O’Keeffe; Cathal Burke, Donie McGovern, Timmy Murphy; Brian Murphy, Corey Doherty; Michael Gleeson, Robbie Daly, Conor Cochrane; Cormac Corroon, Ben Kilmurray, Dan Sheridan. Subs used: Barry Leonard and Barry McDonald.

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Summercamps


ST. BRIGID’S

S

t. Brigid’s could be described as a yo-yo club after promotion to the senior ranks was immediately followed by relegation for the second time in two years in 2012. However, club chairman Jimmy Keegan refuses to be despondent and takes hope from the club’s continued success at underage level. It was a case of déjà vu for St. Brigid’s last year when they survived just one season in the senior hurling ranks. Just like in 2010 when they were relegated within a year of defeating Turin in the intermediate championship final, the Dalystown outfit surrendered their senior status less than 12 months after capturing their second Adrian Murray Cup in three seasons at Fr. Dalton’s expense. Such a record would suggest they are too strong for intermediate, but not strong enough for senior. “It’s a big step-up to senior and we’ve found that to our cost in the past few years,” St. Brigid’s chairman Jimmy Keegan ruefully notes. “It was disappointing to last only a year in the senior championship for the second time since 2010. We lost all three of our group matches, but still could have stayed up if we had beaten Delvin in the relegation playoff. That game could have gone either way. Unfortunately for us, we came up just short and it is back to the drawing

Darren Quinn breaks up a St Oliver Plunkett’s attack

U14 WIN EASES RELEGATION PAIN board once again.” Jimmy is convinced that St. Brigid’s – who have a proud history in senior hurling – would be a match for most of the top sides if football wasn’t so strong in their area. “We pick our players from Tyrrellspass, Rochfortbridge and Milltownpass, and they are all football areas first and foremost. If you asked

our players which sport they give priority to, I’m sure the majority of them would say football. They’ve been brought up in a football environment and it’s hard for hurling to compete,” he says. Jimmy is among a group of dedicated club members who are working hard to ensure St. Brigid’s of a brighter future. The Saffrons have been quite

The U14 Division 3 team: Front Row l\r: Jordan Egan, Michael McCormick, Aaron Gahan, Eoin Cleary, Jamie Rooney, Ned Cully, Jack Gallagher, Evan Gorman (captain). Back Row from l\r: Conor Gavin, Cormac Dunne, Sean Downey, Lee Kilbane, Francis Duffy, Eddie Whelehan, James Quinn, Matthew Bradley, Evan O'Riordan

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successful at underage level in recent years and they picked up another title last year in the shape of an U14 Division 3 championship. They also contested the U16 Division 3 championship final, only to lose to St. Oliver Plunkett’s. Jimmy, who managed both teams along with Finian Gavin and Jimmy Cleary, sees huge potential in the players in these age groups, and has high hopes for this year’s U16 team which will The U16 Division 2 team: Front Row from l\r: Brian Lynam, Eoin Cleary, Cathal Moran, Ned Cully, Evan Gorman, Niall Gavin, Stephen Riggs (captain), Evan O'Riordan, Sam Plant, Conor Gavin. Back Row l\r: Eoin Duncan, compete in the Division 1 Matthew Bradley, Hugh Lyster, Ray Cleary, Conor Duncan, Jude Keegan, Jake championship. Byrne, Joe Hyland, James Quinn, Jack O'Connor, Eddie Whelehan “We’ve decided to enter club), St. Brigid’s failed to build on their they had only led by 0-4 to 0-2 at the them in the ‘premier’ because we want 2011 intermediate championship end of a low-scoring first half. But they to test ourselves against the best. All success with their stay in the senior took over completely after the restart bar one of last year’s U16 team is ranks once again proving to be shorteligible for the grade again this year with Eddie Whelan’s goal sending them and we think we have a team that’s lived. on their way. Jack Gallagher raised good enough to put it up to the likes of A 1-6 to 1-19 defeat to St. Oliver another green flag in the 36th minute Castletown-Geoghegan, Raharney and Plunkett’s in their opening before Conor Gavin and team captain Clonkill,” explains the chairman, who championship game at Cusack Park Evan Gorman tagged on quick points. has managed St. Brigid’s to 10 set the tone for a disappointing Brigid’s blitzed their north county underage finals in the last 14 years. campaign. The scoreline does scant opponents in the final five minutes “This year’s U16 team won an U14 justice to the Saffrons who were when Mark Bradley bagged two goals league title two years ago and were undermined by poor finishing (they and James Quinn added another beaten in the championship final by finished with a tally of 12 wides). They directly from a ’65. And there was still Lough Lene Gaels, so there is plenty of had to wait until the 14th minute for time for Francis Duffy and Bradley to talent there.” their first score from Stephen Quinn score a brace of points each. Last year’s U14s registered an and trailed by 0-3 to 1-7 at half-time. The victory atoned for St. Brigid’s 1-9 emphatic 5-13 to 0-3 victory over Delvin James Keegan gave Brigid’s hope to 2-13 defeat to St. Oliver Plunkett’s in in the Division 3 final at Lakepoint Park when he netted three minutes after the the U16 Division 3 (13-a-side) final a last October after accounting for restart, but Plunkett’s replied with three fortnight earlier at Springfield. unanswered points from Johnny Plunkett’s, who were fortunate not to be Southern Gaels, Ringtown, Wolfe Dooley, which put the result beyond reduced to 12 players for an off-the-ball Tones, Turin and Brownstown in the doubt. incident, held a slender 1-5 to 0-7 lead earlier rounds. Jimmy admits he was The concession of two goals in each at half-time thanks to Neil O’Toole’s surprised by the margin of victory after half condemned St. Brigid’s to their goal in the 19th minute. Points from Brigid’s had lost to the same opposition second defeat at the hands of Paddy Lynam and Luke Byrne in the Feile na nGael earlier in the year. Raharney in Loughegar. Raharney led extended the Mullingar side’s lead in “We were expecting a close game,” by 2-7 to 0-7 at the interval and the second half before Brigid’s were he recalls. eventually won by 4-15 to 0-12 with unlucky not to get themselves back into “Being truthful, I was worried about Chris Flanagan’s early second half goal contention when Niall Gavin’s goalDelvin because they had beaten a good dashing any hopes the underdogs bound effort was saved by Plunkett’s Ringtown team in the semi-final and might have had of making a comeback. ‘keeper Sean O’Brien. had beaten us in the Feile as well. But St. Brigid’s were left facing a The Dalystown boys were left with a I knew that we could turn it around with relegation playoff against Delvin after mountain to climb when Conor Bracken the amount of preparation we had put they crashed to a 0-5 to 2-21 defeat to crashed home a second goal for the in. We trained three nights a week champions Clonkill in their final group winners with nine minutes remaining. leading up to the final. Also, when we game at Cusack Park. The game was Conor Duncan pulled back a goal for played Delvin earlier, we were without up for Ger Gill’s charges after they St. Brigid’s, but it was a case of too five or six very strong lads who were conceded 1-8 in the first 14 minutes tied up with the St. Mary’s U14 little, too late. footballers, and they were a huge and there was simply no way back for Under the management of Ger Gill addition to us for the final.” them after that. and his selectors Jay Faulkner and No-one could have predicted that St. Five weeks later, St. Brigid’s returned Jimmy Gallagher (who Jimmy Keegan Brigid’s would win by 25 points after to Westmeath GAA headquarters for describes as the ‘unsung hero’ of the

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Evan Gorman (U14 captain) accepts the shield from Michael McHugh

Ciaran Daly takes on the Delvin defence

A determined Dermot Faulkner chases back

their do-or-die clash with Delvin. In what was a thrilling contest, St. Brigid’s finished the first half strongly with three points on the trot from Paul Carey, James Keegan and Philip Sheridan to take a 0-10 to 0-8 lead into the break. The tempo increased several notches in the second half as goals from Tadhg Kelly and Barry Williams propelled Delvin into a 2-10 to 0-13 lead after 40 minutes. Brigid’s edged back in front thanks to a goal and a point from Jamie Gonoud, either side of a Ciaran ‘Bomber’ Daly minor. The Valley men replied with their third major from Pat Farrington, only for Brigid’s to regain a one-point lead, 1-18 to 3-11, through three unanswered points from the stick of Daly. But Delvin had the final say when Alan Clune grabbed a late goal to seal a dramatic 4-12 to 1-19 victory. “We’re well capable of bouncing back,” a defiant Jimmy says. “Ger Gill is staying on as manager and he won’t be settling for anything less than another intermediate championship win. Having said that, it will be a big ask to win a third championship in five years. The likes of Brownstown, Ringtown and Fr. Dalton’s won’t be easily beaten.” St. Brigid’s U14 Division 3 champions: Adrian Gahan; Evan O’Riordan, James Quinn, Cormac Dunne; Sean Downey, Jamie Rooney, Ned Cully; Lee Kilbane, Francis Duffy; Conor Gavin, Eddie Whelan, Evan Gorman; Jack Gallagher, Mark Bradley, Owen Cleary. Subs used: Jordan Earley and Michael McCormack. U16 Division 3 final runners-up: Stephen Riggs; Roy Cleary, Cathal Moran; James Quinn, Jack O’Connor, Joe Hyland; Sam Plant, Conor Duncan; John Byrne, Niall Gavin, Eoin Duncan; Brian Lynam, Jude Keegan. Subs used: Matthew Bradley and Ned Cully. St. Brigid’s lined out as follows in their SHC relegation match against Delvin: Seamus Faulkner; Bernard Kiernan, Darren Quinn, Paul Brady; Colin Gavin, Dermot Faulkner, Brian Slevin; Stephen Quinn, Paul Carey; Jamie Gonoud, Philip Sheridan, Ciaran Geraghty; Eanna Gallagher, James Keegan, Ciaran Daly. Subs used: Sean Judge, Conor Slevin and Lee Wallace.

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Jamie Gonoud shortens the grip to get his strike in

Ciaran Daly was the club’s top scorer in 2012

Michael Geraghty moves in to block down Raharney’s Conor Jordan


KILLUCAN Joseph Boyle takes on the St Malachy’s defence

R

elief was the overriding feeling in Killucan after they produced their best performance of the year to beat St. Malachy’s in a relegation playoff replay. New chairman Alan Leech believes the Saffrons would be championship contenders if they could play like that on a more consistent basis. Killucan will have senior championship football to look forward to again this year after an emphatic relegation playoff replay victory over survival specialists St. Malachy’s at Kinnegad last September. Dual star Paul Greville scored 1-6 as the Saffrons romped to a 2-11 to 0-5 win just two weeks after Cormac Boyle had saved them from relegation with a last-gasp fisted point in extra-time. It was Killucan’s only championship victory of 2012, having earlier lost all five of their group matches to Castledaly, Coralstown/Kinnegad, Bunbrosna, Garrycastle and Tyrrellspass. “We very relieved to stay up,” Killucan’s new chairman Alan Leech admits. “It was a disappointing year. We just never seemed to click. We had good leads on Kinnegad and Bunbrosna, but weren’t able to close those games out. I don’t think we were ruthless enough. However, we saved our best display ‘til last against St. Malachy’s. We showed what we are capable of with our performance in the replay. If we had performed like

SAFFRONS DODGE RELEGATION BULLET that in every game last year, we’d have been in the knockout stages. “There’s lots of ability and talent in our squad. We have top-class county hurlers who are also very good footballers. It’s just a matter of getting it out of them. In fairness to them, they rallied when they needed to last year.” While taking encouragement from Killucan’s league form and their utter refusal to surrender their senior status, Alan fears emigration could weaken their hand in the coming

year. “We’ve five players who are currently based in the UK for work reasons,” he explains. “Paul Greville won’t be back until August, while Tony Doyle, Francis Boyle, Cormac Boyle and Chris Flanagan are also working over there. There’s a chance we’ll have them for some games, but not all. Brian Smyth joined a club in London last year and we can’t afford to lose anyone else. “The big positive I would take out of

Ladies Junior champions 2012. Front row l\r: Jacinta Goonery, Nicola Morley, Niamh Horan, Teresa Lynch, Belinda Gorman, Faye Dunne, Esther Duignan, Elaine Finn, Amy Goonery, Leanne Darby, Regina Morley. Back row l\r: Peter Mullen, Fiona Leavy, Aoife Boyle, Liz Shaw, Pamela Greville, Lesley Smith, Aoife Duignan, Jean Flanagan, Rebecca Smith, Hannah Mullen, Amanda Croash, Aileen Leavy, Rachel O Malley, Jenna McKeogh, Sandra Carey, Brendan McKeogh

182


last year was our league form. We had some great wins and were only pipped for promotion from Division 2 by St. Loman’s. We were competitive in all of our championship games except for the ones against Garrycastle and Tyrrellspass, so there is plenty of reason for optimism facing into the new campaign.” The tone for a disappointing championship was set when Killucan – who were jointly-managed by Graham O’Connor and Johnny Greville – lost their opening game to Castledaly by 0-11 to 2-12 at Cusack Park. Castledaly led by 1-7 to 0-7 at the break thanks to a fortuitous Alan Stone goal in the fifth minute. Points from Paul Greville and James Nugent reduced the deficit to the minimum after the restart, but Castledaly regained control when Paul Kelly swooped for their second goal. Killucan didn’t lie down and responded with points from Greville and substitute Joey Boyle, but Castledaly finished the stronger to win by seven. Despite dominating the opening quarter of their second outing against

neighbours Coralstown/Kinnegad, Killucan eventually succumbed to a 1-5 to 0-10 defeat. The Saffrons raced into a 1-3 to 0-0 lead inside 16 minutes thanks to points from Padraig Leavy (two frees) and Alan Aughey, and a goal from Joey Boyle, but they failed to score again in the first half as Coralstown/Kinnegad fought back to go into the interval on level terms, 0-6 to 1-3. The winners went three points clear in the third quarter before Killucan’s long scoring drought was finally ended by Cormac Boyle. The same player brought the sides level in the 49th minute, but Coralstown/Kinnegad grabbed the last two points in a stormy finish which saw a player from each side given their marching orders. With both teams without a win, Killucan’s third round clash with Bunbrosna took on huge significance. The Saffrons settled quickly and built up an early 0-5 to 0-1 lead thanks to points from Cormac Boyle, Chris Flanagan, Dan Riggs, Paul Greville and James Nugent. Peter Tormey and Fintan Finnan replied for Bun’,

but Killucan were looking good for victory when Cormac Boyle, Joey Boyle, Nugent and Greville tagged on scores to leave them perched on a 09 to 0-4 interval lead. Tormey and Nugent exchanged points after the resumption, but it all started to go horribly wrong for Killucan after that as Padraic Walsh began to dictate the game from midfield for Bun’. The Longfordborder outfit posted five unanswered points to level matters before completing a 0-14 to 0-12 comeback win courtesy of late scores from Peter Tormey and Kevin Mitchell. That defeat had a demoralising effect on Killucan who were well beaten in their remaining two group games against Garrycastle and Tyrrellspass. A crushing 0-8 to 3-13 defeat to Garrycastle in Moate confirmed their involvement in the relegation playoff. The result was never in doubt after Conor Cosgrove bagged a brace of first half goals to give Garrycastle a 2-6 to 0-4 advantage at half-time. Killucan had only pride to play for in their final group match against

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Jenna McKeogh, Teresa Lynch, Rachel O’Malley celebrate their success

Paul Greville is a talented dual star

Darren Brady gathers the ball in goals

Tyrrellspass, which was played in conditions that would have been better suited to water polo in Rochfortbridge. The Saffrons got off to a terrible start when Michael Boyle put through his own net after only three minutes, but a James Nugent goal left them just three points adrift, 1-2 to 1-5, at the break. Nugent raised a second green flag in the second half, but overall Killucan found scores very difficult to come by. This was illustrated by their failure to register a point from play until the final minute as they crashed to a 2-4 to 2-10 defeat. It was now a do-or-die situation for Killucan, and they had to pull out all the stops to earn a 2-11 to 1-14 draw with St. Malachy’s after extra-time. Cormac Boyle’s 20th minute goal had Killucan 1-4 to 0-3 ahead at half-time in normal time, but Malachy’s displayed their renowned battling qualities in the second period to force extra-time. The CastletownGeoghegan men looked to have finally got on top when they opened up a two-point lead in the second period of extra-time, but the Saffrons dug deep and lived to fight another day thanks to late efforts from James Nugent and Cormac Boyle. The replay was expected to be another close affair but, showing considerable improvement from the drawn encounter, Killucan emerged as comfortable 12-point winners. Paul Greville and James Nugent scored 2-8 between them on a day when Malachy’s managed just one point from play and had to rely on veteran forward Alan Mangan for all of their scores. Fergus Doyle has since taken over the managerial reins from Graham O’Connor and Johnny Greville – who has been appointed a county hurling selector – and Alan Leech is looking forward to a much better year from the Saffrons. “Fergus is another in-house appointment. He has managed a lot of the lads at underage level so he knows what they’re about,” says the chairman, whose sons Sean and Conor are members of Killucan’s U10 and U8 teams. “The club is a good place at the moment. We are working hard at underage level and I’d expect us to

185

Mark Glennon had an impressive campaign in 2012

Rory O’Reilly wins this race for possession

James Nugent tries to keep his eye on the ball


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186


Paul Greville shows great power as he surges forward

James Nugent takes on the Bunbrosna defence

John Shaw climbs high for this ball

have strong U10, U12, U14 and minor teams this year. Our U14s were beaten in a county semi-final by Tyrrellspass last year. “We are due to start work shortly on our new community centre at Killucan Park. The funding has been approved, so the sod should be turned very soon. We have a bit of work to do on the surface of the pitch owing to the amount of use it got last year. With Joristown being redeveloped, we had the Raharney hurling and camogie teams as well as our own football and ladies football teams training on it.” 2012 was a great year for the Killucan ladies, who captured their second intermediate championship in three years. Managed by Brendan McKeogh, Paul O’Malley, Keith Quinn and David Carr, they defeated Moate by 0-10 to 0-7 to make an instant return to the top flight where they will hope to stay significantly longer this time. Moate opened the scoring through Claire Killian before three points in-arow from Fiona Leavy put Killucan in the driving seat. The Saffrons went on to lead by 0-5 to 0-3 at half-time and with Leavy and Westmeath’s 2011 All-Ireland winning intermediate captain Elaine Finn pulling the strings, they had stretched their lead to three points by the final whistle. Killucan lined out as follows in their SFC relegation playoff replay victory over St. Malachy’s: Darren Brady; Tony Doyle, Francis Boyle, Michael Boyle; Alan Aughey, Stephen Morley, John Shaw; Conor Jordan, Padraig Leavy; Robbie Greville, James Nugent, Cormac Boyle; Shane Leavy, Paul Greville, Joey Boyle. Subs used: Mark Glennon and Christopher Flanagan. The Killucan ladies football team which overcame Moate in the intermediate final was: Lesley Hynes; Jacinta Goonery, Teresa Lynch, Esther Duignan; Faye Dunne, Pamela Greville, Rebecca Smyth; Rachel O’Malley, Jena McKeogh; Elaine Finn, Fiona Leavy, Regina Morley; Niamh Horan, Aileen Leavy, Aoife Boyle.

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Shane Leavy uses evasive action to avoid being tackled

Padraig Leavy is held back as he tries to go forward

Cormac Boyle is set for a bright future in the game


THE DOWNS Niall O’Doherty takes on the Athlone defence

F

or the second time in four seasons, The Downs were forced to pull out all the stops to avoid relegation from the senior ranks. Needless to say, their manager Tommy Kelly is hoping for better in the coming year. “It was a battle to stay up,” admits The Downs manager Tommy Kelly after a difficult year that saw the once-mighty black and ambers threatened by relegation until the last round of the group stage when they edged out St. Malachy’s to avoid a playoff against neighbours Killucan. It was a case of Na Dunta saving their best performance ‘til last after they had lost all four of their previous SFC group matches. Their cause wasn’t helped by the departure of team trainer Padraig Farrell – who has since taken charge of the Offaly minors – with two rounds left to play. In the end, it was left to Kelly and his selectors Dermot Egerton, Brian Murtagh and Kieran Carroll (former manager Johnny Murray also gave a hand) to rally their depleted team for one big final effort which, as it turned out, was good enough to keep them in the top flight where they’ve been ever-present since 1964. “With the way things had gone, we ended up putting everything into that last game against St. Malachy’s. We survived a relegation playoff against Bunbrosna in 2009 and the last place

RELIEF ALL ROUND we wanted to find ourselves was in another one,” recalls Tommy, who will manage The Downs again in 2013 (Fr. Padraig Corcoran will be one of his selectors). “If we had got our act together earlier in the year, we mightn’t have been in that position. But when you’re down eight or nine players like we were, it’s very difficult. It took us a while to readjust our team and to get

that elusive win.” Emigration robbed Kelly of key players like Greg Crowley, Ben Hogan, Stephen Devine and Jack Hogan, while 1995 All-Ireland minor final man of the match Tommy Cleary was unavailable due to injury. In addition, county hurler Brendan Murtagh and Shane Power didn’t become available until the game against St. Malachy’s.

Senior B championship winning squad. Front row l\r: Dean Egerton, Conor Thompson, Peter Conneely (mascot), Vincent Conneely, Sean Loughlin, Trevor McCormack, Kevin Smullen, Declan Lynam (captain), Luke Loughlin, Mark Leavy, Shane Carroll. Back row l\r: Adam Price, Cathal Scally, Shane Egerton, Kevin McGuire, Shane Raleigh, Niall Murray, Niall Folan, PJ Maguire, Niall O’Doherty, Dean Moran, Joe Corroon, Brendan Flynn, Conor Carley, Kyle Gavin, Padraig Corcoran, Cian Quinn

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The Downs ladies squad. Front row l\r: Kevin Staunton, Sinead Murray, Leanne Duncan, Laura Wynne, Aoife Rowan, Ellen Tate, Sarah McGuire, Claire Crowley, Emma Murtagh, Ursula Carley, Linda Heffernan, Carmel Colman, Ruth Kenny, Mick Wynne. Back row l\r: Niamh Moriarity, Roisin Scally, Beth McGuire, Amy Staunton, Mary Lynam, Gillian Ferguson, Ashling Egerton Fiona Dignam, Rebecca Kelly, Sinead Nolan, Bernie Corroon

“Brendan was tied up with the hurling and Shane was only coming back from a cruciate ligament injury,” explains Tommy who, in his previous spell as manager, guided The Downs to Flanagan Cup wins in 2003 and 2005. “We were left with little option but to blood young lads like PJ Maguire and Luke Loughlin. While we got a good, honest effort from every player, it’s hard for the fellas stepping up from minor because they don’t fully understand what’s expected of a senior footballer. The demands are far greater and, of course, it’s a big step-up in a physical sense as well.” The tone for a tone championship

better of The Downs who finished the campaign was set when The Downs lost their opening game to Athlone by game with just 13 players. 0-5 to 1-8 at Cusack Park. The black The Downs were once again offand ambers endured a torrid first half, colour in their 0-8 to 1-12 second at the end of which Best Wishes To The Downs GAA they trailed by 0-0 from to 1-4. They fell further in arrears after the restart before 17-year-old county minor Luke Loughlin led a mini-revival. But Cooksboro, Cloughan, Athlone’s lead was Mullingar, Co. Westmeath. never seriously threatened and frustration eventually got the

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The Downs Ladies under 14 Feile Westmeath champions All-Ireland Finalists. Front row l\r: Britney McNamee, Roisin McDonagh, Chloe Gavigan, Ciara Rattigan, Natalie Ward, Katie Heffernan, Emma Murtagh, Niamh Rowan, Serena Wynne, Megan Keenaghan, Niamh Moore, Anna Murtagh. Back row l\r: Aoife Carley, Niamh Nolan, Karen Lynam, Shauna Conneely, Amber Gilligan, Orla Gavin, Grace Raleigh, Naoise O’Donoghue, Amy Dagg, Saoirse McCourt, Aoife Kearney, Emily O’Rourke, Lauren Flaherty

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Sarah McGuire accepts the junior Cup from Geraldine Giles

Declan Lynam accepts the Senior ‘B’ shield from Sean Sheridan

Geraldine Giles presents the Player of the Match award to Gillian Ferguson

round defeat to Maryland in Moate. They found themselves 0-2 to 1-7 in arrears at the break and the game was put beyond them when their Drumraney-based opponents grabbed the first four points of the second half. The Downs then scored five unanswered points of their own before Luke Folan had a penalty saved by Thomas Moran five minutes from the end. A 0-9 to 0-15 defeat to neighbours Mullingar Shamrocks signalled the end of Padraig Farrell’s brief involvement with the black and ambers. The Tubber man didn’t reappear for the second half after his side had trailed by 0-2 to 0-12 at the interval. As it transpired, they were much-improved in the second period, but left themselves with too much to do. The Downs’ season hit rock bottom when they suffered a disastrous 0-6 to 2-19 defeat to St. Loman’s. It left them needing to beat fellowrelegation candidates St. Malachy’s in their final group match on a rainsoaked Rochfortbridge pitch. Playing route-one football with the aid of the wind in the first half, The Downs went into the break holding a commanding 0-8 to 0-1 lead. They signalled their intentions with a point from Barry Conroy inside the first 20 seconds after a neat layoff by full forward Noel Molloy, who was an effective target man in the first half. Conroy and Tommy Carey exchanged points before The Downs went on to dominate the remainder of the half. Mark Dalton, Brendan Murtagh, Luke Loughlin and Kevin Smullen all raised white flags to leave Na Dunta seven clear at half-time. St. Malachy’s halved the deficit – 04 to 0-8 – with 23 minutes still to play, but The Downs responded with four points in-a-row per Smullen, Barry Conroy, Loughlin and substitute Keith Shanley to open up an eight-point lead for the first time. However, showing the never-say-die attitude that has seen them survive many a relegation scrap over the years, St. Malachy’s staged a late comeback that had The Downs praying for the final whistle to sound. Alan Mangan started the comeback with a brace of braces before

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Luke Loughlin is set for a bright future in the game

A determined Niall Folan in action during the senior ‘B’ final

The evergreen Sean Loughlin is still going strong


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Tel: 087-2061147/087-9271943/044-9664571 shooting into the left corner of Ciaran McCormack’s net in the first minute of injury-time. Ronan Whelan and Joe Clarke tagged on quick scores to reduce the deficit to the minimum, but The Downs held on for a 0-12 to 1-8 victory. “We were lucky to hang on in the second half,” Tommy concedes. “We played our best football of the year in the first half, but because we hadn’t the work done in the early part of the year, we were a bit leg-weary towards the end. I also think that we got St. Malachy’s at a good time as they may have been a bit demoralised at the manner in which they lost to Athlone in the previous round.” While The Downs may have avoided championship relegation, they couldn’t avoid demotion in the league. Their second team were also pipped for promotion from Division 4 after losing what was effectively a league decider to St. Loman’s. “We’re down in Division 2 this year, but that might not be a bad thing as there are three other senior clubs in

the division and it gives us the opportunity to build up a bit of momentum going into the championship. We were unlucky to be relegated because we beat Maryland and Tang, and when we played Garrycastle, Tyrrellspass and Mullingar Shamrocks, they had their county players. “Our aim for the coming year is to come back up from Division 2 and to reach the knockout stages of the championship. There is no reason why we can’t get up to the level the likes of Maryland and Castledaly are at. We don’t want a situation like last year where we constantly looking over our shoulders.” As the club’s coaching and development officer and U16 manager, Johnny Murray is working hard to put solid underage structures in place and to ensure that The Downs have a steady stream of young players coming through to their senior team. “One of the reasons why we’re struggling at the moment is because our underage teams haven’t

produced as many senior players as we would have liked. Our U14 team reached the Feile final last year and that’s an encouraging sign. We have 20 Level 1 coaches in the club at present which is the highest in Leinster. We want to get ourselves into a position where we have three or four youngsters coming through to the senior team every year,” Johnny says. 2012 was a wonderful year for The Downs’ ladies football teams. The U14s won the county Feile title and subsequently reached the All-Ireland final, the U16s won a county championship, but the highlight was undoubtedly the historic junior championship success which has secured the club’s place in the intermediate ranks for the coming year. These achievements earned The Downs the prestigious Club of the Year award in ladies football. The Downs team which defeated St. Malachy’s to preserve their senior status was: Ciaran McCormack; Niall Nolan, Mark Dalton, Declan Lynam; Conor Carley,

The under-14 squad that lost to Shandonagh in the Feile final

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Jack O’Brien is a star of the future

Steven Cleary, Sean Loughlin; PJ Maguire, Brendan Murtagh; Shane Power, Kevin Smullen, Barry Conroy; Luke Loughlin, Noel Molloy, Dean Egerton. Subs used: Keith Shanley and Shane Carroll. The Downs U14 team that lost the Feile na nOg final to Shandonagh was: Richie Cleary; Darragh Monaghan, Paul Lynam, Joseph Moran; Philip Martin, Darragh Flynn, John Kenny; Sean Loughlin-Stones, Adam LoughlinStones; Evan Eivers, Dylan Carroll, Ciaran Nolan; Joseph Robson, Jonathan Raleigh, Jack O’Brien. Subs used: Darragh Murray, Evan O’Riordan, Darragh Faulkner, Conor Gavin and Alex Henry.

The tight marking Conor Carley battles for possession

SENIOR ‘B’ SUCCESS

PJ Maguire on the ball during the SFC

Steven Cleary loses out in this aerial challenge

A disappointing season for The Downs ended on a positive note when the club’s second team eased to a 1-15 to 0-7 victory over Bunbrosna in the senior ‘B’ football championship final on December 29. Played in The Downs, the game was effectively over at half-time when the home side held a 1-7 to 00 lead. The black and ambers got off to the perfect start when a thirdminute Niall Folan goal was followed by points from Luke Loughlin and PJ Maguire. County minor Loughlin was the best player on view and went on to add three further points in a onesided first half. Bunbrosna, who made three substitutions at the break, finally opened their account in the 35th minute through Liam Mitchell. But they never looked like making up the deficit and The Downs sealed a comfortable win with points from PJ Maguire, Sean Loughlin, Niall Folan and substitute Dean Egerton inside the last 10 minutes. The Downs team was: Kevin Maguire; Brendan Flynn, Declan Lynam (captain), Trevor McCormack; Shane Raleigh, Shane Egerton, Niall Murray; PJ Maguire, Vincent Conneely; Sean Loughlin, Cathal Scally, Kevin Smullen; Luke Loughlin, Niall Folan, Shane Carroll. Subs used: Adam Price, Cian Quinn, Dean Egerton, Mark Leavy, Niall O’Doherty.

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Fiona Dignan waits for the ball to drop into her arms

Niamh Rowan shows great speed in the Feile final


BALLINAGORE

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avourites in many observers’ eyes for relegation from the IFC, Ballinagore defied the odds by staying up. For manager and former star defender Louis Ennis, avoiding the dreaded relegation playoff for the first time in three years represented progress. “No one saw this one coming.” So read the Westmeath Topic’s report on Ballinagore’s shock 2-6 to 0-11 victory over St. Mary’s in their final group game of last year’s championship, which saw the Brosnasiders preserve their intermediate status without having to face a relegation playoff. Instead, it was Shandonagh who had the dubious honour of playing Garrycastle’s second team for their intermediate survival. Having defeated Kilbeggan Shamrocks and Moate All-Whites in relegation playoffs in 2010 and 2011, it made a welcome change for one of the county’s smallest clubs not to be involved in another relegation dogfight. “People weren’t giving us a chance. They had us chalked down as relegation certainties at the start of the year,” asserts Louis Ennis, who can look back on first season as Ballinagore manager with satisfaction. “We were odds-on for another relegation playoff going into our last group match against St. Mary’s, but,

Ian Seery uses his strength to evade this tackle

BETTER FROM BALLINAGORE to their immense credit, the players managed to pull out the big performance when it was needed. Okay, there wasn’t a lot at stake for St. Mary’s, but we still had to go and win the game which was a great achievement for these lads. I was very proud of them because they had been completely written off. “Our goal at the beginning of 2012 was to stay up without having to go

through a relegation playoff. By doing that, we improved on the previous two years when we were in playoffs. What made it all the more commendable is we managed to it without our two marquee forwards, James Durkan and Tommy McDaniel, who were in Australia last year.” Ennis, whose selectors are Kevin Deegan and Rory O’Brien, believes there is a strong chance the Pairc

St Malachys/Ballinagore Minor 2 Champions. Front row l/r: Kieran Glennon (Capt.), Seán Mullarkey, Paddy Doody, Alan Kincaid, Johnny Bermingham, Eoin Mullarkey, David Keegan, Pauric Kincaid, Stephen Fagan, Liam Cassidy. Back row l/r: Michael Heeney, Niall O'Brien, Eoin Quinn, Alan Clarke, Liam Varley, Enda Claffey, Shane Clavin, Cathal Daly, Conor Glennon, Frankie Deegan, David Pidgeon

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Bhodhrain outfit would have been relegated if they had not beaten St. Mary’s. “If you keep going into the relegation match, you’re going to lose eventually. Someday your luck is going to run out and who’s to say our luck wouldn’t have run out last year if we had been there again.” He continues: “We had two big results last year. One was beating St. Mary’s and the other was drawing with Ballymore in the first round of the championship. If we hadn’t picked up that point, the win over St. Mary’s wouldn’t have been enough to keep us out of the relegation match.” Ballinagore struggled in the early stages of the Ballymore encounter at Moate’s Hogan Park, falling three points in arrears inside the opening 10 minutes. Midfielder Stewart Gavin eventually opened their account in the 14th minute and they went on to lead by 0-4 to 0-3 at the break thanks to further scores from Ciaran Carey (two) and Christy Maloney. Ballymore regained the initiative after the restart through points from Mike Slevin, Daley McCormack and Alan Slevin before efforts from Gavin and county star Michael Ennis tied up the scoring at 0-6 apiece after 42 minutes. After a pair of Daley McCormack points had edged Ballymore back in front, Eoin Miller kicked three frees on the trot to give the Brosnasiders the slenderest of leads with three minutes remaining. But they had to settle for a 0-9 apiece draw after McCormack landed a late equalising free. Ballingore had to wait three months for their next championship game against Rosemount. The long layoff didn’t seem to do them any favours as they crashed to a 18 to 3-11 defeat in Moate. Eoin Miller netted an early penalty, but Rosemount recovered to lead by 1-4 to 1-3 at the interval. The black and ambers put themselves out of sight when they scored 1-6 without reply in a blistering 14minute spell after the restart. Ballinagore’s relegation worries heightened when they succumbed to Shandonagh by 1-6 to 0-13 in their third outing at Lakepoint Park. Ballinagore entered the game with high hopes of repeating their famous 2007 IFC final victory over their Kilpatrick-based rivals, and Eoin Miller’s second penalty in as many games left them just a point adrift at halftime, 1-2 to 0-6. But they could never get to grips with Shandonagh’s accurate wing forward Alan Hickey whose tally of 0-9 (0-7 from frees) propelled them to their only

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Brian Sheerin shows great determination

group victory. A crushing 22-point defeat, 1-3 to 416, to champions-elect CastletownFinea/Coole/Whitehall left Ballinagore bottom of the group heading into the final round of games. The north county side had victory wrapped up by half-time when two goals from Kevin Brazil and another from Niall Kilcoyne had them perched on a 3-9 to 0-2 lead. They bagged a further 1-6 without reply after the resumption before Ian Seery grabbed a consolation goal for the men in white and maroon. Ballinagore are no strangers to performing Houdini-like acts and the latest was witnessed at Lakepoint Park last August when they surprised St. Mary’s. The victory, coupled with Shandonagh’s heavy defeat to Ballymore, meant there would be no relegation playoff for the club which is situated between Kilbeggan and Mullingar in 2012. Louis Ennis’ fired-up charges laid the foundations for their win in the first half when goals by Ian Seery and Niall Kelly helped them to a 2-2 to 05 interval lead. With Michael Ennis an inspirational figure at centre back, Ballinagore extended their advantage to 2-4 to 0-5 in the early stages of the second half. The Rochfortbridge men, who had only pride to play for, battled back to

James Keegan wins possession during the IFC clash against Shandonagh

Cathal Ennis surges forward against St Mary’s

Shane Heraty battles for aerial possession

Niall Kelly gathers the ball against Shandonagh

Brian Sheerin has emerged as an outstanding talent

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Ian Seery lays off a pass against Shandonagh


“The only good thing about playing in Division 4 is that it’s a division we have a realistic chance of winning. If we can get the same level of commitment as last year from the players, if Tommy McDaniel is still around (the former Westmeath forward returned from Australia at the end of last year) and if the young players can step up to the mark, I’d be confident that we can make further progress in the year ahead.” The Ballinagore team which defeated St. Mary’s to preserve their intermediate status was: Mark Doyle; Mark King, Pat Heduan, Enda Claffey; Brian Sheerin, Michael Ennis, Ciaran Carey; Eoin Miller, JJ Hegarty; Ciaran Deegan, Dan Gavin, Paul Maloney; Ian Seery, Niall Kelly, Cathal Ennis. Subs used: Michael Gannon and James Sheerin. Ciaran Carey in action during the championship clash against Shandonagh

level through Kieran Geraghty in the 56th minute, but Ballinagore weren’t to be denied and Eoin Miller had the final say when he converted the winning free in the final minute of normal time after Kelly was fouled. “It was such a relief to win that game,” remembers Louis, who replaced Tyrrellspass man Mark Staunton as manager at the start of the year after a long and distinguished playing career during which he garnered two JFC medals (1994 and 2005), a Leinster club JFC medal (2005) and an IFC medal in 2007. “It was an up-and-down sort of a year for us, but we achieved what we set out to achieve and that is the main

thing. The club is going through a transition phase at the moment, but we have good young players like Frankie Deegan, Enda Claffey, Cathal Daly and Michael Heeney coming through, and that bodes well for the future.” Ballinagore couldn’t avoid relegation in the league with a onepoint defeat to a much-improved Multyfarnham condemning them to Division 4 football for 2013. “We were very disappointed to be relegated, but our league form was poor all year. We would have stayed up if we had beaten Multy, but we had a six-week wait to that game and that didn’t do us any favours,” the Ballinagore manager says.

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BALLYNACARGY

B

allynacargy continued their winning ways at underage level last year when they secured an U14 and U16 Division 2 championship double. In a year when their intermediate team agonisingly missed out on a championship quarter-final place on scoring difference, Ballynacargy took solace from the success of their underage teams. The Moynihan Park outfit have emerged as a serious underage force in recent years, winning historic U14 and U16 Division 1 championship in 2010 and 2011 respectively. Last year, they captured U14 and U16 Division 2 championship titles, but U16 manager Tommy Keena admits the latter success failed to satisfy his team’s ambitions. “We were a bit disappointed not to win the U16 Division 1 championship,” he says. “Don’t get me wrong, we were delighted to win a Division 2 title, but after winning the U14 Division 1 championship in 2010, we had our sights set on winning the big prize. We failed to qualify for the Division 1 championship after beating Moate All-Whites, drawing with Mullingar

Paul McDonnell powers forward

UNDERAGE DOUBLE FOR BAL’ to

beating Tubberclair in the final. It

Milltownpass in the qualifying rounds.

says a lot for how much expectations

Shamrocks

and

losing

“That was a big setback to us but, in

have risen in the club that we are now

fairness to the lads, they regrouped

disappointed when we don’t win

very well and we saw off Caulry and

Division 1 titles. That would have

St.

been unthinkable a few years ago.”

Malachy’s/Ballinagore

before

The Under-14 Division 2 champions. Front row l/r: Seamus Gannon, Conor Keena, Thomas Nally, Bradley Keena, David Riggs, Michael Nally, Rhys Keena, Jordan Penrose, Frankie Keena, Adam Conroy. Back row l/r: Cian Maher, Conor Lynam, Luke Price, Troy Maher, David McDonagh, Eoin Nally, Senan Lynam, Tadhg Conroy, Fergal Conroy - (Conroy Recycling Company, Club Sponsor)

198


Bal’ withstood a strong second half rally by Tubberclair to win the U16 Division 2 championship title at Drumraney in mid-October. After the underdogs had taken an early two-point lead, Christopher Loran netted a fourth-minute penalty to give Ballynacargy a lead they wouldn’t relinquish. Loran, Philip Price, Wayne Kelly, Eoin Nally and Adam Kelly tagged on points to leave the blue and golds perched on a 1-8 to 0-4 lead at the interval. Tubberclair made an ideal start to the second half when Breen Eliott’s fisted goal was quickly followed by a Robert Curley point. Nally and Loran replied with scores for the winners before Nicky Kelly struck a second Tubberclair goal in the 41st minute to leave just two points in it, 2-5 to 1-10. But Ballynacargy refused to panic. Loran converted a free and then set up midfielder Jack Kearney for a superb point. Tubberclair remained in contention with points from Curley and Gavin Hanley before their hopes were finally ended by Eoin Nally’s goal with five minutes remaining. Wayne Kelly and topscorer Christopher Loran added late points to seal a 2-14 to 2-8 victory. “It was a great win because we were the favourites and there was a lot of pressure on us,” enthuses Keena, whose fellow U16 mentors were Tom Kearney, Ger Wilson and Paul Byrne. The first leg of the double came four weeks earlier at Cusack Park where Ballynacargy defeated Milltownpass by 3-9 to 1-7 to

Eoin Nally played a captain’s part in the under-14 final

Richard Price weighs up his options

capture their first ever U14 Division 2 championship. Despite the fact that Bal’ had contested Division 1 finals in the previous two years, Tommy – who was also involved with the U14s along with his brother and manager Paul, Damien Maher and Anthony Riggs – insists the success was unexpected. “We only had a panel of 18, so you would have to say this team did exceptionally well to win a championship. But when you have six strong players down the middle like we had, you always have a chance,” he says. After a scrappy opening period, the final came to life in the 21st minute when David Keena and Eoin Nally combined to set up Rhys Keena for the opening goal. Less than a minute later, Shane Boyce raised a green flag at the other end to bring Milltownpass back into it, and the sides went into the break level on 1-3 apiece. The signs looked ominous for Ballynacargy when Milltownpass grabbed the first three points of the second half to open up a 1-6 to 1-3 lead, but Paul Keena’s charges never looked back after Eoin Nally and Troy Maher scored goals in quick succession to propel them into a 3-3 to 1-6 lead. With the momentum now firmly behind them, the blue and golds had further points from Rhys Keena, Troy Maher, Eoin Nally and Luke Price to run out 3-9 to 1-7 winners. Bal’ could also take encouragement from the performances of their minor team which was managed by Frank

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Lynam, Ciaran Kerrigan and Tommy Reilly. After drawing with Mullingar Shamrocks, losing narrowly to St. Loman’s and overcoming The Downs, they were defeated by Maryland/Tang in the Division 2 championship semi-final. “We had a very young minor team – all of them were U17 – so we’ll be expecting big things of them in the coming year,” continues Tommy, who was also manager of the Westmeath U16 team last year. Staying with underage affairs, Ballynacargy also hosted the inaugural U10 Matt Slevin Memorial Cup tournament which was contested by teams from Caulry, Shandonagh, Multyfarnham and the home club. The final ended up being a local derby clash between Ballynacargy and Multy, which the visitors won in the dying moments.

After a difficult 2011 which saw them threatened by relegation until they defeated Moate All-Whites in the last round of the group stages, Ballynacargy showed a marked improvement in last year’s intermediate championship. However, they still failed to reach the knockout stages after going down badly to Tang in their final group match. Under the management of John Mulligan, who was assisted by Tom Kearney and Sean Maher, Bal’ looked set to make a winning start to their Division A campaign when they led Caulry by 0-7 to 0-3 early in the second half of their rain-soaked clash at Pairc Chiarain, but a 35th minute Alan Fitzpatrick goal turned the game decisively in the Mount Temple’s men favour, and they went on to register a 29 to 0-10 victory. Ballynacargy secured the

Eoin Nally lifts the U14 Division 2 Cup

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first of three wins when they accounted for Milltownpass by 111 to 0-11 at Shandonagh. Milltownpass were five points ahead a minute after the restart, but Bal’ turned it around thereafter by scoring 1-7 without reply between the 34th and 58th minutes, with their goal coming from a Gary Keena penalty eight minutes from the end. Bal’ enjoyed a comfortable 1-14 to 0-6 victory over Garrycastle’s second team in their third outing before edging out Tubberclair by 1-10 to 1-9 in a thrilling contest at Rosemount. After Michael Loran’s early goal, the blue and golds led until the 57th minute when Alan Coffey levelled for Tubberclair. But John Mulligan’s men had the final say when Loran kicked the winning point two minutes into injury-time. A win or draw against Tang in their final group game was all Ballynacargy needed to qualify for the quarter-finals, but in what was their poorest display of the championship, they crashed to a 0-7 to 1-11 defeat. Niall Bannon’s stoppage-time goal had Tang 1-6 to 0-3 ahead at the break and their lead was never threatened thereafter as they progressed to the knockout stages along with Caulry and Tubberclair. Ballynacargy will be managed this year by Frank Mescall, who

Liam O'Reilly has been one of the top forwards in the intermediate grade for many years

spent the last three years in charge of neighbouring Milltown. Frank is a familiar face around Moynihan Park, having previously served a number of roles in the club, including that of manager. Indeed, Bal’ supporters still fondly remember his heroics in 1995 and ’96 when he led the blue and golds to back-to-back junior and intermediate championship triumphs. “I won an intermediate championship medal under him in 1996 and if anyone is going to get it out of them, it’s Frank,” Tommy Keena says of the Clare native, whose selectors will be former players Declan Farrell, Aidan Lyons and Derek Wallace. Ballynacargy’s U16 Division 2 champions were: Daryl Connolly; Ben Wilson, Gary Fagan (captain), Tom Gavin; Senan Lynam, Jack Penrose, Jake O’Meara; Adam Kelly, Jack Kearney; Eoin Nally, Wayne Kelly, Regan Maher; Philip Price, Christopher Loran, Edward Nally. Sub used: Troy Maher. The U14 team which accounted for Milltownpass in the Division 2 championship final was: Michael Nally; Conor Lynam, David Keena, Frankie Keena; Seamus Gannon, Senan Lynam, Conor Keena; Luke Price, Troy Maher; David Riggs, Eoin Nally (captain), Adam Conroy; Jordan Penrose, Rhys Keena, Thomas Nally. Subs used: Bradley Keena, Cian Maher and Tadhg Conroy. The Ballynacargy team that defeated Tubberclair in last year’s IFC was: Michael Penrose; Aidan Scally, Kieran ‘Froggy’ Sheridan, Cathal Burke; Eoin Burke, Willie Murtagh, John Keena; Richard Price, Tony Doran; Gary Keena, Jason Wallace, Danny Scally; Michael Loran, Dwayne Maher, Jamie Loran. Subs used: Dylan Keena, Danny Keena and Declan McGuinness.

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Summercamps


ST. OLIVER PLUNKETTS

T

he importance of an underage structure in any club cannot be emphasised enough as the future of any team depends on players coming through the ranks. However, in some cases when a club has been doing well at adult level, their underage can suffer and this usually has a knock on effect for future teams. These days, it is even more difficult to entice children to play hurling and football as there are so many other distractions for them to focus on. The popularity of soccer and rugby to name just a couple of sports has certainly increased amongst youngsters, especially in the urban areas where these games are commonly played. Gone are the days when a town team was guaranteed to dominate at any underage level as the rural clubs like Clonkill and Raharney lead the way in Westmeath. However, Mullingar outfit St Oliver Plunkett's have placed an even greater focus on their underage structure in a bid to close the gap with the big two. Plunkett's have always worked hard to develop their underage system and they bore fruits of the labour throughout the 90's and early 00's as county titles were secured on a regular basis. The club is still managing its fair share of success, but Plunkett's secretary Mark Landy revealed to the Maroon & White that

Noel Gavin uses his strength to burst through the St Brigid’s rearguard

PLUNKETT’S PLAN FOR THE FUTURE they have just completed a busy year in developing their underage structure. “At the start of the year, it was decided to put a serious effort into promoting hurling around the town. We held a number of events throughout the year to highlight this and we were delighted with the outcome,” said Mark. “Through the Jobreach scheme, we

were able to have a full time coach here. Senan Russell was appointed in that role and he worked with all the underage teams during the year and this was a huge boost to us. “Last February, we held an open day at Robinstown where we invited all youngsters along. Our under-14s played Raharney, while we had blitzes for the under-8's, 10's and 12's. This was another way for us to

Junior B Champions 2012. Front Row (l-r) Colm O'Leary, Connaire Flanagan, Fergus Walls (C), Clive Kenny, Paddy Kiernan, Ciaran Glennon, Daragh Geraghty, Peter Collins, Aaron Fitzgerald. Back Row (l-r) Ciaran Mullen, Mickey McKnight, Tony Gavin, Johnny Dooley, Jimmy Duggan, Damien Kiernan, Ross Brady, Robbie Ryland, Steven Conway, David Murray

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U16 Div 3 Champions 2012. Front Row (l-r) Luke Byrne, Conor Mount, Sean O'Brien, Craig Reilly, Ryan Purcell, Danny Purcell, Ross Corroon. Back Row (l-r) Sean Flanagan, Niall O'Toole, Niall Kevin, Paddy Lynam, Alan Kevin, Conor Bracken, Donal Liddy, Sean Kelly, Andrew Allen

promote the club and it is something that we will be looking to do again this year.” Mark revealed that this was not the last of the promotional work carried out by the club in 2012 as other events proved to be huge successes. “In August, we held a Camann Camp for 7-12 year olds and this was attended by over 40 kids. It was the same as the Cul Camps, but just ran by ourselves. It was cheaper for kids to attend and they all seemed to enjoy it very much. “We also organised a coaching session called hurling on the green and this is where we went to four estates in the town and gave coaching lessons to under-11s. This

was basically aimed at getting kids out hurling, particularly ones that mightn't play the game. I suppose another big thing was Realt Glas (Green Star) event that we organised and this is something we have been doing for the past two years, where we have a day out for the under-6s. We make a fuss over them and they have the pitch to themselves, which they seem to enjoy.” Mark added that a change to their underage training has been aimed at getting more parents involved with the teams and he feels that this too has been very beneficial to the club. “We decided last year to have all underage training on the same night. We have the two pitches here, so we

are able to facilitate all the teams concerned. This means that parents with more than one kid on different teams don't have to be running down to the pitch every other evening. “They are more inclined to stick around now and we offer them tea and coffee to make them feel welcome. The more people that help out the better it is for all and we don't mean that everyone has to take up a coaching role. In some cases people may just help out the youngsters putting on their helmets or boots, small things like, but which make a big difference.” Success wise, the club celebrated on two fronts in 2012 as their junior B side won the championship,

Senior Team 2012: Front row (l-r) Fergus Walls, Paddy Laide, Damien Kiernan, Govinda Geoghegan, Aaron Craig, Ciaran Curley, Noel Gavin, Mícheál Curley, Robbie Ryland, Dermot Curley, Connaire Flanagan, Stephen McManus. Back row (l-r): Shane Donoher, Daragh Geraghty, Mickey McKnight, Greg Gavin, Davy Gavin, Johnny Dooley, Steven Conway, Oisín Clinton, David Murray, Cian O'Leary, Ciaran Mullen

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Fergus Walls, Junior B winning captain raises the Cup in the air

Damien Kiernan is fouled as he races through the Gaels defence

Aaron Craig in action against Lough Lene Gaels

defeating Ringtown in the final, while their under-12s were the Paddy Monaghan Shield winners. “It was great for the under-12s to be asked into that tournament, because as you know there is no championship at that level, so for them to win some silverware was a massive boost to the players. “Winning the junior B was also a big thing for us as there is a good mixture of players in the team. We will be competing in the Junior A grade this year and we'd be confident that we can do well in that also.” The 2012 campaign was not one of the best for Plunkett's seniors, despite the fact that they reached yet another senior semi-final. Their inability to make it over the penultimate stage has been well documented and Mark admits that it is difficult to figure out why they are still waiting to reach their first county final. “Every year we go out with the intention of doing well in the senior championship and by that I mean reaching the county final at the very least. We have some exceptionally talented hurlers at our disposal here, some of the best in the county. It is getting harder for the current group to make the breakthrough, but hopefully with a few new faces over the next year or so, they can rectify that. “However, at the minute there is a bit of a gap between senior and the underage as we weren't able to field an under-21 team last year, while our minor team would be very short on numbers. The grades behind that are very strong and hopefully we can bring them through to adult level over the course of the next few years. We know that we have the talent there, it is just that we need to use it to the best of their potential.”

205

Summercamps


ST. PAUL’S

A

t the start of every year, GAA clubs enter the new campaign with an air of optimism and St Paul's are no different as they embark on their quest to lift the Westmeath junior football title for the first time since 1999. Ever since being relegated from the intermediate ranks at the end of the 2000 campaign, the club's main aim has been to win the junior title again. Try as they may, success has evaded them and in the intervening years, four county final defeats have followed. Losses to St Joseph's, Ballinagore, Caulry and Garrycastle have stood in the way of a return to the county's second tier championship, while in other years semi final and quarterfinal appearance have almost been a guarantee. That was until last year's campaign when failure to make it out of the group stages hit the club hard. This was indeed the first time this situation occurred since the championship success 14 years ago. A handful of players from that '99 success are still lining out for the north Westmeath side, but the likes of Dara Brady, Jimmy McQuaid, Johnny McGuinness, Paul Gilsenan and Darren Henry know that time is not on their side if they are to pick up a second winners' medal. One of those players, Jimmy McQuaid has been installed as

In safe hands. Ollie Mulvaney gathers as Gary Gilsenan looks on against Milltown

MAKE OR BREAK YEAR FOR BLUES player/manager this year and he will be assisted by the experienced Eugene Dolan and Padraig Skelly, both of who have given a life time of service to the club. This seems to have breathed new life into the current set up and there are high hopes for the 2013 campaign. Club chairman Tommy Daly echoed these sentiments to the Marron & White.

The St Paul’s/Delvin side that reached the under-16 final

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“Last year was very disappointing. It's hard to know what went wrong, but things didn’t fall into place as in other years and we paid the price,” said Tommy. “We will have a very young team out this year and it would be wrong to expect too much from them. It will take them a while to adapt to junior football. But, the fact that we have a good few coming through is a good sign for the


Aaron Clogher gathers the ball during the under-16 final

David Whelehan goes flying

club at the same time.” St Paul's kick off their championship campaign against Loughnavalley later this year and Tommy feels that not only is the championship a priority, so too is the league as they bid to gain promotion from division 4. “I think the league has to be a priority

this year. A few years back when we were in Division 3, we were playing good quality sides and it stood to us when it came to the championship. “I do believe that our failure in the championship last year had to do with playing in division 4. There is a big gulf in the standards and all the top junior

Too hot to handle. Mickey Travers struggles to get to grips with the ball

Philip Gilsenan breaks up another attack against Milltown

Ross Daly has emerged as an exceptional talent

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teams as well as some intermediate ones are there. “So that has to be a priority for us as well. A good start to the league is essential as one defeat can put you on the back foot in regards to promotion.” The club started training back towards the end of January with numbers exceeding 30 players, which for any club is phenomenal, let alone a rural club like St Paul's. “All the hurlers and footballers are training together, but to be fair over 90% of them would be dual players. There has been a great turn out so far and hopefully that continues for most of the year.” There is no question that St Paul's have the talent to go all the way in the junior championship, apart from the experienced players mentioned, the likes of Gary and Philip Gilsenan, John Fitzpatrick, Robbie Dugdale, David Dolan, Conor Slator and captain Kenny Higgins are all talented footballers. Throw in the younger crop to the mix and it bodes well for the coming year, but talent alone will not win you a championship as dedication and work rate are also some factors that need to be addressed. The players need to get behind the management team if they are to be a success this year. Many of these players have never won anything in football, especially at adult level and as the years go by, so to do the chances of rectifying that fact. The club's underage structure has

somewhat dwindled in recent years. A few years back the Clonmellon pitch would be adorned with boys and girls from under-14 down to under-8s on a Saturday morning, but interest in other sports and just no interest in football have been the main reasons for the club being unable to field at underage level on their own. Before taking on the role as chairman this year, Tommy worked closely with the underage and he has seen first hand the demise of the club in this area. “Last year we had no option but to amalgamate with Delvin at underage level. We are now joined together from under-12 right up to minor. They were having a few problems like us and we thought the best thing to do was to amalgamate. We are joined this year also and probably will be for a few years anyway. “Kids have just drifted away from the game, which is a shame. We did hold three open days in the pitch around the mid term break last year and this proved to be a great success and we are hopeful of doing the same this year, weather permitting. “It is hard to keep it going numbers wise. You go into the likes of St Loman's and you see them with maybe three under-14 teams and it puts it into perspective,” he joked. St Paul's may be considered a small rural club that is going nowhere, but nothing could be further from the truth as they build towards the future.

Jimmy McQuaid feels the full force of this challenge from St Joseph’s Aidan Lennon

Dara Brady takes another heavy hit

Robbie Dugdale has made the wing back position his own

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Lenny Higgins launches another attack on goal


ST. JOSEPH’S

T

he 2012 records read that St Joseph's failed to make the knockout stages of the junior championship, which indeed was a disappointment for the club, but a closer look at their results show that with a bit more luck, their year could have been so much different. The Streamstown outfit's one and only success in the junior championship came in 2005 when they defeated St Paul's in that year's county final. A two-year sojourn in the intermediate ranks followed before a return to the bottom tier occurred and that is where the club have been plying their trade ever since. The club's aim every year since has been to make a return to the intermediate grade, but they have failed to do so for a number of reasons. The main one being the fact that St Joseph's have been hit hard by emigration during the intervening years. The plight of players leaving home for work abroad is a situation that has plagued the GAA in recent times and

Stephen Shiels (left) and Wayne McCormack (right) win this aerial duel

JOE’S MAKE PROGRESS rural clubs like St Joseph's have suffered more than most, but they also epitomise what the GAA is all about and that is spirit and

togetherness in the face of adversity. The 2013 campaign saw St Joseph's enter the campaign with a number of new faces in their ranks as

Andrew McCormack gets his shot in before St Paul’s Jimmy McQuaid can challenge

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Thomas Duffy gets the better of three Delvin players

Padraic Seery in possession against Delvin with Jonathon Cuskelly in background

Padraic Moran sets up another attack against Delvin

their underage structure, which sees them joined with Kilbeggan Shamrocks has been the subject of a great deal of work. Club chairman Alan McDonnell knows that the work must be done at underage level in order to safeguard the future of any club and he stressed this to the Maroon & White for this year's edition of the yearbook. “We have been joined with Kilbeggan for the past ten years or so and I must say that it has worked very well for both clubs. There was no way that we could field without the amalgamation and if that was the case, the young lads would just go elsewhere and play. This would mean that we would have no one coming through the ranks and there would be no junior team in a few years,” explained Alan. “We have been hit hard by emigration over the years and for any small club to lose key players is very hard to cope with. I was actually looking at a photo of an under-16 team that we had 10 years ago and there is only three of that team still playing, so that tells its own tale. “So we are lucky to have the underage. Last year we had four or five minors come through and I think there will be something similar coming through this year also. That is good numbers for any club let alone a rural one like ours.” For the 2013 campaign Frankie Wright was brought in as manager and Alan was also part of the management team. A good start to the championship was needed and that's what happened as Loughnavalley were put to the sword on a score line of 2-22 to 0-5. Their second match was against old rivals St Paul's and as usual this was a closely fought contest with only two points (3-8 to 3-6) separating the sides at the final whistle, but it was the north Westmeath outfit that came out on top. An ever improving Multyfarnham side were next on the list and this was yet another tight game (0-9 to 1-6) and one that St Joseph's will feel that they left behind as they had to settle for a draw leaving them with three points from their opening three

211

Jonathon Cuskelly launches the ball forward

Andrew McCormack is still causing problems for defences

Wayne McCormack may have misjudged this high ball


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212


Aidan Lennon manages to shrug off this tackle

games. They followed this up with one of their poorest displays of the year when another draw (1-7 to 0-10) was recorded against a Delvin side, whose only point of the campaign came from this clash. “We didn't get off to the best of starts even though we had a comfortable win over Loughnavalley in our first match. I think it took Frankie a while to get to know the players. He wasn't brought in to April, so we were probably starting behind all clubs and it took time for the players to get to know him also, but when it did, we produced some very good performances.” A routine 2-13 to 1-7 victory over Ballycomoyle followed in July to put the saints in a decent position after four rounds, although there were much tougher games to come in the campaign. Their biggest test to date was to occur in early August when near neighbours Milltown were the opposition. The sides have had many great battles in recent years and this was to be no exception. St Joseph's looked to be set for a moral boosting victory, but Milltown fought back to

claim a draw (2-7 to 1-10). A week later and another tough assignment was ahead of the Streamstown outfit as they faced championship favourites Moate in their penultimate game of the group. Once again, a close game was the outcome, but not for the first time in the campaign, luck deserted St Joseph's as the All-Whites recorded a 0-8 to 0-7 victory. Eventual winners Kilbeggan were the last opposition of the group phase and it looked as if the Shamrocks would cruise to victory as they held a comfortable lead at half time, but Wright's charges showed great spirit in the second half to restore some pride, but it was a case of too little too late as Kilbeggan ran out winners by 5-7 to 3-7. “We could have won each of the last few games against the bigger teams. Definitely the games against Milltown and Moate were there to be won as well as the one against Multy. We were something like 13 points down at half time to Kilbeggan, but we came back well in the second half. We were very disappointed not to make the knockout stages, but in

213

fairness there were a lot of positives to take from the campaign,” said Alan. “Hopefully we can build on that this year. We started back training in January, which would be unusual for us. Frankie is also staying on for another year and that is a big bonus. The younger lads that came through last year will have a year's experience under their belt and we will be aiming to do well this year. We know that if we can reach the knockout stages, anything can happen after that. We also want to make a push for promotion in the league. We are currently in division 4, but feel we would benefit from playing in division 3.” Away from the football field, St Joseph's is also a Scor stronghold and Alan revealed that the club had to hold their own internal one to see who would go forward to represent them at county level, such was the numbers they had. “We held our own scor as there was 90 adults and kids involved, so we had to divide them up into teams. Scor is a big part of the club and it helps bring the while community together.”


RAHARNEY

R

aharney have been one of the most successful clubs in Westmeath over the last decade or so at both senior and underage level. Three Westmeath senior hurling titles since 2006 has seen them move up to fourth place in the roll of honour list and they now have eleven titles to their credit. The club's underage structure has gone from strength to strength in recent years and despite losing this year's county final, success in the minor and under-16 champions suggest that the future is bright for the Deelsiders. Johnny Greville has stood down as manager for the 2013 campaign as he takes up a role as county senior hurling selector and he is being replaced by another club stalwart in the guise of Declan Mullen, who hopes to transfer his underage success with the club into the senior ranks. The 2012 captain was Paul Greville and the county star believes that the appointment of Declan will help push the senior side on as they bid to regain their title. “Declan would be very well respected in the club and he would have worked with us all at underage level. I'm certain that everyone involved will give him 100%. He has worked with all the players before and it will be good to freshen things

The under-16 captain Sean Quinn lifts the Cup

GREVILLE’S QUEST up,” stated Paul. However, the club look set to be without their talismanic full back as Paul heads for London in the search of work and he revealed to us before he left that the club were being hit hard by emigration. Speaking before his departure in January, he said: “It's just gone to the stage that I have to go looking for work as there is nothing here. It's not

The 2012 under-16 championship winning squad

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just a case of not looking for work; there is no work out there, so I feel I have to head off. “The club has been hit hard by emigration and five of the starting XV that played in the county final against Clonkill have all emigrated. The likes of Niall and Christopher Flanagan, Frank Boyle and Tony Doyle along with myself have or are heading off. Mark Conroy is another that has left


The 2012 intermediate camogie side that reached the county final. Front row l/r: Teresa Lynch, Erin Harte, Jenna McKeogh, Amy Goonery, Laura Murphy, Nicola Brady, Jacinta Goonery, Faye Dunne, Olive Weir, Aine Weir. Back row l/r: Gemma Briody, Ciara Weir, Lisa Donoghue, Claire Coyne, Lisa Burke, Yvonne McKeogh, Jean Flanagan, Leanne Darby, Louise Flynn, Fiona Leavy

The 2012 under-14 Feile championship winning squad. Front row l/r: (Trainers) Joe Raleigh, Liz Shaw, Sarah Patton. Middle row from l/r: Emma Patton, Megan Carol, Niamh Doyle, Anna Weir, Hannah Core, Meadbh Smyth, Orla Quinn, Aine Brady, Ruth O'Connor, Ellen Cronin. Back row l/r: Sarah Flanagan, Niamh Smyth, Ciara O'Looney, Laura Doherty, Rachel Glennon, Mary Dunne, Katlin Goss, Aoife Doherty, Maria Kelly, Jade McKeogh, Aoife O'Malley, Laura Patton, Nicci Cuneen, Emily Harte, Gemma Swords, Kayleigh Monaghan, Katie Coleman

The 2012 Junior county finalists. Front row l/r: D Brady, J Gorman, C O'Connor, D Riggs, D Raleigh, S Mullen, C Raleigh, M Shannon, N Flanagan. Back row l/r: B Aughey, P Mullen, S Lynam, G Greville, J Kennedy, S Gorman, M Glennon, D Mullen, S Farrelly, A Sheils, J Sheils, N Flynn

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Cllr. John Shaw

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The 2012 senior hurling finalists. Front row l/r: B Aughey, J Kennedy, M Boyle, D Raleigh, A Sheils, C Boyle, D Riggs, C Jordan, J Greville, N Flanagan, D Carey, J Shaw, S Morley, F Boyle, C Raleigh. Back row l/r: P Mullen, L McHugh, D Brady, D Fox, C Flanagan, G Greville, S Lynam, M Glennon, T Doyle, P Greville, B Connaughton, R Greville, S Farrelly, C O'Connor, M Conroy, J Boyle, D Mullen, J Sheils

Camogie captain Nicola Brady lifts the championship Cup

also. “The majority of clubs are in the same boat, but it is harder for the rural clubs to cope with it at the moment. We're fortunate that we have good numbers coming through, but still for any side to lose five or six players is a big setback.” Paul feels that given time, the youngsters coming through will certainly ensure that Raharney remain competing for honours and he hopes to be part of that success. “I was at the minor final which they won and not one of those players would look out of place at senior level. I don't think Declan will have any doubts about throwing them in and giving them their chance in the senior championship. “My plan is to come back in August, the way the championship is run in

Chris Flanagan has his progress halted

The 2012 senior camogie championship winning squad. Front row l/r: Aine Weir, Rebecca Flynn, Erin Harte, Jenna McKeogh, Faye Dunne, Nicola Brady, Elaine Finn, Laura Murphy, Andreanna Doyle, Jacinta Goonery, Amy Goonery, Teresa lynch, Olive Weir. Back row l/r: Leanne Darby, Aishling Doyle, Helen Weir, Lisa Burke, Ciara Weir, Claire Coyne, Louise Flynn, Liz Shaw, Jean Flanagan, Yvonne McKeogh, Lisa Donohue, Pamela Greville, Sandra Greville, Gemma Briody, Aoife Boyle, Fiona Leavy, Aishling Dixon

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The 2012 senior hurling squad that reached the county final

Westmeath means that I won't miss too many games if the format remains the same.” Paul admits the current structure of the Westmeath senior hurling championship was very unfair to the club player, who is often left for long periods during the summer without a game. “When you are with the county, you are getting more than your fair share of hurling, but this year I saw that we went six weeks from the last game in the group stages until the semi final, then we had to wait a further seven weeks for the county The minor county finalists. Front row l/r: Rachel O’Malley, Sarah Kennedy, Faye Dunne, Shaunie final, sure that makes no sense at all. Duignan, Leanne Darby, Laura Doherty, Amy Goonery, Angel Flanagan. Back row l/r: Aoife Boyle, Jenna McKeogh, Claire Coyne, Erin Harte, Aisling Goss, Aisling Dixon “It is very hard to keep the momentum going when that is happening. My first Best Wishes To Raharney GAA In 2013 From game for the club this year was the opening championship match against Clonkill, and I was captain! But, being with the county meant that we weren't allowed back to the clubs until then. “We're probably fortunate in the fact that we're a dual club and lads can turn their attention to the football when the hurling breaks up like that but it is certainly far from ideal, the way it is.” In recent years Raharney have had the measure of Clonkill, especially in county finals, but the 2012 campaign was different as the Loughegar outfit finally turned the tables on their great rivals when most needed. “It was disappointing to lose the final. We were well in the

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Adam Shields feels the brunt of this challenge

game with ten minutes to go, but they got a scrappy goal and our heads just dropped after that. They reeled off a few unanswered points and there was no way back at that stage. “We will just have to pick ourselves up now and focus on the year ahead. The championship is getting harder to win and the likes of Castletown will definitely be knocking on the door again. “They have been a young side for the last couple of years, but they experience that they are gaining will certainly stand to them. Clonkill will also be there and sure we have had some great battles against them in recent years. It's up to us to make sure that we put the pressure back on them. The Raharney club have embarked on a redevelopment of their grounds at Joristown and two new pitches are ready to be sowed in early spring, giving them extra pitches to cater for all the teams in the club. “The new pitches will be a great benefit to the club as they help ease the burden with so many teams being looked after. It's good times for the club and hopefully we can add a few more senior titles in the next few years.” Paul Greville's departure to England is a sign of the times that we live and not only will be a loss to the Raharney hurlers, but to Killucan footballers as well as both county senior teams.

Conor Raleigh wins this race for possession

Darren Brady gets the better of Turin’s Barry Nea

Dan Riggs bears down on the St Brigid’s goal

Dylan Raleigh uses all his guile to get his shot away

The speedy Joey Boyle takes on the Ringtown defence

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Jack Kennedy speeds away from the Ringtown defence


TANG

T

wenty years after he won an IFC medal as a player, Paul Conway is hoping to repeat the feat as manager of his beloved Tang in 2013. This year marks the 20th anniversary of Tang’s last IFC success when they defeated neighbours and underage partners Maryland after a replay. Current manager Paul Conway, who was a raw but hugely promising teenager at the time, lined out at corner forward in both the drawn and replayed encounters as the Joe Fox Memorial Park outfit captured the Peter Geraghty Cup for a fourth time. Paul subsequently enjoyed a decade-long inter-county career which reached its zenith in 2004 when he was centre forward on the Westmeath team that won the county’s only Leinster SFC title to date. After serving as a Westmeath selector under both Tomas O Flatharta and Pat Flanagan between 2007 and 2009, he was appointed Tang manager at the start of last season. His appointment led to heightened expectations in the Longford-border club, but there was disappointment when Rosemount surprisingly ended their championship interests at the quarter-final stage. But after co-managing a talented Maryland/Tang U21 crew to championship glory at the end of 2012, Conway sees no reason why Tang can’t end their 20-year wait for intermediate honours in the coming season.

Martin Rock does his best to shake off this tackle

ANNIVERSARY INCENTIVE “The 20th anniversary thing is a big incentive for us,” he admits. “We got a huge boost from winning the U21 championship. It was a great way to end 2012 and hopefully we can build on that now. There’s no doubt that we have the players to win the intermediate, but as everyone knows, it’s the hardest championship to win. Whoever puts in the most effort and whoever gets the breaks will win it. It’s as simple as that. “We were awful disappointed after the Rosemount defeat last year. But

we’re a young team and hopefully we will learn from it.” Conway, whose selectors last year were Padraig Reilly and club chairman Damien Gill, takes further encouragement from the fact that Tang will be plying their trade in Division 1 of the All-County League again this year. “We won Division 2 in 2011 and didn’t look out of place in Division 1 last year,” the former Lake County star enthuses. “We beat Tyrrellspass, Athlone, Bunbrosna and Maryland, which were

Maryland/Tang U-21 Champions 2012. Front row l\r: Enda Kincaid, John Rock, Brian Donohue, Chris Connor (Joint Capt) Sean Coughlan, Niall Lynn, Calum, McCormack (Joint Capt), Darragh Burke, Martin Rock, Paul O’Neill, Peter Cunningham. Back row l\r: Trevor English, Christopher McCann, Kenny Egan, William Flanagan, Fergus Farrell, Lee Moran, Trevor Farrell, Christy Hermbusche, Christy Grimes, Owen Coughlan, Darren Malynn, Martin Donoghue, Niall Neary, James Ganley, Eanni Hermbusche

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Maryland/Tang Minors Div 2 Finalist 2012. Front row l\r: Keith Malynn, Kenny Egan, Ryan Allen, Conor Brady, Lee Coughlan, Darragh Burke, Brian Moran, Gareth Cloonagh. Back row l\r: Kevin Dolan, Conor Marlowe, Gary Connaughton, Niall Neary, Philip Ganley, Mark Malynn, Brian Donohue, Fergus Farrell, Christy Hermbusche, Peter Cunningham, Conor Farrell

great scalps for us to take. We actually played better in the league than we did in the championship. In the championship, we only played well in the last three group games, although injuries to Robert English, Niall Bannon and Alan Higgins in the first couple of rounds didn’t help us. “It was very important that we stayed in Division 1 because that’s the level we need to be playing at. With the exception of Tubberclair, all of the other intermediate teams are in either Division 2 or 3 of the league. When you’re playing a higher level of league football, it should stand to you in the championship,” Paul contends. Tang made a disappointing start to their 2012 championship campaign when they succumbed to neighbours Tubberclair by 1-5 to 0-9 at Pairc Chiarain. In what was a surprisingly lack-lustre local derby clash, Tang

failed to score from play with Aidan Burke landing five frees and Martin Rock converting a late penalty that left the minimum between the sides at the long whistle. Ultimately, the maroon and whites paid the price for a poor first half display, which saw them trail by five points at the break. Conway’s charges produced a muchimproved performance to overwhelm Garrycastle’s second team on a 1-21 to 1-7 scoreline, but a second defeat in three games to Caulry left them in danger of missing out on a place in the knockout stages. Caulry looked to be on course for a comfortable victory when they led by 1-9 to 0-5 after 39 minutes, but a Martin Rock goal revived Tang’s challenge and they had reduced the deficit to three points before Peter Smith’s injury-time free sealed a 1-12 to 1-8 victory for the Mount Temple men.

The Maryland Tang Under-8 squad

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The pressure was now on Tang to win their remaining group matches against Milltownpass and Ballynacargy. A stunning Joshua Flanagan goal gave them a crucial 111 to 0-11 victory over Milltownpass at Hogan Park in Moate. That set the scene for a winner-takes-all clash with Ballynacargy at Cusack Park. Bal’ came into the contest on a high after beating Tubberclair, but they proved to be no match for an Aidan Burkeinspired Tang. The corner forward posted 0-8 (0-5 from frees) in an emphatic 1-11 to 0-7 win. Tang were strongly fancied to account for Rosemount in the quarterfinal, but the concession of two first half goals proved costly as the underdogs prevailed on a 2-7 to 0-12 scoreline. David Tone and Theo Watts both found the net to leave Tang trailing by 0-4 to 2-4 at the break. The


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The Maryland Tang U10's celebrate. This talented bunch won the Rosemount Cup and The Caulry Tournament and were also runners up in the Castledaly Tournament

Maryland Tang U21 captains Chris Connor and Callum McCormack

maroon and whites staged a stirring second half comeback, but still exited the championship, despite having an extra player for the last 14 minutes. The year had a silver lining for over half a dozen of the side that lost to Rosemount thanks to Maryland/Tang’s capture of the U21 15-a-side championship, which was the south county combination’s first ever success at that level (they’ve been very successful in the 13-a-side competition in recent years). With Conway and Maryland’s Padraig Connell at the helm, Maryland/Tang defeated St. Loman’s (after extra-time), Mullingar Shamrocks and Caulry before overcoming Athlone in the final under floodlights in Tubberclair by 0-11 to 0-

8. Following their semi-final demolition of a highly-rated Caulry, Maryland/Tang carried the favourites’ tag into the decider, but were pushed all the way by a resolute Athlone outfit who might well have caused a surprise if their goalkeeper Conal Sheeran hadn’t seen red at the beginning of the fourth quarter. The sides were level on 0-5 apiece at the interval with Callum McCormack, Willie Flanagan, John Rock and Peter Cunningham accounting for the winners’ scores, and Ray Connellan and Brian Gill scoring 0-3 and 0-2 respectively for the town side. There continued to be little to separate the teams until the final quarter when Maryland/Tang made their numerical

Sean Egan lays off a pass to a team mate

John Rock shows some nifty footwork to his marker

Aiden Burke shows great determination

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Alan Higgins takes a look to see what options are open to him

Martin Rock leaves the Garrycastle defence in his trail

Connor Marlow gets his block in

advantage count with insurance scores from Martin and John Rock, and county star McCormack. “We had seven starters in the U21 final – Chris O’Connor, Sean Coughlan, Fergus Farrell, Trevor English, Martin and John Rock, and Willie Flanagan,” explains Conway, who won a U21 ‘B’ medal with Maryland/Tang in 1995. “Conor Marlowe, who was injured, and Eoin Coughlan, were also unlucky not to start. It was definitely the highlight of our year and bodes well for the future of both clubs. We are fortunate to have some exciting young players coming through in Tang at the moment. We blooded three minors last year – Conor Marlowe, Fergus Farrell and Niall Neary – and both Conor and Fergus have since received call-ups to the county minor squad.” Despite the huge commitment involved, Paul insists he enjoyed his first season in management and is looking forward to continuing as Tang boss in 2013. “I completely underestimated the size of the job. I served three years as a county selector, but the there is a lot more responsibility when you’re a manager. It has been a steep learning curve for me, but I couldn’t have asked for any more from the players. “They gave great commitment last year and that’s why I had no hesitation in going back. They are a good group of lads who want to win something, and hopefully they’ll get what they deserve this year,” he concludes. Tang lined out as follows in their IFC quarter-final against Rosemount: Martin Donoghue; John Rock, Kieran Duncan, Conor Marlowe; Sean Egan, Alan Murray, Sean Coughlan; Colm Conlon, Robert English; Trevor English, Alan Higgins, Niall Bannon; Aidan Burke, Joshua Flanagan, Martin Rock. Subs used: Dean Reddin, Fergus Farrell, Chris O’Connor and Eamon Carey. Maryland/Tang’s U21 15-a-side winning team was: Lee Moran; Trevor Farrell, Chris O’Connor (joint captain), James Ganly; Brian Donoghue, Christy Grimes, Sean Coughlan; Trevor English, Fergus Farrell; Peter Cunningham, Willie Flanagan, Enda Kincaid; Martin Rock, Callum McCormack (joint-captain), John Rock. Subs used: Christy Hembusche, Niall Neary, Eoin Coughlan and Darren Malynn.

227

Trevor English looks up to find a team mate

Aiden Burke solos forwards during the IFC

Eamon Carey feels the full force of this challenge


BALLYCOMOYLE Gary Farrelly collecting the ball at all costs

I

t was the biggest thing ever to happen to us.” So says Ballycomoyle PRO Ray Farrelly of the remarkable achievement of quiz specialists Andrew Leahy, Peter McKenna and Killian Daly in bringing an All-Ireland Scor na nOg title back to the small but hugely ambitious north Westmeath club last February. For much of its 26-year history, Ballycomoyle GAA club has been starved of success – its progress being stifled by its location in the hurling heartland of north Westmeath. The 1991 JFC final victory over Ballinagore apart, the club had little to cheer about until the evening of Saturday, February 18 last when its young Question Time team consisting of Andrew Leahy, Peter McKenna and Killian Daly were crowned All-Ireland Scor na nOg champions in Castlebar, Co. Mayo. The blue and white flags flew proudly at the TF Royal Theatre as the talented trio took the title by an incredible 18 marks. In doing so, they pulled off Ballycomoyle’s greatest ever victory and put the club firmly in the map. “They don’t come any bigger than winning an All-Ireland title,” enthuses

BALLYCOMOYLE’S FINEST HOUR Ballycomoyle’s affable PRO Ray Farrelly. “Without question, it was the biggest thing every to happen to our club. It was a huge occasion which brought a great sense of pride to our community. It was a phenomenal

David Cunningham tries to evade double trouble against Moate All Whites during the Junior Championship

228

achievement for the three lads to win an All-Ireland title and we are so proud of them. They had tight calls in both the county and All-Ireland finals, but were able to come up with the right answers each time. There aren’t too many people in Westmeath who can say they have won All-Ireland medals, but these lads can.” It’s fitting that the three All-Ireland winners all hail from well-known GAA families. Andrew Leahy is a nephew of Ballycomoyle secretary Seamus Leahy. His first cousin, Peter McKenna, is a son of underage chairman Dermot McKenna, while Killian Daly is a son of Catherine Daly, who is a member of the famous Doherty clan from Delvin and was elected Westmeath Scor secretary in succession to the long-serving Rose Longworth last year. After receiving tremendous support in Castlebar, the three boys returned to a hero’s welcome with up to 100 people turning out in Castlepollard to greet them. They then joined family and friends for a celebration party in Hotel Castlepollard.


Veteran net-minder, Niall McKenna lays-off another ball

Colm Dermody keeps a firm grip despite being grounded

Paul Dermody, keeps a firm grip despite the advancing Multy player

Derek Cheevers, brushes off the challenge of his Multy counterpart

Ray is at pains to point out that Ballycomoyle’s success in Scor hasn’t come about overnight. “This has been six or seven years in the making,” he explains. “A huge amount of work has gone into Scor since it was started by my wife Doreen in 2005. Catherine Daly then took over and we’ve gone from strength to strength ever since. We’re now one of the strongest Scor units in the county and this is reflected in our achievement in winning both the Scor Sinsear and Scor na nOg Club of the Year awards last year. We have found that it’s a great way to get people, who wouldn’t necessarily be interested in football, involved with our club.” By contrast, 2012 was another difficult year for the Ballycomoyle footballers who struggled to make an impact in the JFC. With Ray Dobson, who captained CastletownFinea/Coole/Whitehall to a JFC title in 1998, and 1991 Ballycomoyle JFCwinning goalkeeper Marius Reilly serving as joint-managers, and John Lynch and Gerry Farrelly assisting them, the boys in the blue and white stripes suffered a trio of defeats to St. Paul’s (0-8 to 2-9), Multyfarnham (1-4 to 0-18) and Moate All-Whites (0-3 to

229

3-10) before securing their first win of the campaign against Delvin (3-6 to 2-6) in Castletown-Finea. They succumbed to St. Joseph’s (17 to 2-13) and Milltown (0-2 to 3-16) in their next two games before giving champions-elect Kilbeggan Shamrocks a walkover in the penultimate round. The campaign ended on a positive note, however, when ‘The Bal’ defeated Loughnavalley by 3-7 to 2-8 in their final outing after being four points adrift at half-time in Bunbrosna. “It was a disappointing year, but you can’t dwell on the negatives,” says Ray. “The positives were that we had a very professional management setup and seven minors on the junior team. Give them another couple of years and we’ll be a different proposition altogether. We’ve gone back out on our own at underage level after being joined with Castletown-Finea/Coole/Whitehall for the past number of years, and the future looks bright. “Our aim at the start of the year was to reach the knockout stages. We got to a quarter-final in 2010 when we were unlucky to lose Tyrrellspass, and we were hoping to emulate that


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feat last year, but it wasn’t to be. We were going well in the early part of the year and had recorded good wins over Maryland and Bunbrosna in Division 5 of the league, but the wheels came off the wagon somewhat after we lost our first championship game against St. Paul’s. “We lost our next two games to Multyfarnham and Moate, and it was hard to keep the interest going after that. We also lost Stephen Reilly to a very serious injury during the year, which was a big setback to us. The dual player really cripples us but, having said that, a number of the lads give 100 per cent to both hurling and football, and you can’t ask for Club stalwart, Joey Williams against Moate All Whites in the Junior any more than that.” Championship in Cusack Park, Mullingar He continues: “Our goal for the coming year is to reach the knockout stages of the Summer camps championship and take it from there. We’re fielding two teams in Division 5 and 7 of the league, and we’re hoping to see a big improvement on last year.” Similar to Scor, ladies football has come on in leaps and bounds in Ballycomoyle. An eight-week coaching programme was attended by over 90 girls between the ages of eight and 13 last summer. Indeed, many of them went on to play in a blitz at Croke Park. In September, Ballycomoyle overcame a strong Shandonagh side at Lakepoint Park to land the U14 ‘B’ title. Expertly coached by Sabrina Dermody and Kevin Walsh, this is a very talented group of girls who big things will be expected of in the coming years. The Ballycomoyle team which defeated Delvin in last year’s JFC was: B Doyle; C Dermody, R Cooney, G Farrelly; S Reilly, P Dermody, J Williams; J McHugh, R Fagan; M Charles, B Ryan, B Caffrey; A Fitzsimons, D Cheevers, D Cunningham. Subs used: S Carroll and A Leahy. Ballycomoyle’s U14 ‘B’ ladies football champions were: Ashleigh Mortimer, Olivia Flood, Cliodhna Daly, Laura Kilcoyne, Lauren Fagan, Niamh McCarthy, Clodagh Fox, Megan Maher, Marie Egan, Chalotta Maher, Jane Nagle, Katie Egan, Shauna Maher, Zoe Cheevers, Caoimhe Dermody, Amaya Brannigan, Yvonne Dobson, Eva Kiernan, Ciara Keyes, Rebecca Craig, Lorna Hilliard, Sarah Connell, Aoife Farrelly and Clodagh O’Brien.

WISHING BALLYCOMOYLE & WESTMEATH GAA EVERY SUCCESS IN 2013 231


MOATE ALL-WHITES

M

oate All-Whites’ first MFC Division 1 title in 38 years helped the proud south county club to get over the shock and disappointment of losing the JFC semi-final to Mullingar Shamrocks after a replay. From the low of losing their JFC semi-final replay to Mullingar Shamrocks to the high of capturing a first MFC Division 1 title since 1974, 2012 was certainly a rollercoaster year for Moate AllWhites. At the outset of the year, winning the JFC and making an instant return to the intermediate ranks had been Moate’s goal. But when they suffered a shock 0-9 to 2-6 replay defeat to Mullingar’s second team after staging the unlikeliest of comebacks in the drawn game, the football-mad town was plunged into a state of depression for several days afterwards. All was not lost, though, as the AllWhites still had another shot at glory thanks to their talented minor crew, whose run to the county final had gone almost unnoticed. Three weeks after the demise of the juniors, they sparked the biggest celebrations the club has seen since the Flanagan Cup was claimed in 1997 when they scored a surprise, but fully-deserved, 2-9 to 0-9 victory over south county rivals Athlone to end a 38-year wait for premier minor honours.

Daniel Bracken, Keith Byrne, Dylan Fitzpatrick, Jamie Madden (Captain), Ruairi Cunningham, Robert Gorman and David Cramp celebrate the minor success

MOATE MINORS ARE MAGIC! “It was just what the doctor ordered!” laughs mentor Cyril Gillivan, who oversaw the success along with his second cousin Peter Gillivan and Tommy Gorman. “Everyone was down after the juniors were beaten. After coming back the way we did the first day, I don’t think anyone expected us to lose the replay, but that’s how it turned out and it took people a long

time to come to terms with that. But that disappointment was well and truly forgotten about when we won the minor three weeks later. “It was an incredible feeling to win a major championship in Cusack Park after all the lean years we’ve had. After the Carmelite College closed in the mid-1990s, we were basically left with no underage structures and it took us a few years to realise that.

The 2012 Minor Champions. Front row l\r: Shane Claffey, Alex O’Riordan, Ivan Rattigan, David Cramp, Sean Bracken, Conor Sheridan, Louie Duffy, Billy Berry and Andrew Gorman. Back row l\r: Aaron O’Neill, Alex Ryan, Dylan Ennis, Gavin Murray, Dylan Fitzpatrick, Daniel Buckley, Tommy Ryan, Robert Gorman, Jamie Madden (Capt), Ruairi Cunningham, Keith Byrne, John Corbally, Eoghan Kelly, James Casey

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The clubs around us like Castledaly and Caulry were playing in U10 tournaments we didn’t even know existed, and were bringing the young players through. “When we eventually got our act together, myself, Pete and Tommy started working with these lads when they were eight and nine, and brought them through to the stage they’re at now. It may have been 10

years in the making, but it was worth every minute of it,” he adds. For the Moate youngsters, the win over Athlone was a case of third time lucky after their defeats to the Shannonsiders in the previous two years. “They beat us after extratime in the 2011 quarter-final and in the U16 semi-final the year before under lights in Tubber,” remembers Cyril,

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Ladies Intermediate Team. Front row l\r: Martina Collins, Breda O’Brien, Clodagh Flanagan, Vanessa O’Brien, Sorcha Galvin, Caitriona Kelly, Kalene McCormack, Carol Butler, Claire Killian, Emma Shortall, Patrice Smyth, Kelly Preston, Isabel O’Neill. Back row l\r: Christine Wharburton, Arlene Coughlan, Aisling Wharburton, Aoife McCormack, Niamh Malone, Aisling O’Neill, Lorna Henson, Grace Coughlan, Noelle Murray, Fidelma Nolan, Stacy Holloway, S Kernan, Alice Duffy, Deirdre Farrell

Moate CS ladies team. Front row l\r: Lori Rickard, Lorna Flanagan, Colleen Malone, Amy Hughes, Rachel Gillivan, Hannah Tillmann, Emma Malone, Clodagh Bradley, Aine O’Connor, Sarah Clarke, Louise Parkes, Leanne Slevin (Captain), Amy Gavin-Mangan, Niamh Gorry, Elizabeth Reynolds, Emma Collins, Maeve Scally. Back row l\r: C Warburton, A. Farrell, Aine Farrell, Olivia Malynn, Aoife Dunne, Bronwyn Linnane, Michaela Dunne, Aoife Egan, Nicola Mullen, Sarah McCormack, Jennifer Coughlan, Eimear Redmond, Caroline Hennessy, Louise Ryan, Lisa King, Jessica McCormack, Sinead Fagan, Sarah Murphy, Xenia North, P. Keogh, S. Holloway

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The 2012 U14 Team. Front row l\r: Jason Gillivan, Ciaran Lyman, Dean Corbally, Cathal O’Brien, Jason Murphy, Thomas Berry, Sean Berry, Andrew Naill, Callum Jones, David Mullins, Fiachra Cunningham and Garbhan Cunningham. Back row l\r: Robert McCormack, PJ McCormack, Gordon Kelly, Paul Gorman, Jake Fannin, Jack McCarthy, William Higgins, Paul Sheridan, James Bracken, Iarlaith Cunningham, Robert Forde

defence and John Corbally, Keith Byrne and David Cramp prominent in attack, the All-Whites remained in the driving seat for much of the second half, but they still needed a late goal from Eoghan Kelly to seal a 3-6 to 0-8 victory. Moate’s ability to score goals also proved decisive in the final on October 21. Dylan Fitzpatrick and Eoghan Kelly both raised green flags in the second half after the sides had gone into the break level on 0-6 apiece. Gavin Murray set up Fitzpatrick for the first in the 33rd minute before Kelly added a second eight minutes later. In between, Jamie Madden pointed a free, leaving Moate

who won a SFC medal with the All-Whites in 1983 and two Hogan Cup medals with Carmelite College in 1980 and ’81. “We would have learned an awful lot for those defeats and also benefited from winning the U16 Division 1 and 2 championships (the Division 1 was won as part of the St. Brigid’s combination with Rosemount) in 2011. As squads go, ours was quite small but we were lucky in that we were at full strength for every game. If you took one or two key players out the team, we would have been struggling. Nine of the starting team are eligible for minor again this year, so there is no reason why we can’t give the championship a good lash again.” Qualification for the Division 1 and 2 championships was determined by a team’s position at the end of the roundrobin series. Despite losing to neighbours Caulry by a point, a win over Maryland/Tang and a draw with Killucan was good enough to see Moate through to a Division 1 quarterfinal against St. Loman’s. After falling five points behind early on, the All-Whites showed their mettle by roaring back to win by five thanks to three second half goals. The All-Whites then made the short trip to Rosemount to face the locals for a place in the county final. In a typically full-blooded local derby encounter, goals from Dylan Fitzpatrick and Ruairi Cunningham helped the visitors to a two-point lead at the break. With Sean Bracken excellent in

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The 2012 Junior squad: Front row l/r: David Adamson, Jamie Madden, Jimmy Gillivan, Barry Webb, Cian Bradley, Paul McLoughlin, Robert Gorman, Alan Claffey, Nigel Adamson, Daniel Bracken, Brendan Arigho, Damien Keenaghan. Back row l/r: Eoghan Minnock, David Minnock, Kevin Deehan, Darren Claffey, Jack Linnane, John Corbally, Sid Byrne, David Mackey, Declan Whelan, Gareth Murray, Eoghan Dalton, Shane Kelly, Conor Costello, Darren McArdle, Niall Mackey

Moate Feile B Winners 2012. Captain Anna Lynam accepts the shield. Front row l\r: Therese O’Reilly, Rachel Duffy, Nicola McCormack, Emma Malone, Rachel Keane, Tara Hughes, Chloe Butler, Amy Hughes, Emma Collins, Jessica Slevin, Louise Parkes, Sarah Clarke, Lorna Flanagan. Back Row l\r: Aayleigh Farrell, Katie Farrell, Ciara Heavin, Sarah McCormack, Jennifer Coughlan, Laura McCormack, Lisa King, Emer Redmond

Moate U14 A Champions 2012. Front row l\r: Emma Malone, Louise Parkes, Amy Hughes, Anna Lynam (Captain), Maria Donoghue, Nicola McCormack, Chloe Butler, Sarah Clarke. Middle row l\r: Lisa King, Katie Moran, Laura McCormack, Tara Hughes, Emma Collins, Sarah McCormack, Lorna Flanagan, Jennifer Coughlan, Orlaith Foxe, Rachel Duffy, Jessica Slevin, Therese Reilly, Rachel Keane, Aayleigh Farrell, Emma Murray. Back row l\r: Ciara Heavin, Emer Redmond, Katie Farrell, Lauren Allen

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with a seven-point lead with less than 20 minutes to go. The pre-match favourites tried their best to claw back the deficit, but a combination of poor finishing and stout-hearted defending by the boys in white ensured them of a six-point victory. “We scored nine goals in three games and didn’t concede any,” Cyril explains. “It speaks volumes for the ability and dedication of these lads that they were able to do something that hadn’t been achieved in 38 years. The last time Moate won a Division 1 minor title, they also beat Athlone in the final and my older brother Peter was playing. Aidan O’Halloran, Danny Claffey, Eamonn Coughlan and Mark ‘Yank’ Coyne were also playing, and they all went on to play for the county. “It’s great for the club and shows what can be achieved when the work is put in. We have an excellent underage structure in place now. The Street Leagues, which cater for children between the ages of six and 10, have been especially successful with upwards of 70 taking part last year. “I’ve no doubt that many of these lads will go on to enjoy long careers. But it’s important that they are properly handled and managed.” Robbie Gorman, John Corbally and Jamie Madden were the only minors to feature on last year’s junior team which, somewhat surprisingly, failed


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David Mackey has been a great servant to the club

Nigel Adamson feels the full force of this tackle

Shane Kelly lays off a pass

to reach the JFC final. Under the management of Ballycumber resident Sean Greville, a 0-9 to 0-12 defeat to Milltown was the All-Whites’ only blip in a group campaign which saw them chalk up wins against Delvin (2-20 to 0-1), Ballycomoyle (3-10 to 0-3), champions-elect Kilbeggan Shamrocks (1-10 to 1-9), Loughnavalley (1-21 to 0-5), St. Paul’s (4-10 to 0-8), St. Joseph’s (0-8 to 0-7) and Multyfarnham (2-11 to 06). As the top-placed team in the group, Moate qualified directly for a semifinal against Mullingar Shamrocks at Cusack Park. After five weeks of inactivity, the All-Whites struggled to get to the pace of the game and looked to be facing certain defeat when they trailed by six points two minutes into injury-time. But in a dramatic finale, David Minnock pulled back a goal before Eoghan Dalton converted a last-gasp penalty to tie up the scoring at 3-9 to 2-12. Following their great escape, Moate were expected to make no mistake in the replay at Shandonagh six days later, but the Shamrocks second string hadn’t read the script and prevailed by 2-6 to 0-9 after extratime. “It was a hard one to take, especially as we had enough chances to win comfortably. We need to start climbing the ladder quickly again, and hopefully this year we’ll be able to make amends,” Cyril concludes. Moate’s MFC Division 1 winning panel was: Tommy Ryan, Sean Bracken, Daniel Buckley, Andrew Gorman, Louie Duffy, Robbie Gorman, Dylan Ennis, Ruairi Cunningham, Jamie Madden, Keith Byrne, Gavin Murray, John Corbally, Dylan Fitzpatrick, Eoghan Kelly, David Cramp, Aaron O’Neill, Alex O’Riordan, Conor Sheridan, Shane Claffey, Billy Berry, James Casey, Ivan Rattigan and Alex Ryan. The Moate team which lost the JFC semi-final replay to Mullingar Shamrocks was: David Mackey; Paul McLoughlin, Declan Whelan, Shane Kelly; Brendan Arigho, Stephen Burke, Robbie Gorman; Eoghan Dalton, Gareth Murray; Nigel

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Sid Byrne gets tight to his marker as Shane Kelly (in background) looks on

Barry Webb uses his speed to good effect in dire conditions

Paul McLoughlin weighs up his options


Adamson, Jack Linnane, David Minnock; Cian Bradley, Alan Claffey, Jamie Madden. Subs used: Conor Costello, David Adamson, John Corbally, Damien Kinahan and Niall Mackey.

ALL-WHITES BAG U14 TITLE Moate All-Whites captured another underage title when they defeated Tyrrellspass in an exciting U14 Division 3 championship final in Rosemount last September. Moate captain Paul Sheridan had the ball in the net after only three minutes, but Aidan Martin hit back with a similar score to help Tyrrellspass to a 1-4 to 1-3 lead at the break. Tyrrellspass stretched their advantage early in the second half before a brace of Robert Forde goals (one from a penalty) put the AllWhites on the road to a 3-9 to 1-10 victory. The winning Moate team was: Jack McCarthy; Thomas Berry, Sean Berry, Andrew Niall; Ciaran Lynam, Gordon Kelly, Dean Corbally; Jack Fannin, Paul Gorman; David Mullins, Robert Forde, James Bracken; Jason Murphy, Paul Sheridan, Callum Jones. Sub used: Cathal O’Brien.

U17 GLORY FOR ST. BRIGID’S The Moate All-Whites/Rosemount combination St. Brigid’s were crowned champions of the new U17 football championship when they defeated Shannon Gaels by 0-14 to

2-4 in the final at Rosemount on February 3 last. The sides were level with five minutes to go, but then substitute Cathal Daly took centre stage with two rapid-fire points to secure the Paddy Walsh Cup for St. Brigid’s. Shannon Gaels, who are a combination of Maryland/Tang and Tubberclair, made a dream start when Padraig Fagan found the net after just four minutes. St. Brigid’s, however, replied with three points in quick succession from Keith Byrne and another from Aaron Farrell to take the lead. Nicky Kelly and Niall Neary brought Shannon Gaels level, only for Byrne and Farrell to restore St. Brigid’s twopoint lead at the break. Neary and John Corbally exchanged scores on the restart before the former scored the game’s second goal to put Shannon Gaels back in the driving seat. The Gaels still led entering the final 10 minutes, but five successive scores for St. Brigid’s from Daly (two), Gavin Murray, Aaron Farrell and Keith Byrne saw Brigid’s prevail.

The winning St. Brigid’s team was: Darren O’Connell; Sean Bracken, Padraig Fox, Damien Carroll; Tommy Longworth, Daniel Buckley, Boidu Sayeh; Rory Cunningham, Theo Watts; Andrew McCormack, Gavin Murray, John Corbally; Aaron Farrell, Eoin Kelly, Keith Byrne. Subs used: Darragh

Jamie Madden drives the ball forward

Sid Byrne braces himself for impact

Alan Claffey heads for goal

Barry Webb takes on the Delvin defence

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CASTLEDALY

T

ommy Warburton says Castledaly need to be more ruthless if they are to get back to the level they were at in 2008 when they lifted the Flanagan Cup for the first, and so far, only time. When Castledaly registered an emphatic 10-point victory over Coralstown/Kinnegad to set up a quarter-final meeting with Maryland in last year’s SFC, their supporters began to dream of a return to the glory days of 2008 when the Offalyborder club finally reached the summit of Westmeath football after many years of trying. They were strong favourites to progress to a semi-final against Garrycastle, whose four-in-a-row ambitions were eventually ended by Mullingar Shamrocks. But an underrated Maryland team had other ideas and, after staging a late comeback to send the quarter-final to a replay, they prevailed in the replay by a point. The defeat was a familiar feeling for Castledaly, who also crashed out at the quarter-final stage at the hands of Mullingar Shamrocks the previous year. But according to star defender and 2012 county panellist Tommy Warburton, last year’s championship exit was harder to take. “We couldn’t have any complaints in 2011 because we were well beaten by Shamrocks, but last year we were left with a lot of regrets,” the trainee secondary school teacher says. “We had a golden opportunity to go a bit further and let it slip. We felt we

Alan Stone in championship action against Killucan

WARBURTON RUES MISSED OPPORTUNITY could take Maryland, especially after having played so well in our last group match against Coralstown/Kinnegad, but they showed great resolve to beat us after a replay. You couldn’t begrudge them.” He continues: “While it was a good achievement to get to the quarterfinals again and there was a great spirit in the camp, we’d be disappointed at certain aspects of our play. Our Achilles heel was our

inability to close out games we should have won. We let leads slip against Tyrrellspass and Garrycastle in the group stages and allowed the same thing to happen in the two games against Maryland. “We were three points up going into the last few minutes of the drawn game and were five points up in the early stages of the replay. If we’re to get back to the level we were are in 2008 – and I’m convinced we have the

Under 21 championship finalists. Front row l/r: Lorcan Dolan, MJ Kelly, John Warburton, Darragh Kelly, Christopher Claffey, Eoin Fleming, Neill Young, Graham Heavin. Back row l/r: Alan Stone capt. Thomas Finnerty, Jamie Andres, Damien Stone, Paul Costello, Patrick Holloway, Eanna Duffy, Paul Henson, Liam Fitzpatrick, Aaron Sheerin, James Larkin, Tom Farrell

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players to do that – we’ll need to be more ruthless. We need to find a killer instinct.” Having served as a selector under Meath legend Graham Geraghty in 2011, Derek Heavin – whose illustrious playing career was cut short by a horrific injury he sustained while playing for Westmeath against Louth in the 2010 Leinster SFC semi-final at Croke Park – made a seamless transition to the role of manager last year. “Derek did a brilliant job,” says Tommy, who played alongside the former Westmeath star when Castledaly captured the Flanagan Cup five years ago. “He and his selectors Murtagh Brennan and Eamon Grennan made sure everyone was pulling in the same direction. Derek is a hugely-respected figure in Castledaly and we’re all hoping he’ll stay with us for another year. But he has a hardware business to run in Athlone and I’m not sure if he’ll be able to give the commitment again. We’ll have to wait and see.” Drawn in Group A, Castledaly opened their championship campaign with a 2-12 to 0-11 victory over Killucan at Cusack Park. County U21 Alan Stone’s fortuitous fifth-minute goal directly from a sideline kick was the difference between the sides at half-time. With Paul Greville to the fore, Killucan reduced the gap to two points midway through the second half, but the impressive Paul Kelly then struck for Castledaly’s second goal and they closed out the game with late points from Stone, Paul Kelly and Brendan Kelly. Following the long break for intercounty activity, Castledaly returned to

Cusack Park to face champions Garrycastle. Seanie O’Donoghue gave the beaten All-Ireland finalists an early lead before Castledaly responded with a sixth-minute goal from county minor Lorcan Dolan. Garrycastle upped the tempo after that to surge into a 1-6 to 1-1 lead. But Castledaly finished the half strongly with points from Brendan Kelly (three) and Alan Stone to trail by just two, 1-5 to 1-7, at the interval. Castledaly’s resurgence continued after the restart when a brace of Stone frees brought them level before further scores from Gordon Duffy and Lorcan Dolan put them two ahead. Garrycastle fought back to level with 10 minutes remaining and James Dolan’s late scrambled goal ensured them of a 2-13 to 1-13 victory. Castledaly suffered their second defeat in as many games to Tyrrellspass after squandering a seven-point lead. Derek Heavin’s charges were completely on top in the early stages and their 0-6 to 0-0 lead after 14 minutes would have been greater had they not shot a number of wides. A Ger O’Toole goal brought the ‘Tidy Town’ back into it, but Castledaly still led by 0-10 to 1-2 at the break. The green and golds looked to be out of sight when they increased their lead to seven points within three minutes of the restart but, in a remarkable turnaround, Tyrrellspass outscored them by 0-11 to 0-2 in the remaining 30 minutes (including injury-time) to pull off an unlikely 1-14 to 0-16 victory. The Offaly-border club now had a battle on their hands to avoid an early championship exit or even a relegation playoff, but wins over

Bunbrosna and Coralstown/Kinnegad in their final two group matches saw them qualify for the quarter-finals in style. An impressive 2-16 to 0-9 victory over Bunbrosna (Alan Stone and MJ Kelly accounted for the goals) set up an intriguing winner-takes-all clash with Coralstown/Kinnegad at Cusack Park. Coralstown/Kinnegad only needed a draw to progress, but they were swept aside by an inspired Castledaly combination that made light of the difficult conditions to run out 1-11 to 04 winners. A strong finish to the first half saw Derek Heavin’s charges take a 0-7 to 0-2 lead into the break. They extended their advantage to 0-9 to 0-3 before Niall Duffy’s goal with nine minutes to go put the result beyond all doubt. Coralstown/Kinnegad’s misery was compounded by the sending off of two players in the second half. Derek Heavin’s men were suddenly being spoken of as serious championship contenders, but they surprisingly failed to surmount the Maryland challenge. After leading by 0-6 to 0-4 at the break, Castledaly were rocked by the concession of a Ronan Moran goal early in the second half of the drawn encounter. But they steadied themselves and, aided by a Paul Kelly goal, forged three points ahead with two minutes of normal time remaining. Maryland, though, refused to wilt and scored three late points per Kieran Martin, Tom Browne and Ronan Moran to leave the final score 1-10 apiece. Early goals from Paul Kelly and MJ McLoughlin (penalty) gave Castledaly a dream start to the replay, but back came Maryland again with a David

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Paul Kelly punts the ball forward

Gordon Duffy races with Killucan’s Frank Boyle during the SFC

Tommy Warburton facing Ciaran Henson who goes for a dive against Killucan

Martin penalty which ensured them of parity, 1-6 to 2-3, at the halfway stage. The sides remained deadlocked until the 45th minute when Martin converted his second penalty to give the Drumraney men a 2-7 to 2-4 lead. Further points from Callum McCormack and David Martin pushed Maryland five clear before Castledaly mounted a late comeback which yielded scores from Alan Stone (two), MJ McLoughlin and Lorcan Dolan. But they couldn’t force an equaliser as Maryland held on for a 2-9 to 2-8 victory. There was also disappointment for Castledaly when it emerged that they had been denied the All-County League Division 1 title under the head-to-head rule. This only came to light after it was discovered that Garrycastle – who pipped Castledaly for the title – had agreed before their drawn county final with Mullingar Shamrocks that it would ‘double up’ as a league fixture. “We lost the league, even though we had the same number of points as Garrycastle (13) and a better scoring difference,” explains Tommy, who took part in the Westmeath footballers’ fight-fest night at the start of 2012. “When we played Garrycastle in the league earlier in the year, they beat us, but we were still under the impression that scoring difference would decide the outcome in the case of the top teams being tied. So it was very frustrating when we were told it was being decided by the head-tohead rule.” Warburton is hoping silverware will come Castledaly’s way in the season ahead. “We can take a lot of positives out of last year and, when you consider our U21 team reached the 13-a-side final against Tyrrellspass, the future looks bright. I don’t think we are losing anyone to retirement, so we’re expecting to do well,” he concludes. The Castledaly team which lost the SFC quarter-final replay to Maryland was: Justin Coughlan; Michael Gavin, Tommy Warburton, Ciaran Henson; John Warburton, Paddy Holloway, Liam Fitzpatrick; Niall Duffy, Gordon Duffy; Enda Kelly, Alan Stone, Brendan Kelly; Lorcan Dolan, MJ McLoughlin, Paul Kelly. Sub used: Niall O’Neill.

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Lorcan Dolan shows great determination

Patrick Holloway displays his Irish dancing moves during the championship clash against Kinnegad

Ciaran Henson looks as if he’s gasping for air against Kinnegad


CLONKILL

C

lonkill are closing in on Brownstown’s record of 15 Westmeath SHC title wins after beating their great rivals Raharney last October to retain the Examiner Cup. This is a golden era for Clonkill hurling club. Since ending a 32-year wait for Westmeath SHC honours in 2001, the green and golds have contested a further seven county finals, winning four of them to bring their overall total to 13. Add in their historic All-Ireland club IHC title victory at Croke Park in February 2008 and it’s easy to why they’ve been the Lake County’s most successful hurling club of the past decade. While Clonkill’s latest county final success at the expense of Raharney on October 14 last failed to produce the drama and excitement we’ve come to expect from clashes between the fierce rivals, it could hardly have been more satisfying for the Loughegar-based club who put titles back-to-back for the first time since the early 1940s when Todd Nugent et al completed a three-in-arow. The 2-16 to 2-11 victory also made amends for Clonkill’s 2008 and 2010 final losses to Raharney, and for their defeat to the Deelsiders in the first round of last year’s

Clonkill captain Eoin Price lifts the cup after the Senior Final

LUCKY 13 FOR CLONKILL championship.

in the final. They beat us in two finals

The significance of the achievement

which had been well documented in

wasn’t lost on Clonkill’s hugely

the papers to keep us up to speed

successful manager Pat O’Toole.

with it. We're delighted to win. On the

"This was not just another one, it's

day, I would say we were the better

back-to-back and that's the difference

team, but it was still there in the

with this one," he said.

balance with 10 minutes to go."

"We needed badly to beat Raharney

A delighted Clonkill captain Eoin

The Clonkill senior hurling team that defeated Raharney by 2-16 to 2-11 to win the senior hurling championship on Sunday, October 14, 2012 in Cusack Park, Mullingar. Front row l/r: Alan Coffey, Eoin Kenny, Scott Murtagh, Adam Kenny (all mascots), Cian Quinn, Enda Morrison, Adam Price (with mascot Jamie Kelleghan), Steven Nulty (with mascot Alanna Nulty), Shane Power (with mascot Ciara Keogh), Luke Loughlin (with mascot Josh Murtagh), Eoin Price, Alan McGrath (with mascot Niamh Keogh), Mark Keegan, Thomas Egan, Brian Murray, Jack McGrath, Ciaran Morrison, Dylan O’Regan, Daniel Sheridan, Kelvin Reilly, Enda Loughlin (with mascot TJ Loughlin in arms and mascot Senan O’Driscoll). Back row from left to right; Luke McGrath, Ciaran Crentsil, Niall Dowdall, Alan Dowdall, Niall Folan, David O’Reilly, Paul Poynton, Fergal Fagan, Christopher Austin, Brendan Murtagh (with mascot Jessica Murtagh), John Fagan, Anthony Price, Cathal Scally, Andrew Mitchell, Stephen Cleary, Conor Thompson, Paddy Dowdall, Luke Folan, Finbar Thompson, Conrad Reilly and Larry Donoghue

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Clonkill 2012 Junior Champions. Front row l/r: Paul Kelleghan, Jamie Kelleghan (mascot), James Fitzsimons, Luke Loughlin, Shane Power, Enda Morrison, Ciaran Crentsil, Thomas Egan, Ciaran Morrison, Daniel Sheridan Brian Murray, Conor Thompson, Dylan O’Regan. Back row l/r: Enda Loughlin selector, Philip Dowdall, Edwin Dunne, Paul Farrell, Jack McGrath, Steven Cleary, Mark Keegan, David O’Reilly, Christopher Austin, Finbar Thompson, Larry Donoghue, Niall Folan, Luke McGrath, Paul Poynton, Liam Farrell

Price, who also skippered Ireland against Scotland in last year’s Hurling/Shinty series, stated: “It’s indescribable at the moment. This team has never won back-to-back titles before and have never beaten Raharney in a final, so we had an awful lot of critics to answer out there today. “It was so tight in the last few minutes, but then the goal gave us that little bit of breathing space and we tagged on a few points, but even when the game was in injury-time, we were hanging on. I am just such a proud Clonkill man to have captained this great side to victory.” It was very much a case of Clonkill saving their best for last after an unspectacular march to the final.

Apart from being outplayed by Raharney in their opening game, they struggled to get past Castlepollard in the quarter-final and only really showed flashes of their best form when seeing off a disappointing Castletown-Geoghegan outfit with surprising ease in the semi-final. By contrast, Raharney enjoyed an unbeaten run which saw them qualify directly from the semi-finals where they comfortably accounted for St. Oliver Plunkett’s. But when it really mattered, a highly-motivated Clonkill team, which had been haunted by their late collapse in the 2010 final, held all the aces. When the sides met in the opening round in June, Pat O’Toole’s offcolour charges were undone by the

concession of three first half goals. Eoin Price’s early major gave Clonkill the perfect start, but Raharney quickly hit back with a similar score from John Shaw. The Clonkill defence was found wanting again when Dan Riggs grabbed a second goal for Johnny Greville’s men and they could have had another but for Stephen Nulty’s brilliant full-length save which denied John Shaw. Seconds later, though, Nulty could do nothing to stop Riggs from firing home Raharney’s third goal. Frank Boyle and Shaw followed up with points to leave the Deelsiders perched on a commanding 3-8 to 1-6 lead at the break. Despite restricting their opponents to just five second points, Clonkill

Clonkill Under-21 Championship winning team 2012, front row l/r: Thomas Egan, Luke McGrath, Dylan O’Regan, Conor Thompson, Kelvin Reilly, Alan McGrath, Enda Morrison, Luke Loughlin. Back row l/r: Cathal Scally, Jack McGrath, Niall Folan, Anthony Price, Ciaran Crentsil, Daniel Sheridan, Niall Dowdall, Finbar Thompson, Thomas McLoughlin, Ciaran Morrison, Niall Murray, Cian Quinn

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Clonkill Under-14 Feile winning team. Front row l/r: Dara Monaghan, Daragh McLoughlin, Ken Reilly, Ryan Moran, Michael McGrath, Joseph Moran, Shane Cleary, Ciaran Nolan, Conor Coloe, Jordan Smyth, Luke Kenny. Back row l/r: Lee Mulligan, Tommy Greville, Jack O’Brien, John Kenny, Sean Loughlin, Mickey Scally, Daragh Flynn, Adam Loughlin, Shane Thompson, Jack Devine

couldn’t claw back the deficit. After Shaw had extended Raharney’s lead, Clonkill rallied with four unanswered points from Brendan Murtagh (two), Luke Folan and substitute Conradh Reilly. But Raharney weathered the storm through scores from Cormac Boyle and Frank Boyle, and Clonkill’s misery was compounded by the late dismissal of Alan Dowdall. The final score was 3-13 to 1-13 in Raharney’s favour. Clonkill put that disappointment behind them to easily account for St. Oliver Plunkett’s and get their championship campaign up-andrunning. With minor star Luke Loughlin prominent, the green and golds established an early 0-4 to 0-1 lead. They had extended their lead to four, 0-8 to 0-4, by half-time and took complete control after the restart

when Loughlin’s well-taken goal sent them on their way to a comfortable 116 to 0-6 victory. The champions never looked back after that, easing past St. Brigid’s feeble challenge in their next outing to set up a quarter-final meeting with Castlepollard. The writing was on the wall for the Dalystown men – who were subsequently relegated after just one season in the senior ranks – when they conceded 1-8 inside the first quarter, with Cathal Scally accounting for the goal. Clonkill went on to lead by 1-12 to 0-3 at the break. A second goal from substitute Enda Loughlin near the end sealed an emphatic 2-21 to 0-5 victory. Clonkill’s two-in-a-row ambitions were almost derailed by a goalhungry Castlepollard at Cusack Park on August 19. When Darren

McCormack blasted home ‘Pollard’s fourth major with six minutes remaining to level the scoring, a major upset looked to be on the cards. But Pat O’Toole’s men showed their experience and class by scoring four points without reply in the closing stages to secure a 1-19 to 4-6 win. McCormack’s first goal had the sides level on 0-4 to 1-1 after seven minutes. There continued to be little to choose between the teams until Luke Loughlin’s 22nd minute goal helped Clonkill to a 1-8 to 1-4 halftime lead. ‘Pollard resumed with quick-fire goals from Colm Dermody and Shane Fagan to set the cat among the pigeons, but Clonkill steadied themselves with three Brendan Murtagh frees and two from play per Luke Loughlin and Cathal Scally to establish a 1-15 to 3-5 lead.

Clonkill Senior team, 2012. Front l/r: Jack McGrath, Ciaran Morrison, Enda Loughlin, Kelvin Reilly, Conrad Reilly, Alan McGrath, Eoin Price, Luke Loughlin, Anthony Price, Paddy Dowdall, Brian Murray, Thomas Egan, Niall Folan, Daniel Sheridan and Luke McGrath. Back row l/r: Ciaran Crentsil, Niall Dowdall, Adam Price, Shane Power Finbar Thompson, Cathal Scally, Andrew Mitchell, Brendan Murtagh, Steven Nulty, Mark Keegan, John Fagan, Conor Thompson, Christopher Austin, Alan Dowdall, Enda Morrison

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Clonkill Under-16 club Championship finalists for 2012. Front row l/r: Peter Murtagh, John Kenny, Niall Gibney, Daragh Egerton, Richie Corroon, Peter Murray, Sean Loughlin, John Kenny, Conor Coughlan. Back row l/r: Adam Loughlin, Dylan Carroll, Ronan Keegan, Shane O’Rourke, Niall Mitchell, Jack O’Brien, Mikey Scally, Danny Lennon, Jordan Stead, Steven Colgan, Mark McCormack, Peadar Scally

Junior Champions for 2011. Front row l/r: Kelvin Reilly, Cian Quinn, Enda Morrison, Paul Poynton, Christopher Austin, Alan McGrath, David O’Reilly, Dylan O’Regan, Thomas Egan, Steven Nulty, Ciaran Morrison, Mark Keegan, Oisin Loughlin mascot. Back Row l/r: Niall Folan, Daniel Sheridan, Paul Farrell, Jack McGrath, Finbar Thompson, Paul Kelleghan, Larry Donoghue, Conor Thompson, Luke McGrath, Cathal Scally, Edwin Dunne, Philip Dowdall, James Fitzsimons, Liam Farrell

Clonkill Under-14 Championship Finalists. Front row l/r: Joseph Moran, Philip Martin, Ken Reilly, Shane Thompson, Adam Conneely, Ryan Moran, Jordan Smyth, Conor Coloe, Dara Monaghan, Ciaran Nolan, Liam Moran, Luke Kenny, Eoin Egerton. Back row l/r: Lee Mulligan, Thomas Greville, John Kenny, Jack O’Brien, Michael McGrath, Paul Lynam, Mikey Scally, Dylan Carroll, Adam Loughlin, Daragh Flynn, Dara Monaghan, Stephen Sheridan

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Alan McGrath lifts the Junior Championship cup for 2011

Shane Power accepts the cup for winning the Junior Championship 2012 from Aidan Davitt

John Kenny lifts the U14 Feile Shield

Castlepollard, however, refused to lie down and restored parity thanks to a point from David Higgins and McCormack’s second goal. Clonkill’s guile then came to the fore as three points from Murtagh (two frees) and Anthony Price got them out of a sticky situation. Having pushed them all the way in the 2011 county final, a young CastletownGeoghegan outfit were expected to ask serious questions of the champions in the semi-final. But it didn’t turn out like that. In a disappointing game, Luke Loughlin’s goal midway through the first half helped Clonkill to a 1-7 to 1-4 interval lead and they stretched their advantage to 2-10 to 1-4 after full forward Cathal Scally swooped for their second goal 10 minutes after the restart. Substitute Pat Clarke pulled back a goal for Castletown with 15 minutes remaining, but their hopes of staging a late comeback were dashed when Niall O’Brien had to settle for a point from a 56th minute penalty. Despite hitting 10 wides, Clonkill eventually won by seven points, 2-15 to 2-7. And so the scene was set for the third county final meeting of Clonkill and Raharney in five years. Postponed by a fortnight owing to the All-Ireland final between Kilkenny and Galway going to a replay, the final was played in testing conditions before nearly 2,000 spectators at Cusack Park. Clonkill led by 1-6 to 14 at the end of an exciting first half. Brian Connaughton's goal from a 20-metre free had Raharney 1-3 to 0-5 ahead after 19 minutes, but Cathal Scally replied with a similar score five minutes later to give the

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Enda Morrison in action during the Junior Championship Final 2012 against Raharney

Brian Murray in typical pose during the intermediate Championship

Alan Dowdall heads upfield during the SHC


champions the edge at the break. Despite losing Connaughton to an injury four minutes after the restart, Raharney were just a point behind, 110 to 1-11 when Clonkill substitute Alan Dowdall's kicked goal gave Clonkill a four-point advantage with seven minutes to go. Pat O'Toole's charges tagged on five points per Alan McGrath (two), Andrew Mitchell, Conradh Reilly and Alan Dowdall in as many minutes before Robbie Greville pulled back a consolation goal for the Deelsiders in injury-time. It may not have been the classic final that many had anticipated, but that won’t worry a Clonkill team who made their own piece of history by keeping hold of the Examiner Cup for a second successive year. Clonkill lined out as follows in the SHC final: Stephen Nulty; Thomas Egan, John Fagan, Kelvin Reilly; Adam Price, Andrew Mitchell (0-3), Mark Keegan; Paddy Dowdall, Shane Power (0-1); Brendan Murtagh (0-4), Alan McGrath (0-3), Luke Loughlin; Anthony Price (0-2), Cathal Scally (10), Eoin Price (0-1). Subs used: Alan Dowdall (1-1), Conradh Reilly (0-1), Niall Dowdall, Christy Austin and Steven Cleary.

CLONKILL POWER TO U21 TITLE Clonkill’s dominance of the local hurling landscape continued on December 1 last when a powerful second half performance propelled them to a 2-15 to 0-13 victory over holders Castletown-Geoghegan in the U21 championship final at Lakepoint Park. A strong Castletown team led by 09 to 0-6 at the break, but they had no answer to Clonkill’s second half scoring onslaught. Castletown looked to be well on their way to back-toback successes when Niall O’Brien put them four points clear on the resumption, but they were then hit for an unanswered 2-5 in a devastating 18-minute spell that yielded goals from Enda Morrison and Cathal Scally. After O’Brien replied for the shell-

shocked black and ambers, Ciaran Crentsil, Morrison and Luke Loughlin pushed the winners 10 points clear. O’Brien pulled back two late points from placed balls, but the day belonged to an impressive Clonkill outfit. Clonkill’s U21 champions: Dylan O’Regan; Thomas Egan, Kelvin Reilly, Conor Thompson; Jack McGrath, Alan McGrath, Dan Sheridan; Niall Dowdall, Ciaran Crenstil; Niall Folan, Anthony Price, Luke McGrath; Luke Loughlin; Cathal Scally, Enda Morrison. Subs used: Finbar Thompson, Niall Murray, Cian Quinn, Ciaran Morrison, Thomas McLoughlin.

JUNIOR ‘B’ DOUBLE Just four weeks after winning the much-delayed 2011 junior ‘A’ hurling championship final, Clonkill retained the title thanks to a 2-11 to 1-7 victory over Raharney. In the curtain-raiser to last September’s intermediate final at Cusack Park, the Loughegar-based club defeated Lough Lene Gaels by 4-10 to 2-13 in an absorbing 2011 decider. Ultimately, a four-goal blitz in the first half proved decisive as it gave Clonkill a 4-5 to 1-11 lead at the break, and left the Gaels chasing the game in the second half. Cathal Scally started the goal rush after seven minutes before Paul Poynton added a second major four minutes later. Darragh McCormack replied with a goal for the Gaels to leave them trailing by 1-2 to 2-1 and they were level (1-6 to 2-3) by the 20th minute. But further Clonkill goals from Mark Keegan and Poynton ensured them of a three-point lead at the interval. Clonkill extended their advantage on the restart before Darragh McCormack’s second goal narrowed the gap to just two points, 4-9 to 2-13. The Gaels missed another goal chance before Alan McGrath converted a ’65 to put Clonkill three clear. The Collinstown side had one last chance to force extra-time when McCormack was fouled in the square, but county star Derek McNicholas’s penalty was brilliantly saved by Alan McGrath.

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Less than a month later, Clonkill overcame Raharney by 2-11 to 1-7 in the 2012 final at Lakepoint Park. There was little to separate the teams until corner forward Philip Dowdall swooped for the opening goal to give the winners a 1-5 to 0-5 lead at the break. The green and golds stretched their lead to six points before a kicked Joey Boyle goal brought Raharney back into it. But Clonkill put the result beyond doubt when substitute Enda Morrison scored the insurance goal in stoppage-time. Clonkill’s 2011 junior ‘A’ champions: Stephen Nulty; David O’Reilly, Finbar Thompson, Thomas Egan; Christopher Austin, Alan McGrath, Jack McGrath; Mark Keegan, Conor Thompson; Larry Donoghue, Paul Farrell, Luke McGrath; Dylan O’Regan, Cathal Scally, Paul Poynton. Subs used: Daniel Sheridan, Philip Dowdall and Liam Farrell. The 2012 winning line-up was: Brain Murray; Stephen Cleary, Finbar Thompson, Thomas Egan; Jack McGrath, Mark Keegan, Christopher Austin; Shane Power, Ciaran Crentsil; Luke McGrath, Larry Donoghue, Daniel Sheridan; Philip Dowdall, Paul Farrell, Luke Loughlin. Subs used: Liam Farrell, Enda Morrison, David O’Reilly, Niall Folan and James Fitzsimons.

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ST. MARY’S

T

he future has rarely looked brighter for St. Mary’s, Rochfortbridge after the club’s capture of the U14 Division 1 championship for the first time. In a year when the club gained national exposure through its appearance on RTE’s Celebrity Bainisteoir reality TV programme, St. Mary’s celebrated arguably their biggest success in half a century when they won a first ever U14 Division 1 championship. There were euphoric scenes at Cusack Park on September 9 last when a talented and well-drilled Rochfortbridge side defeated Rosemount by 5-5 to 2-9 to secure an historic success. Ironically, Rosemount were also St. Mary’s final opponents when they last won the senior championship 50 years ago. “It was our first time to win an ‘A’ championship since 1962,” U14 team mentor and former player Aussie Bradley proudly states. “Yes, we’ve won ‘A’ underage championships as part of Clann Braonain, and ‘B’ and ‘C’ championships on our own, as well as junior and intermediate championships at adult level, but this was our first top-flight success since the senior championship win of 1962. We also won the U14 Division 1 league, so it was an exceptional year for this group of players.”

Eoin Gorman has only one thing on his mind

U14 CHAMPIONS Having started out with the team at U6 level, the success was eight years in making for Aussie and his fellow mentors Ian Bradley (his older brother who captained Clann Braonain to a minor championship victory in 1990), Frank Duffy and former Ballinagore star Sean Robinson. “We’ve put in a lot of work with these lads, and it’s very rewarding to see it pay off,” continues Bradley, who played minor and U21 football for Westmeath over a decade ago.

“They’re a great bunch of lads who did everything we asked of them. It was good to see four of them – Sean Downey, Anthony Brady, Francis Duffy (team captain and Frank’s son) and Jamie Rooney – called up to the county U14 development squad. Ultimately, we’d like to get as many of them as possible through to the adult ranks. That’s going to be the hardest part.” The U14s suffered an early setback last year when they were beaten by

The 2012 under-14 Division 1 league and championship winners. Front row l/r: Enda Cully, Jamie Rooney, Jerry Byrne, Edward Whelehan, Paul Carpenter, Matthew Rowden, Mark Hyland, Aidan Robinson, Jack Hall, Cathal Jessop. Back row l/r: Jordan Ajani, Francis Duffy(c), Sean Lyster, Daibhin Colgan, Ned Cully, Adam Bradley, Anthony Brady, Matthew Bradley, Cian Gahan, Sean Downey, Eoin Fallon

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Club presentation night in November to honour 1962 Westmeath Senior Football Champions St Marys. Front row left to right; Larry Ennis, Rev Fr Eamonn O'Brien, Johnny Dunne, Jim Ryan, Larry Arthur Captain, Joe L'Estrange, Peter Flynn Bernard Fallon. Back row left to right: Brendan Arthur, Albert Fallon representing his late brother Jim, Paddy O'Brien, Tommy Kelly, Shane Arthur, representing his late father Paud, John O'Brien representing his late father Jack, and Bernard Bradley

dominating the opening 30 minutes, woodwork. The St. Mary’s goal was a eventual finalists The Downs in the first brilliant solo effort by Jamie Rooney in round of the Feile. They regrouped Rosemount only led by three points, 0the 12th minute after he raced through impressively, though, to pull off a 7 to 1-1, at the break after Cathal Byrne the heart of opposing defence before league and championship double. They and Padraig Nestor had both struck the firing an unstoppable shot topped their group in the to the top corner of Paul championship thanks to Kelly’s net. wins over St. Loman’s, The second half Rosemount and Millmore witnessed a remarkable Gaels. Their only defeat turnaround in which St. came against Feile Mary’s outscored their champions Shandonagh in opponents by double the first round, but they scores, 4-4 to 2-2. Points avenged that with a fourfrom Matthew Bradley and point victory in the semiMatthew Rowden narrowed final. the gap on the restart The final against before Bradley struck for Rosemount was a game of St. Mary’s second goal. The two halves, with St. Mary’s Rochfortbridge boys raised making better use of their The 2012 minor champions. Front row l/r: Katie Downey, Jenny Judge, Emma a third green flag three scoring chances when in Tracey, Donna Cleary, Niamh McDermott, Lisa Flanagan, Aine Grennan. Middle row l/r: Aoife Moran, Laura O’Sullivan, Amy Cully, Claire O’Sullivan, Leah minutes when Bradley set the ascendancy in the Kenny, Fiona Coyle, Shauna Fox. Back row l/r: Selina Bradley, Lisa Cully, up Jack Hall for a fine second half. Despite Francis Fallon, Sarah Kiernan, Michaela Brady, Jenny Judge

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finish. Rosemount responded with a quick 1-1 to leave the minimum between the sides before Bradley cracked home his second goal to give St. Mary’s some breathing space once more. Niall Hanevy pulled back a goal for Rosemount before the game was finally put beyond Rosemount’s reach when Jack Hall grabbed his second major after his initial effort had been blocked by the black and ambers’ full back Ciaran Fox. Hanevy blazed a late penalty over the bar for the losers, but the day belonged to a superb St. Mary’s team who celebrated wildly at the final whistle. “There was nothing between ourselves, Rosemount, Shandonagh and The Downs all year, but thankfully we got the breaks when it mattered,” says Aussie, who also managed the Rochfortbridge ladies minor team to a county title last year. St. Mary’s intermediate team endured a difficult year, but for a few weeks last summer, they were placed firmly in the spotlight when RTE TV presenter Brian Ormond assumed the managerial reins from Mullingar Shamrocks legend Ned Moore for the duration of the club’s involvement in the Celebrity Bainisteoir competition. The entire village got behind Ormond and his team in their quest to emulate Maryland’s success of four years ago in the same competition, but there was disappointment when they fell at the first hurdle to Donegal side Naomh Brid, who were managed by Brian Ormond’s wife and model, Pippa O’Connor. A big St. Mary’s support made the long journey to Ballintra, Co. Donegal for the eagerly-awaited clash at the end of July. Aided by a Ciaran Geraghty goal, the ‘Bridge led by 1-4 to 03 at the break and they still led by 1-7 to 1-5 with three minutes remaining. But there was heartbreak for the Westmeath side when Naomh Brid full back Clint Walsh came forward to score a late winning goal for the hosts. “It was very disappointing to be beaten by a freak goal,” Bradley remembers. “We were four points up after playing against the wind in the first half and were the better side for most of the game. But we were hit with a sucker punch at the end and it could have had a negative impact on the rest of our season.” In the IFC, St. Mary’s were just seconds away from beating champions-elect Castletown-Finea/Coole/Whitehall in their opening game at Kinnegad. Eoin Gorman and Ciaran Geraghty both found the net the net to put the ‘Bridge in a winning position, but they had to settle for a 2-7 to 3-4 draw after Eric Sullivan kicked an equalising free in injury-time. St. Mary’s then suffered back-to-back defeats to Rosemount and Ballymore to leave themselves with a mountain to climb in their quest to reach the knockout stages. David McCormack scored 2-2 as Rosemount eased to a 2-8 to 0-6 victory in Moate before Ballymore inflicted further misery on Ned Moore’s charges with a 1-8 to 0-5 win. The ‘Bridge routed a struggling Shandonagh side by 5-13 to 1-7 at Lakepoint Park in their fourth outing with centre forward Robbie Kenny helping himself to an incredible 4-3. But the victory was all in vain as Ballymore’s win over Rosemount elsewhere meant that they couldn’t qualify for the quarter-finals.

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Minor captain Emma Tracey accepts the Cup off Tom Walsh

Kieran Geraghty has a good eye for goal

Eoin Gorman takes his point

Despite having little to play for against Ballinagore in their final group game, St. Mary’s 0-11 to 2-6 defeat was still a major surprise. Fighting for their intermediate survival, Ballinagore led by 2-2 to 0-5 at the break thanks to goals from Ian Seery and Niall Kelly. After falling five points in arrears early in the second half, St. Mary’s rallied to draw level through Kieran Geraghty in the 56th minute. But showing the greater stomach for battle, Ballinagore had the final say when Eoin Miller converted the winning free in the final minute of normal time. Former Rhode and Offaly star Ken Kellaghan has since replaced Ned Moore as manager. Kelleghan’s selectors are Brendan Minnock, Eugene Coyle and ‘Chuck’ McDonagh, who replace Ernie Alford and Owen Nugent. “With the mix of youth and experience we have in the team, we should be challenging for an intermediate championship. We’re a strong Division 2 team and should be doing better in the championship,” Aussie concludes. St. Mary’s history-making U14 team was: Cathal Jessop; Aidan Robinson, Sean Downey, Ned Cully; Mark Hyland, Anthony Brady, Eoin Fallon; Francis Duffy (captain), Sean Lyster; Jack Hall, Matthew Rowden, Jamie Rooney; Paulie Carpenter, Matthew Bradley, Adam Bradley. The St. Mary’s team that suffered a narrow defeat to Naomh Brid of Donegal in the Celebrity Bainisteoir quarterfinal was: Declan Hogan; Cathal Coyle, Adam Nolan, Dwayne Leavy; Paul Carney, Michael Geraghty (captain), Dermot Judge; Colin Gavin, Alan Gavin; Eddie Alford, Eoin Gorman, Joe Bradley; Robbie Kenny, David Mitchell, Kieran Geraghty. Subs used: Joe Guiden and Brian O’Sullivan.

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Summer camps


GARRYCASTLE

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arrycastle’s defeat to Mullingar Shamrocks in last year’s Westmeath SFC final replay, which put paid to their four-in-a-row ambitions, shouldn’t be seen as the end of the road for this great team according to selector Aidan Dunning. Write off Garrycastle at your peril. That’s the defiant message emanating from the county’s most successful club of the past decade as they set their sights on regaining the Flanagan Cup in 2013. Following their defeat to Mullingar Shamrocks in last October’s county final replay, which brought an end to an incredible run of successes over the past few years at county, provincial and All-Ireland level, many felt it was the end of an era for Garrycastle but great teams don’t give up that easily and selector Aidan Dunning is convinced they will come back stronger than ever this year. “Anyone who thinks this Garrycastle team is finished is wrong,” the former Caulry and Westmeath footballer says. “All of the senior players are keen to stay on – none of them are contemplating retirement. We were very pleased with the progress some of the younger players made last year and they will have bigger roles to play in the future. The break we’ve had since the county final will have given the lads the chance to recover both mentally and physically from what have been an exhausting few seasons. “Remember, they got no break between the 2011 and 2012

Doron Harte takes a tumble in Garrycastle’s championship semifinal game against Maryland

BREAK WILL DO GARRYCASTLE GOOD championships. They were straight back into after losing the All-Ireland final replay to Crossmaglen. They have practically given up their lives for Garrycastle and they’ll be itching to get back at it this year. Anyone who thinks they are over the hill is in for a surprise.” Few teams in the country have played as much football as Garrycastle have since 2008, when they lost to Castledaly in the first of

five consecutive county final appearances. They subsequently won three county titles on the trot and appeared in two Leinster finals in 2009 and 2011, winning the latter at the expense of Dublin kingpins St. Brigid’s. And they broke further new ground for Westmeath clubs when they defeated near-neighbours St. Brigid’s of Roscommon to reach last year’s All-Ireland final, only to lose to Crossmaglen after a replay.

Garrycastle senior team before the drawn county final against Mullingar Shamrocks. Front row l\r: Sean Carey, Gary Mullery, Emmet Keena, Peadar Mulvihill, Karl Henson, Johnny McGuire, Robbie Fox, Gary McCallon, Conor Cosgrove, Enda Mulvihill, John Gaffey, James Duignan, Dessie Dolan, Shane O’Connell, Cathal Mullin, Alan Daly. Back row l\r: Sean Mulvihill (ball-boy), Matthew Guiheen, Conor Mulvihill (ball-boy), Jack Donohue, Paul Gunning, Padraig Cosgrove, Alex Gardiner, Seanie O’Donoghue, Neill Rattigan, Paul Dillon, Anthony Larkin, Paul Mulvihill, Ciarán O’Neill, James Dolan, Sean Brennan, Paddy Mulvihill (captain), Aidan Browne, Doron Harte, Justin Barrett, Conor Molloy, Gary Dolan, John O’Shaughnessy, Eoin Monaghan

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Garrycastle Ladies team that won the senior county final. Front row l\r: Grace Egan (captain), Aisling Flynn, Aoife Dolan, Aisling Claffey, Denise Murtagh, Lisa Fitzpatrick, Vicki McEnery, Paula Fox, Aine McCormack, Niamh Dooley, Sarah Maguire, Sarah Dolan, Meadbh Flynn, Claire Gaffey. Back row l\r: Laura Harrison (manager), Jane Henshaw, Aoife McCormack, Ciara McCormack, Jennifer Byrne, Laura Brennan, Anne Duignan, Anne-Marie Igoe, Megan McCormack, Orla Connaughton, Lorraine Duncan, Patricia Igoe, Aimee Duncan, Lauren Kennedy, Mary Duignan, Deirdre McEnery

In thanking the players for their remarkable dedication after they were relieved of the Flanagan Cup by Mullingar Shamrocks, Garrycastle chairman John Henson noted: “In the last 12 months alone, these lads, with replays added, have played four county finals, a Leinster final and two All-Ireland finals. “This squad have contested nine of the last 11 county finals, winning six. Winning a Leinster title on Sunday and back training on Tuesday night, taking just a week off at Christmas, these lads are an inspiration to all, and the new faces joining this year’s squad will know at first-hand what it will take to achieve similar success. “The squad will take a welldeserved break for a few months and no doubt return a fresher, hungrier

side in chase of another county title.” Dunning, who has been part of the Garrycastle management for the past five years and served as caretaker manager while the club sought a replacement for Anthony Cunningham after the All-Ireland club final replay (former Galway All-Ireland winner Paul Clancy was eventually appointed as Cunningham’s successor), is understandably proud of the team’s achievements. “We’ve done a lot for Westmeath club football; it’s just a pity we didn’t win the All-Ireland title when we had the chance the first day. We were also very disappointed to relinquish our county title. It was a big target of ours. With the exception of Athlone and Mullingar Shamrocks, no team had ever managed to do it before.

You have to take these chances when they come along.” He continues: “It would have been a marvellous achievement to do the four-in-a-row, especially as we had no break between the 2011 and 2012 campaigns. The two years were basically rolled into one. We only had three weeks between the All-Ireland final replay and the first round of the county championship against Tyrrellspass. “Contrast that with Crossmaglen who had a four-month gap to the first round of their county championship. The Westmeath championship is too drawn out in my opinion and doesn’t suit teams whose ambitions extend beyond winning a county title.” The Athlone club showed few signs of fatigue as they remained unbeaten

Garrycastle’s victorious Under 14 championship team. Front row l\r: Jack O’Connor, Cian O’Brien, Philip Monaghan, Joe Carmody, Caolan Jameson, Ross Mulvihill, Mark Denby, Brian Ruane, Eoin Mulvihill, Loic Gately, Conor Macken, Jack Brody. Back row l\r: Jamie Moran, Sean Dalton, Colm Henry, Brian Leahy, Brian Kenny, Bill Kelly (captain), Cathal Mannion, Enda Moran, Sean Mulvihill, Eoin Kenny, Oisin Langan. (Missing from photograph – Conor Mulvihill)

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Mark McCallon tussles with Donal O’Donoghue of Shamrocks in the county final replay

Eoin Monaghan gets in his kick despite the efforts of Mullingar Shamrocks defender Eddie Moore in the county senior final replay

Vicki McEnery, Pat Slevin and Deirdre McEnery celebrate after the county final

en route to another county final appearance. In the group stages, they drew with Tyrrellspass (1-11 to 3-5) and Bunbrosna (0-12 to 1-9), and beat Castledaly (2-13 to 1-13), Coralstown/Kinnegad (2-9 to 0-13) and Killucan (3-13 to 0-8). In the semi-final, which they qualified directly for as group winners, they overcame south county rivals Maryland on a 4-10 to 0-12 scoreline. Rising star Eoin Monaghan scored two goals, while Paddy Mulvihill and James Dolan also raised green flags for Paul Clancy's charges. Mulvihill's early strike helped the champions to a 1-6 to 0-1 lead after 18 minutes, but Maryland rallied and had reduced the deficit to three points before Monaghan pounced for his first major to make it 2-10 to 0-10. Monaghan and James Dolan - who replaced his injured cousin Dessie just before half-time - added further goals before the end to hand Garrycastle a somewhat flattering 10point victory. The four-in-a-row looked to be within Garrycastle’s grasp when they led Mullingar Shamrocks – who they had beaten in the 2010 and 2011 finals – by 3-7 to 1-4 early in the second half. But inspired by Lorcan Smyth, who bagged 2-5, the challengers staged a remarkable recovery to earn a 3-9 apiece draw and send the county final to a replay for the second year running. Garrycastle led by 2-7 to 1-4 at the break with their goals coming from James Dolan and Conor Cosgrove in the 22th and 29th minutes. In between, Smyth netted his first for Shamrocks after being set up by Seanie Daly. Shamrocks looked dead and buried when Cosgrove scored a soft goal within 30 seconds of the restart, but they refused to lie down and hit back with a second goal from Smyth two minutes later. Garrycastle still led by six points, 39 to 2-6, at the end of the third quarter, but failed to score thereafter with wing back Micheal Curley's 47th minute goal igniting Shamrocks' late comeback. Smyth eventually brought them level in the 57th minute and they had chances thereafter to snatch the unlikeliest of victories, but failed to take them much to Garrycastle’s relief. The sides renewed their rivalry at Cusack Park a week later on October 28 and once again Garrycastle got

259

Garrycastle defender Enda Mulvihill sizes up his options in the All-Ireland semi-final against St. Brigid’s (Roscommon) at Pearse Park, Longford

Garrycastle defender Alan Fox on the ball

Garrycastle Ladies senior captain Grace Egan with the championship cup


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Garrycastle team before the All-Ireland club final in Croke Park. Front row l\r: Donovan Hermbusche, Dessie Dolan, Alan Fox, Karl Henson, Paddy Mulvihill, John Gaffey (captain), James Dolan, Tom McHugh, Alan Daly, Mark McCallon, Conor Cosgrove. Back row l\r: Seanie O’Donoghue, Aidan Browne, Justin Barrett, Rory McGowan, Stephen McGuire, Paul Dillon, Cathal Mullin, Doran Harte, Gary Dolan, John O’Shaughnessy, James Duignan, David O’Shaughnessy, Enda Mulvihill, Peadar Mulvihill (Maor Uisce)

themselves into a winning position, only to allow Shamrocks to come back at them. Mullingar posted the opening two scores before the windassisted champions reeled off four ina-row, including three (two frees)

from Dessie Dolan. Garrycastle tightened their grip on proceedings when Dessie set up James Dolan for a goal after 14 minutes, but with Ciaran Curley to the fore, Shamrocks battled back to trail by a goal at the break, 0-6 to 1-6. Conor Cosgrove put four points between the sides just after the restart, but that was as good as it got for the Shannonsiders who had to wait until injury-time for their next Best Wishes To score as Shamrocks took control. After Matthew Guiheen had missed a Garrycastle GAA In 2013 glorious goal-scoring opportunity, Shamrocks clawed back the deficit with some excellent scores, including two long-range efforts from man of the match Seanie Daly and substitute Anthony Clinton. As the game ticked into stoppagetime, Daly gave the county town side the lead from a difficult free before doubling their advantage. Dessie Dolan had one last chance to win it for Garrycastle from a 25-metre free, but his goal attempt was deflected over the crossbar and seconds later referee Damien Maher sounded his final whistle. Shamrocks had prevailed by the narrowest of www.athlonevets.ie Bonavalley, Athlone margins, 0-12 to Tel: 090 6474020 | Fax: 090 6473217 1-8, and Patrick McGuire M.V.B. M.R.C.V.S. Garrycastle’s Triona Kinane M.V.B. four-in-a-row dreams were ended. OFFICE HOURS SPECIALISED FACILITIES Monday- Friday 8.30am- 7pm Paul Clancy, • Laboratory Diagnosis Saturday 8.30am - 5pm • Blood Analysis whose other • X-Ray Scanning PET CLINIC selector was • Ultrasonic Scanning Monday- Friday 8.30am- 10am Sean Connell (a • Hospital Facilities 1.30pm - 7pm brother of former Saturday 9.30am - 11.30am • Endoscopic Examinations 3pm - 4.30pm Dublin star • Gaseous Anaesthesia Or by appointment • Grooming • Boarding Kennels Senan), agreed that the Guiheen Continued Best Wishes To Garrycastle GAA

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miss was a turning point in the game. “Yes, Matthew Guiheen’s goal chance early in the second half was a super chance. I think everybody on the stand side was just waiting to see the net rattle,” said the Garrycastle manager. “He did everything right, kept his head down and his shot lot but it just went wide. We had some very good momentum at that time and maybe if we could have executed a goal, then it could have been a different result. “The lads are very disappointed because they are coming off the back of an All-Ireland final and they had a short bit of down time before they were trying to get the show back on the road again. They are disappointed because this is all new to them as they wouldn’t have lost too many county finals.” The Garrycastle team that was dethroned as county champions by Mullingar Shamrocks was: Cathal Mullin; Mark McCallon, Enda Mulvihill, Gary McCallon; Karl Henson, Doron Harte, John Gaffey; Aidan Browne, Paul Dillon; Matthew Guiheen, Paddy Mulvihill, Eoin Monaghan; Conor Cosgrove, James Dolan, Dessie Dolan. Subs used: Alan Fox, Seanie O’Donoghue, Ciaran O’Neill and David O’Shaughnessy.

U14 JOY FOR ‘CASTLE Garrycastle claimed the U14 Division 4 football championship title following an 8-9 to 3-6 victory over their south Westmeath neighbours Tubberclair in Rosemount in September. Tubberclair had beaten Garrycastle earlier in the year, but the team in green and red turned the tables with an impressive scoring performance.


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A close contest looked to be in making until Garrycastle scored four goals in a devastating eight-minute spell late in the first half to give themselves a 4-8 to 1-3 lead at the interval. Further majors from hat-trick hero Enda Moran, Stephen McGonagle, Cathal Mannion and Eoin Kenny wrapped up a comfortable win for the Athlone-based side in the second half. Garrycastle’s U14 champions were: Sean Mulvihill; Mark Demby, Brian Leahy, Brian Kenny; Joe Carmody, Billy Kelly, Erin Mulvihill; Cathal Mannion, Oisin Langan; Enda Moran, Ross Mulvihill, Jack Brady; Brian Ruane, Conor Mulvihill, Philip Monaghan. Subs used: Jack O’Connor, Conor Macken, Cillian Jameson, Sean Dalton, Cian O’Brien, Eoin Kenny, James Moran, Colm Hiney, Loic Gately.

Garrycastle Under 14 captain Bill Kelly receiving the championship trophy from Co. Minor Board Secretary Michael McHugh. Other Garrycastle players in the picture are, from left, Caolan Jameson, Sean Mulvihill, Mark Denby, Ross Mulvihill, Brian Kenny, Brian Ruane, Joe Carmody, Jack O’Connor and Conor Mulvihill

that the head-to-head rule was being title was: Shane O’Connell; Gary used to decide the league winners, Mullery, Sean Brennan, John and their frustration was only added O’Shaughnessy; Anthony Larkin, to when it emerged that Garrycastle Ciaran O’Neill, Robbie Fox; Aidan and Mullingar Shamrocks had agreed Browne, Matthew Guiheen; Neil LEAGUE TREBLE FOR ‘CASTLE that the county final would ‘double up’ Rattigan, Conor Cosgrove (0-5, 3 Garrycastle may have relinquished as a league fixture. The final ended in frees), Peadar Mulvihill; Noel Galvin their grip on the Flanagan Cup last a draw and the point Garrycastle (captain), James Duignan, Eoin year, but they could take solace from gained saw them join Castledaly at Monaghan (2-1). Sub used: Enda their feat in winning no fewer than the top of Division 1. And under the Keena. three league titles. head-to-head rule, Paul Clancy’s Division 7 final winners over The Athlone-based club secured a men were crowned league Mullingar Shamrocks: Shane unique hat-trick of league successes champions, having defeated O'Connell; Sean Carey, Sean for 2012 after winning the Division 1, Castledaly earlier in the campaign. Brennan, Eoin Mooney; Frank 3 and 7 crowns. The Division 1 title In November, Garrycastle Doolan, Anthony Larkin, Peadar was won in somewhat controversial completed the second leg on the Mulvihill; Matthew Guiheen, Ciaran circumstances at Castledaly’s league treble when their second team O'Neill (0-2); Alex Gardiner (0-3, 2f), expense. Both teams finished with atoned for the disappointment of their Johnny McGuire (0-1), Neil Rattigan; the same number of points (13), but relegation from the intermediate Paul Mulvihill (2-0), Noel Galvin (1-2, despite having an inferior scoring ranks by claiming Division 3 honours. 0-1f), Padraig Cosgrove(1-2). Subs difference, Garrycastle won the A 2-6 to 1-7 victory over Ballymore used: Robbie Shine, Enda Keena, league title under the head-to-head secured the title with one round still to Colman Gantley, Emmet Keena and rule. play for Aidan Dunning’s charges, David Broughan. Many in Castledaly were unaware who have jumped from Division 4 to Division 2 in the last two years. Not to be outdone, Garrycastle’s junior ‘B’ team captured the Division 7 title thanks to a 4-11 to 0-5 victory over Mullingar Shamrocks in the delayed final at Lakepoint Park in February. First half goals from Paul Mulvihill (two) and Padraig Cosgrove ensured the green and reds of a commanding 3-5 to 0-3 lead at the break. A fourth goal from Noel Galvin in the second half wrapped up a comfortable win. The Garrycastle team Paddy Mulvihill celebrates after scoring Garrycastle’s Garrycastle captain John Gaffey with referee Rory goal in the All-Ireland club final in Croke Park, which defeated Ballymore Hickey and Crossmaglen captain Paul Hearty while Crossmaglen’s Danny O’Callaghan to secure the Division 3 before the All-Ireland Club final in Croke Park shows his disappointment

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MILLTOWN

M

Joe Kenny takes on the Kilbeggan defence

illtown are hoping to mark the 10th anniversary of their last JFC success with another championship win as upand-coming forward Alan Geraghty explains. A decade after they defeated Mullingar Shamrocks to capture the junior championship for a sixth time, Milltown have turned to the man who oversaw that success – Martin Lynn – in a bid to regain the Hugh Daniels Cup. The former county player has been appointed manager for 2013 in succession to Frank Mescall, who has returned to manage Milltown’s fierce rivals and neighbours Ballynacargy after two years with the Rathconrath-based club. Mescall guided Milltown to successive junior championship semi-final appearances, only to lose to St. Paul’s and Kilbeggan Shamrocks respectively. “Frank made good progress with us, but we’re hoping Martin will be able to give us the extra push that’s needed to get us across the line,” explains Milltown’s highly-promising corner forward Alan Geraghty, who played in the club’s 2010 JFC final defeat to Milltownpass as a 16-year-old. “Martin won the junior championship as a player and a manager, and he also won a senior championship with our ladies team two years ago. He was the man all the players wanted when we had a meeting on the issue at the end of last year, and we’re delighted that he has agreed to come back and train us. “By appointing Eddie Somers and

AIMING TO BRIDGE 10-YEAR GAP Mick Kiernan as his selectors, Martin has ensured there is continuity from the last management. Eddie was a selector last year and Mick was a selector the year before. They both know us inside out and we’re looking forward to a successful year.” On reflection, Milltown weren’t that far away from lifting silverware last year. They held a four-point lead midway through the second half of their semi-final clash with Kilbeggan, but lost their way in the closing stages and Kilbeggan went to beat Mullingar

Shamrocks in the final. “We just fell short in the last 10 or 15 minutes,” recalls Alan, who is a member of this year’s Westmeath U21 panel. “Anytime you throw away a lead like that is disappointing. We mightn’t have been as fired up as Kilbeggan who lost the previous year’s semi-final to Garrycastle by a point. I’m sure their defeat to us in the 2011 championship was another incentive for them to beat us. “We want to rectify that this year and I think we can. The attitude seems to

Milltown Junior team, 2012. Front row l/r: Micheal Connell, Edward Nally, Micheal Kiernan, Steven Higgins, Alan Geraghty, Jarlath Boyce, Joe Kenny, Frank McLoughlin, Paul Mahon, Bernard Kiernan, Patrick Somers, Tom Dillon, Sean Somers, Ciaran Byrne. Back row l/r: Brendan Lynn, Mark Geraghty, Johnny Duncan, Daniel Kenny, Paul Heduan, William Keegan, Donal Kenny, Gerry Byrne, Patrick Gavigan, Micheal Geraghty, Damien Byrne, Paul Mulvaney, Eoin Kenny, Micheal Devaney

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The 2012 minor squad. Front row l/r: Shane Cunningham, Kevin Cuff, PJ Maxwell, Conor Duncan, Owen Ryan, Brendan Burke, Colm O’Rourke (Mascot). Back row l/r: Andrew Kennedy, Liam O’Rourke, Micheal Reilly, Sam Moran, Ben Maxwell, Thomas Lynn, Eanna Keena, Diarmuid Maguire, Joe Halligan, David McKnight, Darren Sloan

be a lot better among the players who’ve done a lot of fitness work over the winter. Hopefully, it will stand to us come the championship.” Under the guidance of Frank Mescall and his selectors Eddie Somers and David Molloy, Milltown started their JFC campaign just as they ended it with a defeat to Kilbeggan Shamrocks. Sean Somers’ early goal gave the boys in green a 1-7 to 0-7 lead at the interval and they extended their advantage to five points on the restart before Kilbeggan responded with a goal. Milltown still had their noses in front entering the final 10 minutes, but Kilbeggan finished with a flourish by scoring an unanswered 3-2 to run out 4-10 to 1-11 winners. Milltown wouldn’t lose again until they renewed their rivalry with Kilbeggan in the semi-final. They comfortably accounted for Loughnavalley (1-21 to 0-6) and their 2011 semi-final conquerors St. Paul’s (1-12 to 0-7) in their next two games before pulling off a surprise 0-12 to 09 victory over Moate All-Whites at Cusack Park. Having just come down from the intermediate ranks, Moate were many people’s favourites to go straight back up, so it was a significant scalp for Milltown to take. After trailing by 0-1 to 0-3 early on, Milltown battled back to lead by 0-6 to 0-3 after 16 minutes thanks to points from Joe Kenny, Willie Keegan and Paddy Gavigan. Moate narrowed the gap to the

minimum at half-time, 0-6 to 0-7, but Milltown regained the initiative in the second half with scores from Kenny and their highly-rated midfielder Frank McLoughlin to close out the game. Frank Mescall’s charges stuttered to a 0-14 to 0-10 victory over Delvin before hammering Ballycomoyle in their sixth outing at Springfield. Jarlath Boyce netted twice in the first half to leave them perched on a 2-6 to 0-2 lead at the interval. A third goal from Donal Kenny in the second half put the seal on an emphatic 3-16 to 0-2 win. Against St. Joseph’s at Ballynacargy, Milltown had to come from four points down with six minutes remaining to earn a 1-10 to 2-7 draw. They defeated Multyfarnham by 1-11 to 1-8 in their final group match, but the dropped points against Kilbeggan and St. Joseph’s meant they had to be content with a quarter-final (as opposed to a semi-final) place. St. Loman’s second team provided the quarter-final opposition for Milltown at The Downs. Loman’s led by 0-4 to 0-3 at the end of a lowscoring first half and they doubled their lead within two minutes of the restart when Cormac Corroon converted a free. But the more experienced Milltown men refused to panic and they regained parity before full forward Jarlath Boyce struck the winning goal in the closing stages to give them a 1-8 to 0-8 victory. In the semi-final at Cusack Park,

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substitute Sean Somers’ goal had Milltown leading by 1-2 to 0-3 at the break. They were looking good for a place in the final when scores from Frank McLoughlin and Alan Geraghty pushed them four points clear after the resumption, but Kilbeggan reduced the deficit to the minimum before Simon O’Neill scored a crucial goal to give the maroons the lead with four minutes remaining. John Brennan and Frank McLoughlin then exchanged points before the latter blazed over with a goal at his mercy. That left just a point in it again, but Brennan had the final say for Kilbeggan when he converted an injury-time free to give them a 1-9 to 1-7 victory. Milltown will once again ply their trade in Division 3 of the All-County League this year after beating Ballinagore in their final game to stay up. “It was very important that we won that game because the standard of football in Division 3 is quite high. We’ll be playing against good quality intermediate teams like Milltownpass, Ballynacargy and Kilbeggan, and that should give us an advantage over the other junior clubs,” says Alan, who also takes encouragement from the success of the Millmore Gaels underage club. A combination of Milltown and Ballymore, Millmore claimed the U14 Division 1 Shield and also contested the minor championship Division 3 final. Managed by Johnny Meares, Kevin McLoughlin, Seamus Kennedy and Eamon Hynes, the U14s began the year by reaching the Feile na nOg semi-final where they were beaten by The Downs. They narrowly missed out on a place in the semi-finals of the U14 Division 1 championship, but did have the consolation of beating St. Loman’s in the Shield final at Ballynacargy. There was disappointment for the Millmore Gaels minors who, under the management of Michael Kiernan and Denis O’Roarke, lost the Division 3 (13-a-side) final to Shandonagh in Ballynacargy. Twice during the first half, they enjoyed a four-point lead, but a Luke Tynan goal had Shandonagh level at the break. Millmore Gaels regained the lead in


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Joe Kenny tries his best to evade this challenge

Frank McLoughlin has been the club’s most consistent performer in recent years

Paul Mahon makes sure to get the ball under his control

the second half and looked the more likely winners until Tynan fisted home his second goal with 10 minutes remaining. Millmore applied strong pressure after that, but they couldn’t regain parity as Shandonagh held on for a 2-5 to 0-9 victory. “I took the minors for a few training sessions last year and I could see the talent that’s there,” explains Geraghty who, at now 19, isn’t long out of the minor ranks himself. In ladies football, Milltown failed to retain their senior championship crown, but they did win the U14 ‘B’ championship at Rochfortbridge’s expense, while they also captured the junior ‘B’ championship title thanks to a 3-12 to 2-2 victory over St. Loman’s. Milltown lined out as follows in their JFC semi-final defeat to Kilbeggan Shamrocks: Damien Byrne; Paul Heduan, Paul Mulvaney, Michael Connell; Conor O’Reilly, Patrick Somers, Bernard Kiernan; Donal Kenny, Frank McLoughlin; Joe Kenny, Willie Keegan, Paul Mahon; Steven Higgins, Jarlath Boyce, Alan Geraghty. Subs used: Sean Somers, Owen Kenny and Patrick Gavigan. The Millmore Gaels U14 Division 1 Shield winning panel was: Peter Kennedy, Sean Keena, Ciaran Lynam, Jack Kearney, Ronan McLoughlin, Ian Burke, Dylan Molloy, Jamie Meares, Aaron Kennedy, Joe Kincaid, Mark McCaughey, Dylan Rabbitt, Leon Hynes, Daire Hynes, Sean McCabe, Conor Dillon, Sam Maxwell, Oisin Ryan and Christopher Whyte. Millmore Gaels’ minor championship Division 3 finalists were: Kevin Cuffe; Diarmuid Maguire, David McKnight; PJ Maxwell, Liam O’Roarke, Darren Sloan; Thomas Lynn, Joseph Halligan; Ben Maxwell, Sam Moran, Michael Reilly; Eanna Keena, Conor Duncan. Sub used: Eoin Ryan. Milltown’s junior ‘B’ ladies football champions: Kelly Phillips; Louise Kiernan, Sinead Boyce, Megan Pendred; Celine Mahon, Helen Walsh, Rachel Dillon; Bronagh Beglan, Tracey Dillon; Laura Kiernan, Karen Walsh, Tamara Keena; Sarah Pendred, Anne-Marie Creagh, Leonie Keena. Subs used: Megan Devanney and Linda Somers.

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Alan Geraghty stretches to get the ball under his control

Paul Mulvaney gets his tackle in against Kilbeggan’s Keith Gorey

Damien Byrne makes sure to get his body behind the ball


DELVIN

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or the third consecutive year, Delvin will embark on the senior hurling championship in 2013 as they continue to ply their trade in the top flight. It is a prolonged run for the Valleymen, but one they hope to maintain for some time to come. Star forward Killian Murphy believes that it is time for them to step it up to the next level. Two wins in two years has kept Delvin in senior hurling. Killian admits that it was essential to consolidate their position in the senior ranks throughout the first couple of years but 2013 should be the year when they make more progress. In 2011, Delvin just missed out on a place in the quarterfinal when they lost out to St Oliver Plunkett's by two points and the hope was that they could build on that in the following campaign. However, the emigration of some key players left the squad almost decimated for the 2012 campaign and that reflected some of their early season results. Heavy defeats to Castlepollard, Castletown-Geoghegan and Lough Lene Gaels left Delvin facing a relegation play-off and despite these results, Killian was confident that they

An off balance Killian Murphy battles for possession

MURPHY’S LAW could survive the drop. “We had hoped to build on the 2011 campaign. We had already managed to avoid relegation when we played Plunkett's, so to be honest the necessary effort wasn't put in, but if we had, I'm sure we could have beaten them that day,” stated the 22year-old. “There was a good bit of optimism in

the squad that we could build on that in 2012, but a few of the lads headed off abroad and it soon dawned on us, that it would be difficult to stay up. Once we got the bad start to the campaign, heads dropped and so too did the numbers at training. “But we did get a lot of the lads back for the Brigid's game and it was actually the first time all year that we

The 2012 minor hurling panel. Front row l/r: Alan Cox, Ronal Kelly, Conor Dolan, Stefan Ennis, Emmett Fox, Cormac Horan, Ian McCormack. Back row l/r: Darragh Clinton, Alan Clune, Graeme Daly, Colin Fitzsimons, Paddy Kelly, John Ivory, Eoin Carolan, Niall Gaffney, Ollie Cassidy

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The 2012 Division 2 Cup finalists. Front row l/r: Aaron Mc Cormack, Patrick Clune, Alan Cox, Thos Clune, Niall Williams, Patrick Farrington, Barry Williams, Francis McGrath, Martin Forde. Mascots Enda Newman, Ryan Forde. Back row l/r: Patrick Farrelly, John O’Shaughnessy, Padraig O’Shaughnessy, John Ivory, Conor Dolan, Alan Clune, Brendan Milligan, JP Farrelly, Killian Murphy, Ger Clune, Billie Cruise, John Reilly

had a full strength team out.” The match against St Brigid's was one of the most exciting and closest in the senior hurling championship as both sides gave it their all to maintain their top flight status. The game itself had everything from plenty of scores to loads of goalmouth action and indeed the lead changed hands on no fewer than eight occasions during the 60 minutes. With just three minutes remaining on the clock, Delvin actually trailed by one-point, but they hit back with a goal from Alan Clune, before Killian popped over a point. St Brigid's tried in vein to score a goal and had two good chances of doing so, but all they could muster was a solitary point as it

was to be Delvin's day. The maroon and whites had excellent performances from Paddy Farrington, Tadgh Kelly and Killian himself, who popped over six points, four of which came from play. “It was a huge relief to win the relegation play off. It really was a game that could have went either way, but thankfully, we got the right result. I knew were in with a good chance having most of the lads back, but I don't think too many could have predicted that result.” Killian revealed that the likes of Ger Clune, John Cogan and John O'Shaughnessy will be joined by Anthony Clune in returning to the fold in 2013.

“To have such experienced players like that back in the squad will make a big difference to us. We also have about five or six lads coming through from under-16 and minor. These are a very talented bunch and it gives us a good mixture.” For the forthcoming campaign, Delvin will be hoping to progress further and Killian is confident that with the squad that they have at their disposal, they can at least reach the knockout stages. “I do think that we can match the likes of Plunkett's, we should have beaten them before and I'm sure that if we can put in a good effort then we can trouble some of the teams in the senior championship.”

The under-14 Division 3 hurling squad. Front row l/r: Eoin Garry, Josh Coll, Dean Ennis, Dean Carroll, Adam Lynch, Daniel Lynch, Shane Vaughan, Peter Beattie. Back row l/r: Sean Gaffney, Anthony Harris, Jamie Anderson, Aaron Boylan, Evan Halpin, Lonan Francis Manny, Darragh Horan, John Vaughan, Dean Poynton

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Alan Clune heads goalwards against Castlepollard in the MHC final

Alan Cox is another rising star in the club

The club has been working tirelessly with its underage structure and they are certainly beginning to reap the benefits of that, at all levels. “The likes of Martin Newman, Seamus Ennis, Martin Forde, Kevin Williams, Assumpta Dolan and JP Farrelly to name but a few have been doing great work at underage level. Our under-12 side is strong in Leinster, never mind the county, while our minors won the championship in 2011 and it was disappointing that they didn't defend their title successfully. “There is a good core of players coming through every year now and that is so important, if we can keep them all together along with the experienced players, then I'm confident we can do well in the senior championship.” Killian will yet again be a member of the Westmeath senior hurling squad in 2013 and he is looking forward to working with club mate Seamus Ennis, who is a new selector with the side. “It is great that Seamus is on board. He is great hurling man and I'm sure he will work well with Brian (Hanley) and Johnny Greville. It is a very professional set up and it certainly benefits all players when they go back to their clubs. At 22-years-old, Killian has a long career ahead of him, but he is already one of the more experienced players on the squad. “I'm there since 2007 when Castlepollard beat us in the intermediate final, so I've been around a while now. Hopefully we get to play in a senior final in the not too distant future.”

AMALGAMATION OFFERS HOPE

Killian Murphy led by example against St Brigid’s

Delvin joined forces with neighbours St. Paul’s to reach last year’s U16 Division 3 championship final against Multyfarnham. Club secretary and player Barry Williams is hoping the amalgamation will lead to an upturn in fortunes at adult level. “It’s the way things are going. You can see it happening with other clubs.” So says Delvin football secretary Barry Williams of the Valley’s decision to amalgamate with

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St. Paul’s at underage level last year. The amalgamation almost yielded instant success in the form of an U16 Division 3 championship. Unfortunately for Delvin/St. Paul’s, they were forced to give second best to Multyfarnham in a cracking final at Cusack Park, despite producing a wonderful second half comeback. While both north Westmeath clubs would love to be able to continue fielding on their own at juvenile level, the reality is that the numbers simply aren’t there for them to do so. So just like St. Malachy’s/Ballinagore, Maryland/Tang, Kilbeggan/St. Joseph’s and Millmore Gaels (Milltown and Ballymore), they’ve had no option but to combine forces. “We just don’t have the players from U14 upwards. St. Paul’s are in the same boat, so this was the best way forward for both of us. All the rural clubs are struggling for numbers. It’s a big issue in the GAA that needs to be addressed,” says Barry, who succeeded the long-serving Sean O’Brien as secretary at the start of 2012. Barry takes encouragement from the progress the Delvin/St. Paul’s U16s made last year under the tutelage of Joe Flynn and Eugene Dolan. They overcame some strong opposition en route to the 13-a-side decider against Multyfarnham on November 4. Multy looked to be on course for a comfortable victory when they led by 3-5 to 1-2 at half-time, but Delvin/St. Paul’s outscored them by 3-1 to 0-1 in the third quarter to draw level, 4-3 to 3-6, by the 46th minute. However, their momentum was broken in the closing stages as Multy tagged on a further 1-2 to run out 4-8 to 4-4 winners. Ciaran O’Connell opened the scoring for Delvin/St. Paul’s, but Multy quickly assumed control and after Adam and Daniel Loughrey had raised white flags, Keith Reid pounced for the opening goal in the 13th minute. Delvin/St. Paul’s immediately replied with a goal of their own from Conor Mullally after good work by Darragh Clinton, but Multy took over again. Having had two major let-offs when Eoin Carolan and Niall Gaffney both struck the woodwork for Delvin/St.


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Paul’s, Multy grabbed two more goals via Reid and Peter Murtagh to take a commanding nine-point lead into the break. There appeared to be no way back for the Meathborder combination but, showing great courage and determination, they staged an incredible comeback after the restart. Within two minutes of the restart, Darragh Clinton had the ball nestling in the Multy net. Eoin Carolan reduced the deficit further with a great point before Clinton crashed home his second goal after fielding Ronan Kelly’s sideline delivery. Daniel Loughrey replied with a much-needed point for Multy to leave three in it before Eoin Carolan sent a dipping shot to the roof of Craig Sweeney’s net to level an extraordinary game. Crucially, though, Delvin/St. Paul’s weren’t able to get their noses in front as Adam Loughrey restored Multy’s lead on the counterattack. The decisive score came with nine minutes remaining when Colm Hogan weaved his way through the losers’ defence to score Multy’s fourth goal. Darragh Clinton pulled back a point for Delvin/St. Paul’s in injury-time, but it was a case of too little, too late as Multyfarnham prevailed be four. Delvin/St. Paul’s lost out to Millmore Gaels by 1-3 to 1-11 in the U21 15-a-side championship, but perhaps the year’s biggest disappointment was the minor team’s Division 3 championship quarter-final defeat to Ballycomoyle in Clonmellon. As Sean O’Brien, who managed the minors along with Frank Reid, put it: “When you consider that we had most

of the players that played against each other in the previous year’s final (which Delvin won) available to us, it’s baffling how we weren’t able to put in a better performance. But you can’t have any complaints when Ballycomoyle come to your pitch and beat you.” Likewise, Delvin’s junior team experienced another disappointing year in which they failed to win a championship game and narrowly missed out on promotion from Division 7B of the All-County League. Under the management of Tomas Burke, who is a Games Promotion Officer based in Dublin, Kevin Murphy, John Williams and Mel Newman, they opened their JFC campaign with defeats to Multyfarnham (2-5 to 4-7), Moate AllWhites (0-1 to 2-20) and Ballycomoyle (2-6 to 3-6). Their best performance of the season came in a 27 to 1-10 draw with St. Joseph’s at Springfield. After falling two points in arrears early on, a Johnny Ivory penalty got Delvin motoring and further scores from Ivory, Emmett O’Neill and Alan Cox had them 1-5 to 0-4 in front at the break. The Streamstown men resumed with points from Niall Moran and Andy Scally before goalkeeper Andrew Meares twice came to their rescue with vital saves. Andrew McCormack left a point in it before an Ivory free gave Delvin some breathing space again. Joseph’s then scored 1-3 without reply to take command, but the Valley men refused to yield and hit back with a point from centre back Niall Williams and a goal

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The Delvin/St Paul’s under-16 squad that reached the Division 3 final

Patrick Farrelly troubles the Castletown Geoghegan defence

Ger Clune is at the receiving end of a tough challenge

Kevin Williams and Tosh Clune celebrate the relegation win over St Brigid’s

from substitute Cian O’Neill to regain the lead. However, a late McCormack point ensured Joseph’s of a share of the spoils. For the second year in-a-row, Delvin pushed Milltown all the way in their next outing at The Downs, only to lose by four points, 0-10 to 0-14. Milltown were grateful to full back Michael Connell who kicked a lastgasp insurance point after the maroon and whites had threaten to grab a late equalising goal. Delvin’s season petered out after that as they suffered further defeats to champions-elect Kilbeggan Shamrocks (0-6 to 4-21) and Loughnavalley (0-11 to 2-10), while their final scheduled game against St. Paul’s was never played. In Division 7B of the league, meanwhile, the Valley men defeated CastletownFinea/Coole/Whitehall, Ballycomoyle and Multyfarnham, but were denied promotion after losing heavily to Mullingar Shamrocks in the deciding game late in the year. “We were disappointed not to get promoted. All the other junior teams play in Division 5 and we badly need to get up to that level to have any chance in the championship,” says Barry, whose brother Niall is one of Delvin’s top dual stars. “We didn’t do ourselves justice in our last game against Mullingar Shamrocks, which we had a threemonth wait for. To be fair to Shamrocks, their third team would beat most junior teams – a lot of them would have played in the junior championship final against Kilbeggan.” He continues: “From a football point

275

of view, hurling is a huge problem for us. I would say we have more dual players than any other club in the county. We have 10 or 12 dual players starting every game for us.” Williams, who usually lines out in the half back line, says Delvin will be targeting a place in the knockout stages of the JFC and promotion from Division 7B in the coming season. “We’re hoping for a much better year. The aim is to reach a junior championship quarter-final and to gain promotion in the league. There is never any more than a kick of a ball between us and the likes of Ballycomoyle, St. Joseph’s, Multyfarnham and Loughnavalley. If we could beat those four teams, we’d end up in the quarter-finals, so it’s definitely something that can be achieved,” he concludes. The Delvin/St. Paul’s team which contested the U16 Division 3 championship final was: Oliver Cassidy; Aaron Clogher, Owen Reilly; Steffan Ennis, Graeme Daly, Kevin Collins; Ciaran O’Connell, Eoin Carolan; Ronan Kelly, Conor Mullally, Shane Daly; Darragh Clinton, Niall Gaffney. Subs used: Philip Perry and Jamie McCullen. The Delvin team which drew with St. Joseph’s in the JFC was: Andrew Reilly; Eddie O’Neill, Billy Cruise, Emmett O’Neill; Liam Beddows, Niall Williams, Julian Sheerin; Brendan Milligan, Killian Murphy; Alan Cox, Sean Carroll, Aaron McCormack; Johnny Ivory, Jonathan Duggan, Kane Lawrence. Subs used: Stephen Reilly and Cian O’Neill.


TUBBERCLAIR

F

ormer county star Fergal Wilson is confident that Tubberclair can bounce back from last year’s shattering IFC semifinal loss to Caulry in the coming season. Picture the scene. With five minutes of injury-time played in their IFC semi-final against Caulry, Fergal Wilson puts Tubberclair two points clear from a free. Their place in the final looks assured, but there is still time for one last dramatic twist. From the kick-out, Caulry win vital possession and Ben Moran floats a high ball into the square where Gary Flanagan rises highest to fist the ball to the net for the winning goal. Heartbreak for Tubberclair, who had led by six points early in the second half, despite being without their AllStar goalkeeper Gary Connaughton and centre back James Martin, who were both injured (the former having suffered an horrific double ankle fracture a couple of months earlier just five minutes into his debut game for the Wolfe Tones club in Boston). The 1-13 to 2-11 defeat put paid to Tubberclair’s hopes of making an instant return to the senior ranks, from which they were relegated in 2011 following a playoff defeat to Athlone. But with their highly-rated manager Martin McCabe – who steered Garrycastle to a hat-trick of Flanagan Cups in the last decade –

Thomas Doogan seeks a way through the Ballymore defence

CAUGHT BY SUCKER PUNCH recommitting to the cause for another year and a promising batch of young players ready to make their mark, former county star Wilson is hoping they can make amends in 2013. “We got no luck last year, so you’d be hoping we’ll get some this year,” says the 1999 All-Ireland U21 and 2004 Leinster SFC medal winner, who announced his inter-county retirement at the end of 2011.

“Last year was the first since 2000 that I was able to concentrate fully on the club, and I enjoyed every minute of it, with the exception of the last couple against Caulry in the semifinal. Our goal was to go straight back up to senior and everything had been going according to plan up until they scored that late goal. Having led all the way, it was very disappointing to lose in that manner.”

Tubberclair intermediate panel that lost the semi final to Caulry 2012. Front row l/r: C Elliott, M Fitzgibbon, M Kenny, D Sammon, L Doogan, B Cassells, K Fagan (mascot), F Wilson capt, R Walker, D Cassells, A Coffey, S Lawless, D Kelly, and F Spollen. Back row l/r: K Connaughton, J Quigley, M Hopkins, D O’Brien, R Walsh, C Tighe, D Fagan, T Doogan, D Keegan, A Curley, E Quigley, B Cassells, R Buckley, K McKiernan, R Ashe, J Byrne, S Lawless and E Slevin

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Under 14 team 2012. Front row l/r: Gary Fitzpatrick, Dermot O’Rourke, Jack Connaughton, Ross Gibbons, Andrew Kennedy, Fred Kellegher, Stephen McGonagle, Tadgh Moody. Back row l/r: Corey Reid, Conor Spollen, Liam McGrane, James Sheerin, Liam Winnett, Oisin O’Meara, Aaron Murphy, Sean McGrane, Eoin Thornton, Mel Mullooly

He continues: “It was a hard one to take, but I’m sure we’ll get over it. There are a lot of reasons to positive going into the new season. Martin McCabe is staying on and he’ll be aiming to bring through a few more of the good minors he managed to a Division 2 championship in 2011. Also, we’ll be playing our league football in Division 1 again and that can only be a good thing.” It was no mean feat for Tubberclair

to finish in the top four of Division 1 of the All-County League, defeating top senior clubs like Garrycastle, Athlone and Castledaly in doing so. “That’s the level of football you want to be playing at,” explains Fergal, who is a member of the teaching staff at his alma mater Marist College. “Apart from the game against Mullingar Shamrocks, we held our own against everyone else. Our neighbours Tang are the only other

The U8’s in Croke Park

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intermediate club to ply their trade in the top division. Hopefully it will stand to us in this year’s championship.” Under the guidance of Cavan native McCabe and his selectors Seamus Greene, David Fagan and Matt Keegan, Tubberclair made a winning return to the IFC when they withstood a late rally from Tang in a disappointing local derby clash at a rain-soaked Pairc Chiarain last April. In a game which saw just four players


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Daniel Sammon puts pressure on the Milltownpass goalkeeper

Rory Walsh is a picture of concentration

Mark Fitzgibbon shows nifty footwork against Ballymore

– Alan Coffey and Fergal Wilson from Tubberclair, and Aidan Burke and Martin Rock from Tang – get on the scoresheet, the team in green and gold laid the foundations for a 0-9 to 1-5 victory in the opening half when they built up a commanding 0-7 to 02 lead. They only added two points in the second half, but were comfortable up until the final minute when Martin Rock’s penalty left just the minimum in it at the final whistle. In round two, Caulry defeated Tubberclair by 2-9 to 1-8 at Tang in a dress-rehearsal for the semi-final. In what was Gary Connaughton’s last involvement in the championship before his ill-fated American adventure, the Glasson outfit were left with a mountain to climb when Caulry stormed into a 2-7 to 1-2 halftime lead. Caulry were restricted to two points in the second period, but the 2009 champions weren’t able to make up the deficit. Martin McCabe’s charges got back to winning ways thanks to a hardearned victory over Milltownpass at Cusack Park. At the midway stage, Tubberclair led by 0-6 to 1-2, despite Seamus Faulkner’s 26th minute goal for Milltownpass. An upset looked to be on the cards when Andy Devine kicked Milltownpass into a 1-6 to 0-8 lead with 15 minutes to go, but Thomas Doogan, Alan Coffey and Francis ‘Brolly’ Spollen replied with points to give Tubberclair a 0-11 to 17 win. Tubberclair’s hopes of reaching the knockout stages were dealt a blow when they were pipped by Ballynacargy on a 1-9 to 1-10 scoreline at Rosemount. After Mickey Loran’s early goal, Ballynacargy led until the 57th minute when Alan Coffey (whose older brother Ian was abroad last year and was a significant loss to the club) equalised. However, Bal’ had the final say when Loran fired over the winner two minutes into injury-time. That reversal left Tubberclair needing to beat Garrycastle by at least 12 points in their final group game at Moate, while hoping that Tang could do them a massive favour by defeating Ballynacargy on the same evening at Cusack Park. Tang

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Fergal Wilson shows the Caulry defence a clean pair of heels

David Cassells is one of the tightest marking defenders in the county

David Fagan seems to have difficulty in getting the ball under control


upheld their end of the bargain by taking care of Bal’ and Tubberclair duly delivered their best performance of the campaign to register an emphatic 4-14 to 2-5 victory over the Garrycastle second string, which secured their quarter-final ticket. No-one could have predicted such a scoreline after Garrycastle had opened up an early 1-2 to 0-3 advantage, but Tubberclair recovered to lead by 3-8 to 1-4 at the break, with Alan Coffey (two) and Conor Elliot grabbing goals. They added a further 1-6 in the second half, including a penalty converted by James Martin. Tubberclair were pitted against Ballymore – a team managed by former Tubberclair and Westmeath star Gerry Walker whose son Ronan lined out at wing forward for the St. Claire’s Park outfit – in the quarterfinal at Cusack Park. Favoured by the breeze in the first half, an Alan Coffey-inspired Tubberclair led by 0-7 to 0-4 at the interval and they extended their advantage to six points after the restart. But they could only manage two further scores in the last 23 minutes as Ballymore battled back to within two points, 0-11 to 013. Renewing their rivalry with Caulry in the semi-final, Tubberclair recovered from the concession of an 11th minute Johnny Dolan goal to lead by five points, 1-8 to 1-3, at the break, with Coffey accounting for their goal from a penalty. When Mark Fitzgibbon extended their lead to six points within 15 seconds of the restart, the green and golds had one foot in the final, but Caulry reeled off four unanswered points to get themselves back into contention. By the end of the third quarter, Tubberclair’s lead had been cut to two points, 1-8 to 1-10, and the same margin continued to separate the teams until former county player Gary Flanagan’s late, late fisted goal enabled the Mount Temple men to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. Silverware also eluded Tubberclair at underage level in the past year, but their U16s did go close in the Division 2 championship final against Ballynacargy at Drumraney in mid-

October. Favourites Ballynacargy were 1-8 to 0-4 ahead at half-time, but second half goals from Breen Elliot and Nicky Kelly revived Tubberclair’s challenge. However, they could never quite come to grips with Ballynacargy’s dangerman Christopher Loran, who drove his side to a 2-14 to 2-8 victory. “We’re one of six or seven teams that could win it,” says the man with one of the sweetest left foots in Westmeath football of Tubberclair’s 2013 IFC prospects. “It’s a very competitive championship with the likes of Caulry, St. Malachy’s, Tang and ourselves all feeling we’re in with a shout. If we can get the bit of luck that deserted us this year, I think we could go a long way towards winning it.” The Tubberclair team which was edged out by Caulry for a place in the IFC final was: Kevin Connaughton; David Cassells, Liam Doogan, Simon Lawless; Bernard Cassells, Cathal Tighe, Mark Kenny; Thomas Doogan, Mark Fitzgibbon; David Fagan, Ronan Walker, Conor Elliot; Fergal Wilson, Francis Spollen, Alan Coffey. Subs used: Daniel Sammon, Rory Walsh, Eamonn Quigley and Robert Buckley. Runners-up to Ballynacargy in the U16 Division 2 championship decider: Kevin Fagan; Jason McHugh, Austin Murphy, Cian Sammon; Eoin Elliot, Luke Maleady, Keith Harrington; Robert Curley, Lorcan Seery; Gavin Hanley, Nicky Kelly, Ciaran Connolly; Breen Elliot, Ross Cooper, Adrian Garvey. Subs used: Keelan Cunningham, Paul Connaughton and Colm Brennan.

the future. Undoubtedly the two main highlights of our year were our trips to take part in blitzes in Cusack Park on the 21st June and then our unforgettable day in Croke Park on the 27th August last, as part of the Leinster GAA U8 Croke Park Activity Days. Both of these outings left an indelible mark on the young boys starting out on their long football careers with the club, and the excitement generated by the Croke Park trip especially is something none of us involved will ever forget. A lot of planning and organisation went into this trip, including a scheduled stop off in St. Brigids GAA club in Castleknock. St. Brigids kindly arranged a match for some of the younger boys involved who could not take part in the Croke Park game due to restrictions on the numbers allowed to play on the day. They also kindly opened up their club house on the day to allow the boys and the families to have a picnic and to tog out for the match in Croke Park. This ensured that everyone felt a part of the day. In Croke Park the whole experience was fantastic for all the boys, including going into the dressing rooms and coming up the steps onto the pitch, a team photograph on the pitch, the a game verses Our Lady’s Island St Fintan’s from Wexford, and going up to the presentation area afterwards for more photographs. 2012 Mentors:David Martin, Adrian Dolan, John Coogan and Adrian Fallon;

GREAT YEAR FOR U8 SQUAD Tubberclair U8’s had an extremely busy and enjoyable season. Between April and October we participated in 11 blitzes in all. As well as the 7 official Westmeath county board ‘Play and Stay’ initiative blitzes, we also organised a mini 3 club blitz with the Athlone and Clan na Gael clubs during the year, which proved to be very beneficial and enjoyable. This is a relationship we hope to foster into

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Liam Doogan gave some solid displays at full back


RINGTOWN

T

he heady days of winning senior hurling championships seem a distant memory for the Ringtown club and that is just what they are at this stage. It is now 26 years since the club last lifted the Westmeath Examiner Cup, which was their sixth title in total. In 1987, the club defeated Brownstown in the county final with a team that was made up of families in the area i.e Kilcoynes, Corrigans, Burkes and Neas to name just a few. That was their second success over the Archerstown side, who were the dominant force of that area; the first win being in 1980. The manner of the one-point victory in '87 saw Ringtown’s status cemented as one of the top teams in the county during that era. However, those days are now well and truly consigned to the memory of the older generation in the club, while the current squad must rely on stories they hear as they were too young or not even born when that success was achieved. The club's demise came in the mid nineties when that side began to break up and ever since the club has rebounded between senior and intermediate without ever really competing at the business end of the top flight grade. Emigration has played a major part

James Boylan shows a clean pair of heels against Raharney

LIGHTENING STRIKES TWICE in the club's decline over the years and like all rural clubs, they have struggled to contend with the player exodus that has become commonplace in the GAA. In 2012, Ringtown were tipped by many to make a swift return to the senior ranks, but the intermediate is not the easiest to get out of. Last year, former Castlepollard hurler Michael Lynch was installed as

manager. Lynch has a wealth of experience in management circles and it was hoped that he could bring them back up at the first attempt. But the loss of key players during the year was to prove detrimental to their cause as Lynch explains to the Maroon & White. Ringtown's quest for glory came to a halt at the semi final stage when eventual winners Crookedwood

The 2012 IHC finalists. Front row l/r: A Daniels, M Cunningham, K Melia, J Boylan, S Craig, P Burke, M Burke, D Cafferty, C Murtagh, J Boylan, T Daniels, S Moran, N Kilcoyne, J Hardman. Back row l/r: P Cheevers, J Nea, P Nea, G Nea, I McGivney, M Murphy, S Murtagh, D Moran, A Corrigan, D Cheevers, S Sullivan, S Brophy, P Fanning, D Kilcoyne, F Burke, F Boyhan, L O’Neill

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Padraig Fanning reaches full speed

Thomas Daniels is tackled unfairly against the Wood

Frankie Boyhan gets in his strike even though he is under pressure

recorded a win. The club have stuck with the same management team in 2013 with former player Gerry Nea joining Oliver Murtagh, Anthony Nea and Sean Curran as selectors to work alongside Lynch. The first match of the campaign was played in April and Cullion provided the opposition. As expected, Ringtown came out on top on a scoreline of 1-10 to 0-3. They followed this up with a surprise 2-8 to 1-13 defeat to Turin in their next outing. This was a real wake up call for the side. “The defeat to Turin probably did us no harm as it revealed to lads that we weren't going to have it all our own way in the championship. It was a poor performance and one we needed to get out of the system fairly quick,” said Michael. That's exactly what they did when Raharney's second string were put to the sword (0-8 to 0-4) to get their campaign back on track. A third win of the campaign followed when Fr Dalton's were defeated by 0-13 to 010. A 2-8 to 0-14 draw against Brownstown was then recorded, although everyone apart from the match official had this one as a narrow victory for the Archerstown outfit. Clonkill were put to the sword when a 1-12 to 1-7 victory was secured, which left Ringtown with nine points from six games and a place in the knockout stages almost secured. The last group match saw Ringtown take on Crookedwood, but the 'wood inflicted the second defeat of the campaign on Lynch's charges as they ran out winners by 1-10 to 1-8. Nonetheless, the side still qualified for the semi finals and once again Crookedwood would provide the opposition. The loss of three key players before the semi-final did not help Ringtown's cause. “We were without Geoffrey Nea, Emmett Corrigan and Niall Kilcoyne for the semi-final and they were a big loss. I reckon if we had any one of that three we would have beaten the Wood that day. “I think we were very unlucky against them and they got the scores at the right time. The Wood are a very

283

Darren Kilcoyne had an outstanding campaign in 2012

James Boylan gets the sliotar under control against Cullion

Pat Burke’s long deliveries launched many attacks


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The 2012 Junior ‘B’ finalists. Front row l/r: A Blacoe, J Moran, L O’Neill, J Boyhan, P Nea, A Daniels, S Brophy, T Daniels, S Moran, J Boylan, S Sullivan. Back row l/r: S Murtagh, P Cheevers, G Nea, I McGivney, E Corrigan, D Moran, D Kilcoyne, F Burke, F Boyhan, M Connors, G Maxwell, S Craig, J Nea, C Murtagh, B Brophy, J Macken

Colin Murtagh caused many problems for defences in 2012

Keith Melia is a very under rated hurler

dogged outfit and their hard to beat, but if we got to the final, I'm confident that we would have won.” For this year's campaign, Ringtown are in a similar position as last year player wise as they have lost no one else to emigration, according to Michael. “We would have more or less the same squad as last year. Niall Kilcoyne is gone travelling again, but we didn't have him at all last year. I think Geoffrey Nea should be back and he will be an addition.” Lynch is confident that if the right effort and commitment is put into the campaign then they can achieve their goal of gaining promotion back to the senior ranks. “Yeah I do think we can go well this year. A lot depends on how much the players want it. They are good enough to win the intermediate championship, there is no doubt about that, but they need to realise it will take a big effort to do so.” The club have placed a greater emphasis on their underage structure in recent years and from under-13 down, they are beginning to see the fruits of their labour. It is a long road back to the senior ranks and even longer to be competitive in the top flight, but Ringtown seem to be heading the right direction and who knows that elusive seventh title may not be too far away at all.

285

Colin Murtagh heads goalwards against Clonkill

Shane Murtagh keeps his eye on the sliotar


MARYLAND

2

012 was Maryland’s most successful year in senior championship football since 1966 when they contested the county final against Mullingar Shamrocks. Hoping to keep the momentum going in the coming season is the Drumraney club’s rising county star Callum McCormack. While Maryland’s march to last year’s SFC semi-final was generally regarded as a surprise, Callum McCormack and his team-mates didn’t see it that way. The brilliant young forward, who is tipped to be a star of Westmeath football for many years to come, saw it as another step on the ladder to what he hopes will eventually lead to the Flanagan Cup returning to Drumraney for the first time. “We’re still a work in progress,” the 21-year-old NUIG student insists. “We’ve won a lot at underage level and that winning mentality is now being brought through to the senior team. In 2011, we only won two championship games which meant that we could neither reach the knockout stages or be relegated. We weren’t prepared to settle for that so at the start of the year we set a goal for ourselves to reach the semi-finals. We weren’t prepared to settle for anything less.” McCormack believes it was no coincidence that Maryland’s performances improved following Finbarr Egan’s return to the helm.

Kieran Martin powers through against Castledaly

MARYLAND’S RISE CONTINUES “Finbarr is an ambitious manager. He gets the best out of every team he manages,” Callum says of the Athlone native, who steered the Mayo ladies to All-Ireland glory in the late 1990s and was interviewed for the Westmeath senior manager’s job last August. “He had done three years before with us – winning an IFC title and Celebrity Bainisteoir with us in 2008 and bringing us to a SFC quarter-final the following year – so it was no surprise to us that he got us to a semi-

final last year. We’ve 20-plus lads on our panel who share Finbarr’s ambition. I think it’s great that a small club like ours is so determined to do well.” Under the guidance of Egan and his selectors Pat Dunlea and Padraig Connell, Maryland showed that they meant business by powering to a 0-19 to 1-10 victory over St. Malachy’s in their Division B championship opener in Ballymore. After a slow start, the Fr Brady Park club settled down to play some excellent football and went into

Maryland/Tang team prior to minor final v St Malachys/Ballinagore. Front row l/r: Enda Kincaid, John Rock, Brian Donohue, Chris Connor (Joint Capt) Sean Coughlan, Niall Lynn, Calum, McCormack (Joint Capt), Darragh Burke, Martin Rock, Paul O’Neill, Peter Cunningham. Back row l/r: Trevor English, Christopher McCann, Kenny Egan, William Flanagan, Fergus Farrell, Lee Moran, Trevor Farrell, Christy Hermbusche, Christy Grimes, Owen Coughlan, Darren Malynn, Martin Donoghue, Niall Neary, James Ganley, Eanni Hermbusche

286


Maryland/Tang U-21 Champions 2012

the break leading 0-10 to 1-5. Twice after the restart, Malachy’s reduced the deficit to the minimum but, crucially, they couldn’t regain parity and Maryland – for whom John Reilly scored five superb points from play – pulled away in the final quarter to record a six-point victory which didn’t flatter them in the slightest. The south county outfit made it two wins from two when they accounted for The Downs by 1-12 to 0-8 in Moate. It didn’t take Maryland long to stamp their authority on proceedings with Callum McCormack’s fisted goal in the sixth minute, combined with points from Anthony Reynolds, John Reilly, McCormack, Kieran Martin, Darren Malynn and David Martin (two), easing them into a 1-7 to 0-2 half-time lead. The blue and whites put the result beyond doubt in the opening 12 minutes of the second half when they added four more points without reply per Martin, Reilly and McCormack (two). The Downs’ misery was complete when Luke Folan had a 55th minute penalty saved by Thomas

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group winners, but a 1-6 to 1-10 defeat to St. Loman’s in their final group game meant they had be content with a quarter-final place. Wearing their alternative green and white strip, Maryland struggled to find their best form, yet were still in contention until Kelvin Reilly scored a 57th minute goal for the winners. Despite their impressive form, Maryland were seen as the outsiders for the quarter-final clash with south county rivals Castledaly. The 2008 champions led by 0-6 to 0-4 at the break, but Maryland got their noses in front immediately after the restart when Ronan Moran scrambled Tom Browne’s centre to the net. Castledaly battled back to regain the lead before Anthony Reynolds levelled again. The game looked to have taken a decisive turn in Castledaly’s favour when Paul Kelly’s shot beat Thomas Moran, but Maryland refused to yield and inspired by Callum McCormack, who had re-entered the fray after being forced off at the end of the opening quarter with an injury, Kieran Martin, Tom Browne and Ronan Moran grabbed late points to tie up the scoring at 1-10 apiece and force a replay. Maryland showed tremendous resolve to win the replay by 2-9 to 2-8 after goals from Paul Kelly and MJ McLoughlin (penalty) had given Castledaly an early five-point cushion. A David Martin penalty ensured the Drumraney side of parity at the break, 1-6 to 2-3, and when Martin converted his second spot-kick midway through the second half, they were 2-7 to 2-4 to the good. Further points from Callum McCormack and David Martin pushed Maryland five clear before Castledaly


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Liam Reilly shows a great turn of pace against Castledaly

Ronan Moran demonstrates the art of the solo run

Conor Farrell takes a hefty shoulder against Garrycastle

mounted a late comeback which produced scores from Alan Stone (two), MJ McLoughlin and Lorcan Dolan. But they couldn’t force an equaliser as Maryland held on for a famous 2-9 to 2-8 victory. Maryland’s prize for beating Castledaly was a semi-final meeting with Garrycastle at Cusack Park, but this proved to be a bridge too far for them as the holders made it through to their fifth county final on the trot thanks to a 4-12 to 0-10 victory. Paddy Mulvihill’s early strike helped the All-Ireland runners-up to a 1-6 to 0-1 lead after 18 minutes, but Maryland rallied and had reduced the deficit to 0-6 to 1-8 at the interval. The blue and whites had wind advantage in the second period, but failed to make it count. Points from David Martin, Darren Malynn, Kieran Martin and Kenneth Kincaid had left three points in it before Eoin Monaghan pounced for his first goal to make it 210 to 0-10 after 47 minutes. This score deflated Maryland and Monaghan and James Dolan added further majors before the end to hand Garrycastle a flattering 10-point win. “We got off to a disastrous start and were always playing catch-up after that,” remembers Callum, whose father Tommy was also a star of Maryland and Westmeath football in the 1970s and 1980s. “You can’t afford to let that happen against a team of Garrycastle’s calibre. A defeat like that is all part of the learning curve and hopefully it will stand to us in the year ahead when we’ll be aiming for a semi-final spot again.” As the new season approaches, Maryland can also take encouragement from their mid-table finish in Division 1 of the All-County and Maryland/Tang’s appearance in last December’s U21FC 15-a-side final against Athlone. Maryland lined out as follows against Garrycastle in the SFC semi-final: Thomas Moran; Conor Farrell, James Ganley, Trevor Farrell; Bryan O’Donoghue, Kieran Martin, Darren Malynn; Liam Reilly, David Martin; Christy Grimes, David Reynolds, Kenneth Kincaid; Ronan Moran, Callum McCormack, Anthony Reynolds. Subs used: Tom Browne, Ronan Farrell and Enda Kincaid.

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Maryland Tang U21 captains Chris Connor and Callum McCormack

Kenneth Kincaid takes on the Garrycastle defence

Bryan O'Donoghue is out on front of his opponent


MILLTOWNPASS

S

tar defender and club secretary Fintan O’Reilly believes it’s high time Milltownpass finally made their presence felt in the intermediate championship. Since winning the junior championship to regain their intermediate status at the first attempt in 2010, Milltownpass have slipped back into the familiar role of relegation candidates. They’ve avoided the relegation playoffs over the past two years, but only just. “We’ve won just two games since coming back up and both of them came in the first round against Garrycastle last year and Ballinagore the year before. As it turned out, those wins were good enough to keep us up, but we mightn’t be so lucky this year if we only manage to win one game again,” warns Fintan O’Reilly. “We should be aiming to get out of the group instead of being happy with just staying up. That has been the mindset for far too long. With the players we have, we should be doing a lot better.” A former county panellist who at 24 is among of the youngest club secretaries in the county, O’Reilly feels a lack of support for the prolific Andy Devine in attack continues to be Milltownpass’ Achilles heel. “We need to score more and take some of the pressure off Andy,” he says.

Shane Gleeson must stretch to get the ball

‘PASS READY TO SURPRISE “We rarely score more than 10 or 11 points, and that’s a big reason why we’re not winning games. Andy has been our main forward for a good few years and opposing teams know that if you can hold him, you can stop us from scoring. Fortunately, we have some good prospects coming through who should give us more firepower over the next couple of years.”

The under-14 Division 2 squad that reached the final

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Milltownpass’ indifferent 2012 championship form extended to the league where they were relegated to Division 3. Fintan admits this was a major blow to a club which plied its trade in Division 1 not so long ago. “It was a big setback to go down to Division 3. In saying that, there are other intermediate clubs down there who will give us tough games. It’s going to be a big ask to come straight


John O Reilly stretches to get the ball as Adam Moore looks on

Winners of the Milltownpass Frank Moran Cup. From l/r: Jordan Egan, Frank Moran, James Mahedy

Shane Gleeson races towards the goal

Stephen Treacy feels the full force of this tackle

back up because one defeat could cost you promotion. You have to win all your games to be sure of promotion.” Under the management of former county star Jim Whelehan and selectors Joe Loran, David Maguire and Dessie Gorman, Milltownpass secured their only win of last year’s championship against Garrycastle in their opening game at Rosemount. The black and whites recovered from a disastrous start, which saw them trail by 0-1 to 1-3 after 22 minutes, to win by 1-8 to 1-6. They had reduced the arrears to 04 to 1-3 by half-time before edging ahead for the first time thanks to a Noel O’Reilly goal nine minutes after the restart. Paul Brady soloed forward to make it 1-6 to 1-4 before the Garrycastle second string levelled through scores from Paul Mulvihill and Robbie Shine. But the ‘Pass weren’t to be denied as late points from Kevin Reid (free) and Paul O’Reilly handed them a precious victory. “It was a great win considering the poor start we had and that Garrycastle were at full strength. If we had played them later in the championship, they wouldn’t have been as strong because they would have lost players to their senior team,” explains the centre back, who featured at midfield on a number of

291

occasions last season. Milltownpass crashed to the first of three defeats when they surrendered a five-point lead to Ballynacargy in their second outing at Shandonagh. With Andy Devine in fine scoring form, Milltownpass dominated the first half to lead by double-scores, 08 to 0-4, at the break. Indeed, they could have been out of sight if the impish corner forward’s thunderous shot just before half-time had not come back off Michael Penrose’s crossbar. When Fintan O’Reilly had his jersey pulled and Devine slotted over the resultant free immediately after the restart to put five points between the teams, it was hard to see a way back for Ballynacargy, but making the most of their wind advantage, they turned the game on its head by scoring 1-7 without reply between the 34th and 58th minutes to run out 1-11 to 0-11 winners. Jim Whelehan’s charges suffered an agonising 1-7 to 0-11 defeat to Tubberclair in round three at Cusack Park. Seamus Faulkner’s scrambled 26th minute goal left the ‘Pass just a point adrift, 1-2 to 0-6, at the interval. By the midway stage of the second half, they had edged into a 1-6 to 0-8 lead thanks to three unanswered points from Noel O’Reilly, Fintan O’Reilly and Andy Devine, but a Tubberclair team who had been


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relegated from the senior ranks in 2011 showed their experience thereafter to eke out a narrow victory. The black and whites were also unlucky to lose to Tang on a 0-11 to 111 scoreline in their next outing at Moate. There was nothing between the sides until the 45th minute when Joshua Flanagan scored the game’s only goal for Tang. The south county outfit stretched their lead to five points, but Milltownpass responded with scores from David and Andy Devine, and TJ Glennon, before Tang goalkeeper Martin Donoghue produced a great save to deny substitute Emmet Brennan a late equalising goal. Milltownpass completed the campaign with a surprise draw with eventual finalists Caulry in Ballinagore. However, they were once again left cursing their luck after Damien Dolan scored a goal with virtually the last kick of the game to earn the Mount Temple men a share of the spoils, 1-12 to 2-9. Goals from Andy Devine and Seamus Faulkner (penalty) had the underdogs 2-9 to 011 ahead entering the final two minutes, but a David Brookes point and new county panellist Dolan’s lastgasp goal deprived them of what would have been a deserved win. “We were in a tough draw which included three very strong teams in Tang, Tubberclair and Caulry. Having said that, we were very close to beating all three of them. A lack of experience probably cost us,” remembers O’Reilly, who works as an engineer in Mullingar. “Other teams will probably be looking to take points off us this year, but I can’t see us rolling over easily for anyone. With the right draw, we could surprise a few people.” Fintan is full of praise for the work put in by Milltownpass’ underage committee under the chairmanship of Maurice Duncan. David Egan was recently elected as the new underage secretary in succession to Dermot Gorman, who had served the role well over the past seven or eight years. “We are lucky in that we have two national schools – Milltownpass and Gainstown – to pick from. We’ve good numbers compared to other clubs of our size.”

The future certainly looks bright after both the Milltownpass and Gainstown National Schools contested Cumann na mBunscol finals last May at Cusack Park. Milltownpass lost the Division 5 final to Dysart by 2-6 to 5-5, but Gainstown went one better when they defeated Scoil an Chlochair of Kilbeggan by 5-13 to 4-10 in a dramatic decider. Milltownpass also staged a successful U13 blitz which included teams from Killucan, St. Malachy’s/Ballinagore and Shandonagh last year, while their U14 team reached the Division 2 championship final, only to lose to Ballynacargy by 1-7 to 3-9 at Cusack Park. Shane Boyce’s first half goal ensured the black and whites of parity (1-3 apiece) at the break and they went on to lead by three points early in the second half. But Ballynacargy captain Eoin Nally’s 37th minute goal changed the game’s complexion. 2012 also saw the opening of the Milltownpass Community Centre (on the grounds of the community pitch) which features a large hall, two meeting rooms, function rooms, a kitchen and toilets. This splendid new facility allowed the club to host the North Westmeath U10 league football finals, while it is also hoped that it will lead to a revival in Scor in the village. The Milltownpass team which defeated Garrycastle in last year’s IFC was: Tommy Gorman; Adam Moore, Damien Loran, John O’Reilly; Paul O’Reilly, Fintan O’Reilly, Shane Gleeson; Ciaran Wright, Shane Flanagan; Paul Brady, Mark Gorman, Noel O’Reilly; Andy Devine, Kevin Reid, David Devine. Subs used: Shane Donoghue and Emmet Brennan. Runners-up to Ballynacargy in the U14 Division 2 championship final: Eoin Geraghty; Ronan Geoghegan, Evan Gorman, Paul Smith; Eoin Gallagher, Alan Farrell, Gareth O’Connor; Robert Cleary, Eddie Whelehan; Kyle Geoghegan, Finbar Coyne, Barry Glennon; Aaron Gahan, Evan Doran, Shane Boyce. Subs used: Kyle Smith and Ross Lynch.

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Noel O’Reilly retains the ball as he surges forward

A determined looking Mark Gorman tries to evade his marker

Shane Gleeson takes a tumble


FR. DALTONS

F

r. Dalton’s lost their third consecutive IHC final last year, but they did have the consolation of winning their first ever underage title as club stalwart Brian McCabe explains. Fr. Dalton’s are licking their wounds once again after experiencing the bitter disappointment of losing their third Adrian Murray Cup decider in-a-row to Crookedwood last September. Having comfortably accounted for the same opposition in the first round of the championship, it was expected to be a case of third time lucky for the Ballymore-based outfit after their defeats to Delvin and St. Brigid’s in the previous two finals. But Crookedwood upset the odds to win by six points on another heartbreaking day for Fr. Dalton’s at Cusack Park. “To lose three finals in-a-row is especially tough. Losing one is hard, so you could only imagine what losing three feels like,” Fr. Dalton’s chairman, selector and evergreen goalkeeper Brian McCabe ruefully reflects. “We’re obviously very disappointed. We just didn’t perform; it’s all on the day and we just didn’t turn up. At the start of the year, our two goals were to win promotion from Division 3 of the league and to win the championship. We achieved the first goal, but didn’t achieve the second one, unfortunately. “All that we can do is keep persisting and hope that our day will

Kieran Martin has emerged as a talented dual star

UNDERAGE BREAKTHROUGH EASES FINAL HEARTACHE come. We’re now in the same boat as Ballynacargy who lost three intermediate football finals on the trot a few years ago. They never got there in the end, but hopefully we will. We can’t give up.” The former Westmeath dual star, who spent the best years of his playing career in New York, takes

consolation from Fr. Dalton’s achievement in winning the U14 Division 2 championship, which was the club’s first underage title. “It was a big breakthrough for us,” enthuses Brian, whose sons Sean and Owen featured in the 3-15 to 3-4 final victory over Castlepollard at Loughegar.

The 2012 intermediate squad. Front row l\r: John Sammon, Robert Dillon, Sean Egan, Derek Cuffe, Donal Glynn, Brian McCabe, John Gilligan, Andy Fox, Enda Kincaid, Brian Finnerty, Kieran Martin, Danny Maloney, Kieran Molloy. Back row l\r: Richard Dooner, Liam O'Roarke, Robert Watson, Jack O'Kelly Lynch, Trevor English, Robert English, Pat Hickey, Joe Kenny, Fergus Shaw, Andrew Slevin, Sam Moran, Barry McKnight, Christy Maloney, Colum Mackey, Mick Maloney, Paul Heduan, Paul Mahon, Sam Whooley

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The Intermediate’s. Front row l\r: Kieran Molloy, Paul Mahon, Colum Mackey, Mick Maloney, Donal Glynn, Derek Cuffe, Jack O’Kelly Lynch, Enda Kincaid, Brian McCabe, John Gilligan, Andy Fox, Fergus Shaw, John Sammon, Richard Dooner, Brian Finnerty. Back row l\r: Paul Heduan, Sean Egan, Liam O’Roarke, Robert Watson, Robert English, Christy Maloney, Joe Kenny, Pat Hickey, Kieran Martin, Trevor English, Andrew Slevin, Sam Moran, Barry McKnight, Danny Maloney, Robert Dillon, Sam Whooley, Conor McNeill. Mascots Colm O’Roarke and Owen McCabe

“We had won underage championships when we were combined with Southern Gaels, but this was our first to win on our own and we were delighted about that. For me personally, it was a huge consolation to win the U14 just a week after losing the intermediate final. I was part of the U14 management set-up, as were Kevin McLoughlin and Denis O’Roarke, who were also selectors with the intermediate team. I know it meant a lot to them too. “It’s a big thing for the future of the club. We weren’t able to field U16 or minor teams last year, but hopefully we’ll be able to put that right this year.” An outstanding display by captain Ronan McLoughlin was central to the historic U14 success. The big midfielder shot 0-8 (0-3 from play) to inspire his side to victory. Ciaran Lynam gave the Ballymore boys a dream start when he netted in the eighth minute after being set up by McLoughlin. McLoughlin and Darragh

scoring 1-5 without reply. Hynes also raised white flags to give The points were scored by Ronan Fr. Dalton’s a five-point lead before McLoughlin (0-3), Liam O’Neill and Jamie Glennon’s goal brought Darragh Hynes, while Liam O’Neill Castlepollard back into it. was on hand to fire home Dalton’s The green and golds then reeled off third goal in the 49th minute after five unanswered points per Sam Maxwell’s initial effort had been McLoughlin (three), Sam Maxwell cleared off the line. and Hynes. ‘Pollard responded with a Since reforming as an adult club in ’65 from Shane Gilchrist before 2008, Fr. Dalton’s have set their Maxwell’s 21st minute goal made it 2sights on attaining senior status but, 7 to 1-2. The losers grabbed two of their next three points to go into the break trailing by 1-4 Best Wishes To Fr.Daltons GAA In 2013, From to 2-8. When Gilchrist netted a 40th minute penalty for ‘Pollard, the margin was down to six points. A third goal for the blue and The Finest of golds by Patrick BEEF | LAMB | PORK | CHICKEN Fagan three minutes later made Ballymahon, Co. Longford it even closer, but Telephone: 087 2746953 Fr. Dalton’s finished with a flourish by

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Ronan McLoughlin captain accepts the under-14 Cup from Michael McHugh

Kieran Martin’s strength is to the fore

Joe Kenny uses his experience to good effect

much to their frustration, are still waiting to make that elusive breakthrough. In their first year back, they won the junior ‘B’ championship and built on that by reaching the IHC semi-final in 2009. They’ve since contested three IHC finals without success. McCabe doesn’t pull any punches when he suggests that a lack of scoring power has been a major reason why Fr. Dalton’s aren’t a senior club by now. He also claims they have a “unique” problem in that their players are drawn from no fewer than six football clubs in south Westmeath. “We have players from six football clubs involved and that causes its own difficulties,” explains Brian, who was part of a management team comprising Kilkenny man Joe Mackey (manager), Kevin McLoughlin, ‘Spike’ McCormack and Denis O’Roarke last year. “Three of those clubs, Maryland, Caulry and Milltown, reached the latter stages of their championships (Caulry were beaten in the IFC final by Castletown-Finea/Coole/ Whitehall) so it was a very busy time for some of our players around the time of the county final. If our players were able to concentrate solely on hurling, I’m sure we’d be a decent senior club, but the reality is that we are operating in a football heartland, and football will always come first with a lot of the lads.” Fr. Dalton’s enjoyed a relatively smooth path to the IHC decider. They opened their campaign with a 0-17 to 1-8 victory over Crookedwood before chalking up further wins over Cullion and the second strings of Clonkill and Raharney. They lost to Ringtown and Brownstown but picked up a fifth victory at Turin’s expense to qualify for a semi-final against Clonkill. The Ballymore side got off to the worst possible start when Larry Donoghue scored a Clonkill goal after only 30 seconds. But Fr. Dalton’s were level by the 11th minute thanks to points from Enda Kincaid (two) and Joe Kenny. Clonkill had edged ahead again by half-time, 1-3 to 0-5, but the south county outfit gradually got on

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John Gilligan lead by example in 2012

Joe Mackey issues some instructions from the line

Fergus Shaw clears down the field yet again


The Under 14 Division 2 Championship winners

the top in the second half with county footballer Kieran Martin’s goal propelling them to a 1-10 to 1-5 victory. Having elected to play against the breeze in the first half of the final, Fr. Dalton’s conceded the opening point to Barry O’Mara (free) inside two minutes. Crookedwood added to their lead with points from Noel Yourell and O’Mara (free) before Trevor English set up Robert Dillon for Dalton’s first score in the 12th minute. Pat Hickey narrowed the gap, only for Ronan Scally to put the ‘Wood two clear again. Colum Mackey converted a free and then, in the 27th minute, Dillon was denied a goal by Crookedwood’s county goalkeeper Shane McGovern. O’Mara slotted another point to leave the ‘Wood 0-5 to 0-3 ahead at the interval. O’Mara pushed the winners into a three-point lead for the second time immediately after the restart, but Fr. Dalton’s then enjoyed their most productive spell which saw a Pat Hickey goal sandwiched between points from Enda Kincaid and Mackey (’65). Leading by 1-5 to 0-6 with a little over a quarter of an hour remaining, the Ballymore outfit were poised to end their final hoodoo, but Crookedwood had other ideas and outscored the favourites by 2-4 to 0-3 in the time remaining to power to a 211 to 1-8 victory. Joe Kenny restored Fr. Dalton’s advantage after Noel Yourell and

Henry Reilly had restored parity. However, the momentum was now with the ‘Wood who took a giant step towards victory when veteran substitute Johnny Orme goaled with 11 minutes remaining. Yourell and O’Mara tagged on points before Orme booted home his second goal in injury-time to seal Fr. Dalton’s fate. The history-making Fr. Dalton’s U14 team was: Sean McCabe; Daniel Ennis, Jamie Meares, Kieran Kelly; John Tumelty, Jack Kearney, Sean Keena; Ronan McLoughlin (captain), Dylan Molloy; Leon Hynes, Darragh Hynes, Liam O’Neill; Aaron Kennedy, Ciaran Lynam, Sam Maxwell. Subs used: Owen McCabe, Robert Nugent, Joseph Kennedy, Cathal Doran, Patrick Cleere, James Bracken and Colm O’Roarke. Fr. Dalton’s lined out as follows in the IHC final: Brian McCabe; Christy Maloney, Fergus Shaw, Donal Glynn; Andrew Fox, John Gilligan (captain), Brian Finerty; Kieran Martin, Robert English; Trevor English, Colum Mackey, Joe Kenny; Enda Kincaid, Pat Hickey, Robert Dillon. Subs used: Michael Maloney, Jack O’KellyLynch, Sam Whooley, Derek Cuffe and Andrew Slevin.

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Enda Kincaid has caused defences many problems in the last few years

Determination is etched on the face of Colum Mackey


CROOKEDWOOD

I

t was like 2005 all over again for Crookedwood last September when Noel Boyce returned to guide them to their second IHC title at Fr. Dalton’s expense. The Adrian Murray Cup returned to its spiritual home on September 29 last following Crookedwood’s sixpoint victory over favourites Fr. Dalton’s in the IHC final. The success, coupled with the camogie side’s dramatic victory over Brownstown in the junior final a few hours earlier, made for the greatest day in the club’s history. And as was the case in 2005 when the ‘Wood defeated Cullion to secure intermediate honours for the first time, the two protagonists in their triumph were manager Noel Boyce and veteran forward Johnny Orme. Boyce worked the oracle once again in what was his second spell as manager, while Orme – who bagged 3-8 in the 2005 final – came off the bench to score 2-1 on this occasion. It was also a special day for the Savage family with Antoinette winning a junior camogie medal and her sons Antoine, Conor and Seamus securing intermediate medals, and a poignant one for Crookedwood captain Enda Murray, who had the honour of collecting the silverware named after his late father and Westmeath GAA legend Adrian. “It’s a great honour for me to bring this cup home. From the minute it

The squad celebrates their success over Fr Dalton’s in the IHC final

WONDERFUL ‘WOOD END SEVEN-YEAR ITCH was named after my late father, it was my ambition to take it back to Crookedwood,” he proudly stated. For Boyce, who played his hurling with Castlepollard and later with Ringtown, the success completed a remarkable year in which he also guided the Westmeath camogie team to All-Ireland junior glory. “It’s all about having the passion.

They have it and once you have that you can win anything. We did what we had to do. That’s the main thing,” he said. The ‘Wood manager was delighted with the impact his substitutes had on the final, and singled the ever-green Orme out for special mention. “Johnny’s a brilliant man to have, top class. We knew he’d do damage

The 2012 IHC champions. Front row l/r: Damien Grifferty, Alan O’Mara, Aodan Boyhan, Simon McCarthy, Brian McLoughlin, David Newman, Enda Murray, Gerard Brennan, Shane McGovern, Conor Savage, Richie Crowley, Kevin Orme, John Orme. Mascots l to r: Tony Brennan, Cian Yourell, Cathal Flanagan, Lorcan O’Mara, Jack Butler, Cian O’Mara, Shane O’Mara, Claire Loughrey, Emer Loughrey, Darragh Orme, Lucy Orme. Back row l/r: John Coughlan, Val Brennan, Michael Savage, Gerard McGovern, Aaron Orme, Tomas Brennan, Tommy Casserly, Noel Yourell, Darragh O'Keefe, Henry Reilly, Seamus Savage, Edward Nally, Kieran Brennan, Ciaran Yourell, Conor Hyland, Adam Mitchell, Ronan Scally, Andy Boyhan, Antoin Savage, John James Brennan

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Junior ‘B’ Championship final victory over Brownstown. Front row l/r: Aodan Boyhan, Adam Mitchell, Alan O'Mara, Brian McLoughlin, Simon McCarthy, David Newman, Edward Nally, Ronan Scally, Andy Boyhan, Tommy Casserly, John Orme. Mascots l/r: Jack Butler, Cathal Bawle, Lorcan O'Mara, Ciaran Casserly. Back row l/r: Aaron Orme, Tomas Brennan, Enda Murray, Damien Grifferty, Ciaran Yourell, Henry Reilly, Kieran Brennan, Noel Kiernan, Seamus Savage, Richie Crowley, Gerard McGovern, Shane McGovern, Kevin Orme, John James Brennan, Barry O'Mara, Conor Savage

coming in, which is why we chose not to start him. Bringing him in is a big lift to the team and the crowd.” Orme, Ger Brennan, Enda Murray, Damien Grifferty and Kevin Orme were among a handful of survivors from the 2005 team. By and large, this was a new Crookedwood team with many of their players having come through the minor and U21 ranks in the past three or four years. Boyce, who was assisted by selectors Val Brennan, Paul Murray, Eamonn Orme and John Coughlan, recalled how an intermediate title had looked a long way off for the ‘Wood after they failed to win any of their first three group games. “We had only a point on the board after the first three rounds,” he remembered. “We lost our first two games to Fr. Dalton’s and Clonkill, and drew with Brownstown in our third. At

Celebrating the IHC success are from l/r: Antoin Savage, Tomas Brennan, Gerard Brennan, John James Brennan, Seamus Savage, Feichin Brennan, Charlie Brennan, Val Brennan. Front: Conor Savage

Div 2 Cup final winners over Delvin. Front row l/r: Alan O'Mara, Tomas Brennan, Simon McCarthy, Enda Murray, Conor Savage, Barry O'Mara, Ronan Scally, John Orme. Mascot: Lorcan O'Mara. Back row l/r: Tommy Casserly, Brian McLoughlin, Antoin Savage, Seamus Savage, Gerard Brennan, Edward Nally, Damien Grifferty, Adam Mitchell, Shane McGovern

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Joint junior captains’ l/r: Noel Kiernan, Alan O'Mara, Tommy Casserly raise the cup. Mascot is Lorcan O'Mara

Kathleen Boyhan lifting junior camogie cup

‘Well done Daddy’. Darragh Orme, John Orme, Lucy Orme

that stage, we knew we had to win our remaining games or we’d be out of the championship. It was do-or-die and in fairness to the lads, they came out in their fourth game and scored 327 against Turin which was a great score to put up. “We beat Cullion, Raharney and Ringtown after that to get through to the semi-finals. It was some turnaround to go from bottom of the group to second in the space of four games. People were saying that Ringtown weren’t up for it when we played them in the last group match because they were already through, but that wasn’t the case at all. They wanted to put us out because they knew we’d be a threat to them later in the championship.” As it turned out, the north Westmeath neighbours met again in the semi-final on the first day of September. The ‘Wood were trailing by two points when two goals in the space of a minute from Barry O’Mara at the end of the third quarter turned the game on its head. A goal from a free by Ringtown goalkeeper Pat Burke set up a grandstand finish, but Crookedwood held on for a 2-9 to 110 victory. “That was a tough one for me because Ringtown is my home club, but I had a job to do with Crookedwood and was delighted to come through it and get into the final.” Noel continued. The ‘Wood’s 1-8 to 0-17 defeat to Fr. Dalton’s in their championship opener ensured they were underdogs going into the final. The Ballymorebased club also had the experience of playing in the previous two finals, which they lost to Delvin and St. Brigid’s respectively, but Crookedwood showed tremendous guts and character to upset the odds with a 2-11 to 1-8 victory. “We were hungry and the lads played with fire in their bellies. You can’t buy that,” Boyce enthused. Despite playing against the wind in the first half, Crookedwood made the better start with points from Barry O’Mara (two) and Noel Yourell easing them into an early 0-3 to 0-0 lead. Robert Dillon eventually opened Fr. Dalton’s account in the 12th minute

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Vice Captain Barry O'Mara (left) and Captain Enda Murray (right) accept the Division 2 Cup

Hurling Chairman Willie Murphy, Patsy Murray, wife of late Adrian Murray and mother of Crookedwood captain Enda, who lifts the Adrian Murray cup, vice captain Barry O'Mara, Tom Farrell

A family affair. Carol O'Mara, Lorcan O'Mara, Alan O'Mara with the junior camogie and intermediate championship cups


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The 2012 intermediate camogie champions. Front row l/r: Michela Monaghan, Holly Foley, Aisling Boyhan, Susan Mitchell, Anna Savage, Tracey Corrigan. Missing from photo are Kathleen Boyhan and Avril Orme. Mascots l/r: Sean Gannon, Kasey Gannon, Katie, Evie & Abbie Muldoon, Ciara Orme, Melissa Butler, Dervla McLoughlin, Katie Savage. Back row l/r: Geraldine Corcoran, Elaine Shaw, Sean Collins (Trainer), Elaine Boyhan, Aine Boyhan, Muireann Scally, Carol O'Mara, Stephanie Muldoon, Roisin Scally, Shonagh Savage, Julie McLoughlin, Joe Savage (Trainer) Chloe Kelly, Sinead Collins, Antoinette Savage, Kate Weir, Karla O'Reilly, Meadbh Orme

before Pat Hickey reduced the deficit to the minimum. Ronan Scally and Colum Mackey traded scores before O’Mara converted a 30th minute free to give the ‘Wood a 0-5 to 0-3 interval lead. They might have found themselves behind had county goalkeeper Shane McGovern not denied Dillon a goal with a diving save three minutes before referee Declan Hogan’s short whistle. O’Mara (free) and Enda Kincaid exchanged points on the restart before Fr. Dalton’s took the lead for the first time when Pat Hickey netted in the 42nd minute. When Mackey followed up with a ’65, the favourites led by 1-5 to 0-6 and were looking good for victory. But the ‘Wood refused to roll over and were back on level terms by the 47th minute thanks to points from

Yourell and substitute Henry Reilly. Joe Kenny edged Fr. Dalton’s back in front before the game’s decisive score arrived with 11 minutes remaining. O’Mara and Reilly combined to set up Johnny Orme for a superbly-executed goal. Before Fr. Dalton’s knew what hit them, the veteran sub raised another flag to give the ‘Wood a 1-9 to 1-6 advantage at a critical stage of the game. Mackey kept the Ballymore side in it from a free, but Noel Boyce’s charges had the bite between their teeth now and responded with points from Yourell and O’Mara. Mackey again replied with a free to bring the margin down to three before super-sub Orme put the result beyond all

Whatever the lads can do, so can Mum. From l/r: Antoin, Antoinette, Conor, Seamus, James Savage with junior camogie and intermediate championship cups

The Yourell clan celebrates. From l/r: Cian Yourell, Noel Yourell, Ciaran Yourell

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Kevin Orme stretches for the sliotar against Clonkill

doubt when he booted home his second goal in injury-time after Ronan Scally’s delivery had broken kindly for him. The challenge now for the ‘Wood is to build on last year’s success and to establish themselves as a senior club. When they were last promoted to the top flight, they only survived a couple of seasons. They will be hoping to fare a lot better this time. The Crookedwood team which captured the Adrian Murray Cup was: Shane McGovern; David Newman, Damien Grifferty, Enda Murray (captain); Ronan Scally, Antoine Savage, Seamus Savage; Edward Nally, Brian McLoughlin; Barry O’Mara, Ger Brennan, Richie Crowley; Kieran Yourell, Noel Yourell, Kieran Brennan. Subs used: Simon McCarthy, Johnny Orme, Henry Reilly and Darragh O’Keeffe.

‘WOOD COMPLETE TREBLE

Antoin Savage displays the art of the sideline cut against Brownstown

Shane McGovern has emerged as an outstanding young goalkeeper

Not content with winning their first intermediate championship in seven years, Crookedwood also secured junior ‘B’ championship and Division 2 Cup honours in 2012. In the 2011 junior ‘B’ championship final replay, which was played a year (yes, you’ve read that right!) after the original fixture ended all-square, Seamus Savage’s late point gave the ‘Wood a dramatic 1-11 to 2-7 over Brownstown victory at Cusack Park. As in the intermediate final, however, Johnny Orme was the star of the show. Lining out at wing forward, the veteran attacker bagged 1-5 and was the catalyst for his team’s late surge after they had trailed by three points early in the second half. A memorable year for the ‘Wood ended with a 2-11 to 1-7 win over Delvin in the Division 2 Cup decider at Lakepoint Park on December 30. Goals from Barry O’Mara and substitute Brian McLoughlin in either half proved decisive as the green, white and golds completed a superb treble. 2011 junior ‘B’ champions: Shane McGovern; David Newman, Enda Murray, Alan O’Mara; Ronan Scally, Damien Grifferty, Seamus Savage; Edward Nally, Brian McLoughlin; Kieran Brennan, Adam

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Barry O'Mara was the top marksman in the 2012 IHC campaign

Mitchell, Johnny Orme; Kieran Yourell, Henry Reilly, Simon McCarthy. Subs used: Richie Crowley, Tommy Casserly and Darragh O’Keeffe. The team which lined out in the Division 2 Cup final was: Shane McGovern; Alan O’Mara, Damien Grifferty, Enda Murray; David Newman, Antoine Savage, Seamus Savage; Ronan Scally, Edward Nally; Simon McCarthy, Gerard Brennan, Conor Savage; Johnny Orme, Adam Mitchell, Barry O’Mara. Subs used: Brian McLoughlin and Tommy Casserly.

Noel Boyce (manager) roars out some instructions during the IHC final


CAULRY Andy O'Sullivan displays a great turn of speed against Tubberclair

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aulry captain Alan Rigney is hoping his side can learn from last year’s heartbreaking IFC final loss to Castletown-Finea/Coole/Whitehall. History has a funny way of repeating itself. In 1992, Caulry lost the IFC final to Killucan. In the JFC final which preceded that decider in Tyrrellspass (Cusack Park was closed for redevelopment work at the time), Kilbeggan Shamrocks defeated Ballinagore. Fast forward 20 years and it’s exactly the same outcome with Caulry losing the IFC final to Castletown-Finea/Coole/Whitehall and Kilbeggan Shamrocks beating Mullingar Shamrocks in the JFC final curtain-raiser. The 1992 loss sent the Mount Temple men on a downward spiral, but it’s unlikely that last year’s defeat will hurt them as badly. Caulry GAA is in a good place at the moment thanks to an excellent underage structure which has produced some of the best young footballers in the county over the past number of years and is the envy of many other clubs, including those with far greater playing resources. “This team is only starting out and will only get better in the next few years,” Caulry’s 2012 captain Alan Rigney maintains. “The team that lined out in the county final contained 10 or 11 U21s,

CAULRY WERE SO CLOSE including Kevin Maguire and Ben Moran who are on the county team. All these lads have big futures ahead of them. What’s really encouraging is the fact that there are many more talented youngsters coming up behind them. The future looks very bright for Caulry,” the Dublin-based skipper and centre forward adds. Rigney is convinced Caulry can bounce back from last October’s 0-12 to 1-10 defeat to Castletown-

Finea/Coole/Whitehall and that the lessons of that heartbreak will be learned. “It was a hard one to take, especially as we didn’t perform on the day,” the 29-year-old ruefully reflects. “Maybe the occasion got to us, maybe we weren’t ready for it, but for some reason we didn’t play as well as we know we can. We had a number of poor wides in the first half and they came back to haunt us in the end. But

Caulry Intermediate Football Finalists. Front row l\r: Andy O'Sullivan, Robbie Hickey, Ben Kenny, Mark Malone, Pat Buckley, Shane Nugent, Ciaran Allen, Kevin McGuire, Jack O'Kelly Lynch, Damien Dolan, Ben Moran, Eoghan Grennan, Brian Mullarney, Alan Rigney (capt), Peter Smith, Keith McMenamin, Johnny Dolan, Jack O'Meara, Michael Donohue. Mascot: Cian Malone. Back Row l\r: Liam Muldoon, Michael McMahon, James Daly, Michael Fitzpatrick, David Brooks, Evan Rourke, Ryan Browne, Declan Donohoe, Alan Carroll, Robbie Kenny, Philip Dully, Joe McMahon, Gary Flanagan, Alan Fitzpatrick, Aidan Murphy, John Maguire, Ernie Buckley, Nicky Killane, Eric Fallon, Johnny Buckley, Owen Donohoe, Sean Doyle

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Caulry’s Intermediate Football semi-final squad. Front Row l/r: Kieran Allen, Pat Buckley, Robbie Hickey, Sean Doyle, Jack O'Kelly Lynch, David Brookes, Eoghan Grennan, Kevin McGuire, Alan Rigney, Alan Fitzpatrick, Damien Dolan, Brian Mullarney, Johnny Dolan, Mark Malone, Michael Donohue, Jack O'Meara. Back row l\r: Evan Rourke, Michael McMahon, Owen Donohue, Nicky Killane, Ryan Browne, Michael Fitzpatrick, Eric Fallon, Alan Carroll, Peter Smith, Philip Dully, Joe McMahon, Gary Flanagan, John Maguire, Declan Donohue, Ernie Buckley, Keith McMenamin, Andy O'Sullivan, Ben Moran, Johnny Buckley, James Daly

you couldn’t begrudge CastletownFinea. They lost the previous year’s final to Coralstown/Kinnegad by a point and they were able to come back from that. “Hopefully we’ll be able to do the same thing this year. All we can do is regroup and go at it again. We have to learn from last year. It was a good achievement to reach the final, but we’re disappointed that we didn’t see it through. But please God we’ll be back there again come next September or October and we’ll be able to make amends.” Under the guidance of Ferbane native Brendan Clarke, whose impressive management CV includes Westmeath SFC wins with Athlone in 1988 and ’98, and Offaly IFC triumphs with Belmont and St. Rynagh’s, Caulry blazed an impressive path to the final. They topped Division 1 with four straight victories over Ballynacargy (2-9 to 010), Tubberclair (2-9 to 1-8), Tang (112 to 1-8), Garrycastle (3-16 to 0-7)

and a draw with Milltownpass (2-8 to 1-11) in their final group game when they were already assured of a place in the semi-finals. The Mount Temple side showed they meant business when coming from four points down early in the second half to beat Ballynacargy by five in their championship opener at a rain-soaked Pairc Chiarain. Man of the match Alan Fitzpatrick and Peter Smith scored 2-7 between them in a great comeback win which set them up nicely for the rest of the championship. David Brookes’ well-taken first half goal propelled Caulry to another impressive victory over Tang, while Brookes, Andy O’Sullivan and Ernie Buckley all raised green flags in the red and whites’ biggest win of the campaign against Garrycastle’s second string. Caulry renewed their rivalry with Tubberclair in the semi-final at Cusack Park and once again prevailed thanks to a fisted goal from

Gary Flanagan in the fifth minute of injury-time. Relegated from the senior ranks in 2011, Tubberclair recovered from the concession of an 11th minute Johnny Dolan goal to lead by five points, 1-8 to 1-5, at the break. When Mark Fitzgibbon extended Tubberclair’s advantage to six points within 15 seconds of the restart, Caulry looked to be in big trouble, but they reeled off four unanswered points to get themselves back into contention. By the end of the third quarter, Tubberclair’s lead had been cut to two points, 1-8 to 1-10, and the same margin continued to separate the teams until former county star Flanagan rose highest to fist home Ben Moran’s pin-point delivery, which gave the Mount Temple/Baylin outfit a dramatic 2-11 to 1-13 victory. On October 7, Caulry returned to Westmeath GAA headquarters with high hopes of adding to the IFC titles they won in 1946, ’69 and ’85. Brendan Clarke and his selectors Jody Malynn and Kevin Connaughton

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had spared no effort in preparing their young team for the biggest game of their careers. But a sluggish first half performance ultimately proved their downfall against a more battlehardened CastletownFinea/Coole/Whitehall side who hung on for the narrowest victories, despite only managing two points in the second period. Alan Fitzpatrick slotted over a 40metre free to give Caulry an early lead, but the champions-elect wasted little time in regaining parity through Ryan Plunkett. Niall Kilcoyne twice pointed to leave Caulry trailing by 0-1 to 0-3 after eight minutes, and further scores from Kevin Brazil and Eanna Doolin made it a four-point game at the end of the opening quarter. Caulry badly needed some inspiration, and it was provided by Peter Smyth who kicked two points in quick succession. Johnny Dolan and Peter Maguire followed up with scores to level the match before a long-range point from Gary Flanagan edged Brendan Clarke’s charges into a 0-6 to 0-5 lead after 23 minutes. But they couldn’t keep the momentum going and Castletown-Finea regained the lead through points from Kilcoyne (two) and Plunkett before Kilcoyne beat Joe McMahon for the game’s only goal in the 27th minute. The south county side replied with points from Flanagan and Smyth, but still trailed by 0-8 to 1-8 at the interval.

Johnny Dolan shows great tenacity against Milltownpass

The winners opened up a five-point gap again following the resumption when Niall Kilcoyne twice split the posts. Amazingly, they failed to score again as Caulry took control. But a lack of composure, which was illustrated by six second half wides, saw them come up just short. Points from Peter Smyth (two), substitute Ernie Buckley and Alan Fitzpatrick left the minimum in it. With the game deep in injury-time, Caulry had one last chance to force a replay, but Johnny Dolan’s shot was blocked by David Higgins and the Peter Geraghty Cup was destined for north Westmeath. As well as winning the IFC, Caulry’s other objective for 2013 is to win promotion to Division 1 of the AllCounty League. “We lost our first couple of games to Coralstown/Kinnegad and St. Loman’s, and ended up finishing four or fifth in Division 2,” recalls Rigney, who made a welcome return to the Caulry colours last year after spending a season with Ballyboden/St. Enda’s. “We beat Castletown-Finea up in their place, which was probably our best performance of the campaign. It would bring the younger lads on so much if we could get up to Division 1. Also, it was great to see our second team competing strongly in the junior championship last year. They weren’t too far away from a quarter-final spot and I’m sure a number of those lads will be pushing hard for places on the intermediate team this year.” Caulry’s qualification for last year’s minor and U21 championship semifinals, where they were forced to give second best to Athlone and Maryland/Tang respectively, would suggest that they are ready to give the IFC another serious rattle in the coming months. Caulry lined out as follows in the IFC final: Joe McMahon; Brian Mullarney, Kevin Maguire, Ben Moran; Keith McMenamin, Damien Dolan, Jack O’Kelly-Lynch; Alan Fitzpatrick, John Maguire; Eoghan Grennan, Alan Rigney, Johnny Dolan; Peter Smyth, Gary Flanagan, David Brookes. Subs used: Andrew O’Sullivan, Ernie Buckley and Jack O’Meara.

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Johnny Dolan holding onto the ball during the Intermediate Football Final

Westmeath footballer Damien Dolan against CFCW in the Intermediate Football Final

Alan Rigney feels the full force of this challenge against Tubberclair


CASTLEPOLLARD

C

astlepollard are the joint second most decorated club in the county on 13 senior hurling titles, but it is now eight years since they won the last of those, which indeed was their last appearance in a county final.

However, Pollard are still in the reckoning every year and there is a genuine belief within the club that there next championship win may not be too far away. Club chairman Mick Macken is one of those who believes that is the case, although he stressed to the Maroon & White that it will take a huge effort from all to achieve their goal. The 2012 campaign saw Castlepollard placed in a group alongside Castletown Geoghegan, neighbours and fierce rivals Lough Lene Gaels as well as Delvin. The first match was against the Valleymen and the expected win that many would have predicted was recorded in emphatic style as Pollard ran out winners on a scoreline of 6-29 to 2-5. It was the perfect start to the campaign and former player Jody Murray would have been pleased with his first foray into senior management, but there were bigger games to come as the blue and golds faced the Gaels in their next outing. There is never much to separate

Andrew Dermody’s pace has terrorized defences

POLLARD’S QUEST these sides on any given day and the same could have been said for their meeting in July. Just a solitary point separated the sides at the final whistle 1-16 to 2-12, but unfortunately for Pollard it was their opponents, who had come out on top. Murray's charges were left somewhat

disappointed a number of contentious decisions made by the match official, but they had to quickly turn their attentions to their last outing in the group stages as they prepared to face Castletown-Geoghegan a fortnight after the defeat to the Gaels. This was another closely fought

Minor Div 2 Hurling Champions 2012 (versus Delvin). Front row l/r: Ciaran Fagan, Jason Coyle, Aaron Hogg, Michael Murray, Michael Kelleghan, Aaron O'Reilly, Sean Lancaster. Back row l/r: John McCarthy, Wayne Devine, Tommy Gallagher, Warren Casserly, Ciaran Fagan, Joe Rabbitte, Kyle Bracken, Conor O'Reilly, Bobby Barry

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Under 14 Feile Na nGael Finalists 2012 (versus Clonkill). Front row l/r: Anthony Fagan, Ben Gibbons, David Devine, Charlie McCormack, Michael Carroll, Daragh O'Reilly, Eoin Fagan, Aidan Daly, Barry Dowdall, Luke Roddy. Back row l/r: Mark Leahy, Dean Gibbons, Shane Gilchrist, Patrick Fagan, Jamie Glennon, Adam Kelleghan, Cian Smyth, Niall Keating, Odhran Hannon

encounter, and Pollard were left to rue a number of missed chances as the black and ambers came away with the two points to top the game as they won by 0-19 to 1-10. This meant that Pollard finished in third place in the group having won just one game, but they still qualified for the quarterfinals where they would face defending champions Clonkill. As expected, the Loughegar outfit were strong favourites to come out on top in this clash, however, Castlepollard mustn't have read the script as they came out strong and were more than a match for their opponents. Nonetheless, their inability to hit points proved costly, despite the fact

that they managed four goals over the course of the hour as Clonkill finished strongly to record a 1-19 to 4-6 win. This brought down the curtain on Pollard's championship campaign and Mick admits that they must take the positives from the year and build on them in 2013. “To push the eventual champions so close is very encouraging and just shows the talented hurlers we have at our disposal. If we could have hit a few more points, who knows what could have happened against them, but it showed that we have some excellent hurlers, who on their day are a match for any team in the county,” stated Mick.

“We have to look at the fact that we only won one match in the campaign and that was against Delvin, which in no disrespect to them, it was a game we were expected to win. That is something we will be looking to rectify this year.” On the face of it, Pollard had much the same team last year as they had in 2011 and some would even suggest that they were maybe even stronger. However, Mick stressed that they like so many other clubs were hit hard by emigration. “People don't realise this, but we actually lost nine lads through emigration. Not all of them would have been on the starting XV, but they

Under 16 Div 2 Hurling Champions 2012 (versus Cullion). Front row l/r: Peter Connors, Adam Kelleghan, Cathal O'Brien, Daragh O'Reilly, Eoin Fagan, Dean Fagan, Anthony Fagan, Aaron O'Reilly. Back row l/r: Kevin O'Brien, Ciaran Fagan, Ciaran Fagan, Warren Casserly, Michael Kelleghan, Shane Gilchrist, John McCarthy, Joe Rabbitte, Kyle Bracken, Sean Lancaster, Patrick Fagan

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Under 14 Div 2 Hurling Finalists 2012 (versus Fr. Daltons). ). Front row l/r: Aidan Daly, Luke Roddy, David Devine, Charlie McCormack, Michael Carroll Niall Keating, Cian Smyth, Jake Mulvaney, Ben Gibbons. Back row l/r: Jamie Glennon, Cathal O'Brien, Barry Dowdall, Daragh O'Reilly, Patrick Fagan, Shane Gilchrist, Eoin Fagan, Adam Kelleghan, Dean Gibbons, Mark Leahy, Anthony Fagan, Alfie Devine (Mentor)

were strong mature lads and because of this, we were unable to field a junior team last year for the first time in many years. “We are hopeful that we might be able to field one this year as we have a number of under-16s from last year coming through, but numbers will be tight once again. We would not have the catchment area that the likes of

John Paul Murray is till going strong in the twilight of his career

David Higgins is one of the most talented hurlers the club has produced for many years

Tommy Gallagher captain of Castlepollard Minor Div 2 Hurling Champions 2012

Alfie Devine has used all his experience to adapt to the goals

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Kevin Gavigan takes on the Delvin defence


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Alan Devine is a very prolific forward

The tenacious Oliver Devine doesn’t know when to give up

Martin Egan surges out in front against Delvin

Darren McCormack in typical pose as he sets up another attack from the centre back position

Clonkill or Raharney have, both of who have a couple of schools to choose from, while we just have the one here in Pollard. “We had confirmation here last year and only eleven children were confirmed, half of which were girls and this shows you the limited numbers we are dealing with. In saying that we have a good crop of youngsters coming through at under-8 and under-10, while the under-12's have decent numbers also.” Pollard reached the under-14 B final only to lose to Fr Dalton's, but they made amends in the under-16 grade as Delvin were defeated in the final. “It is also good to win something at underage and the under-16s are a good bunch and some of these will probably play adult hurling this year. “There is good work being done by a core of people at all levels and we just have to hope that they come through to the senior. Like all clubs, there is a big drop off rate of hurlers from 16 to 18, but I'm confident that if we can keep most of them together then we can challenge for the title. “Every year we set out with the intention of winning the championship, but we are realistic

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enough to realise how tough that is to achieve. We need to build on last year and hopefully bring more of the young lads through that is our main aim.” Off the field, the club have been recently awarded €10,000 from the Sports Capital Funding programme and Mick revealed that this will be used for further development at their grounds. “We intend to build a hurling wall with the money that we received. Most clubs have one now and they seem very beneficial to the development of underage hurlers, so hopefully they will make good use of it.”

Andrew Dermody is one of the quickest forwards in Westmeath hurling


MULLINGAR SHAMROCKS Kieran Gavin with Ronan Tyrrell and Lorcan Smyth receive the Flanagan cup from County Chairman Tom Farrell

I

t was a case of third time lucky for Mullingar Shamrocks when they dethroned Garrycastle after a replay to end a 12-year wait for SFC honours. Mullingar Shamrocks’ persistence finally paid off on October 28 last when they ended Garrycastle’s reign as county and Leinster champions to land the Flanagan Cup for the first time since 2000. Having lost the previous two finals to the Athlone outfit, the victory could hardly have been sweeter. As in 2011, a replay was required to separate these great modern-day rivals of Westmeath football, but this time Shamrocks prevailed by the narrowest of margins to spark the biggest celebrations the Springfieldbased club has seen in many a long day. Ray Smyth’s charges delivered an 11th SFC crown to the county town club the hard way, having also needed a replay to overcome St. Loman’s in the semi-final. They were also forced to come from behind to oust Tyrrellspass in the quarter-final. Shamrocks could take added satisfaction from the fact that they prevented Garrycastle from equalling their feat of winning a four-in-a-row of Flanagan Cups, which they achieved between 1992 and ’95. While Shamrocks’ subsequent performance against a powerful Ballymun Kickhams team in the Leinster club championship was

THIRD TIME LUCKY FOR SUPER SHAMROCKS bitterly disappointing, they could still reflect on a hugely successful season in which their second string – under the management of former player Adrian Keaveney – also reached the JFC final, only to lose out to Kilbeggan Shamrocks by 1-13 to 213. For long-serving midfielder Donal O’Donoghue, who was a link with the

2000 success and was full back on Westmeath’s 2004 Leinster championship winning team, the SFC final replay victory was the most satisfying he has ever experienced in the green and white jersey. “This is easily the sweetest victory we have ever had because it has been 12 years since we last won it,” he beamed.

County champions 2012. Front row l\r: Nathan Smyth, Fiachra Spellman, Davy Coyne, Mark Hegarty, Simon Quinn, Paddy Joyce, Aaron Purcell, Ronan Tyrrell, Seanie Daly, Kieran Gavin, Conor Twomey, Ciaran Curley, Aonghus Smyth, Eddie Moore, Anthony Clinton, Dylan McDermott. Back row l\r: Cian O’Leary, Paddy Fagan, Mickey McKnight, Ryan Blundell, Conor McEntee, Daragh Ryan, Killian Daly, Gary Corroon, Calvin Kirwan, Paul Christie, Adam Smyth, David Gavin, John Ganly, Denis Corroon, Donal O’Donoghue, Aonghus Smyth, Kyle Maguire, Daragh Daly, David Miller, Brian Melody

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Mullingar Shamrocks Junior Panel (county finalists). Front row l\r: Ciaran Glennon, Conor Moore, Daragh Ryan, Dylan McDermott, Sean Maguire, Calvin Kirwan, Conor McEntee, Robert Ryan, Mark Hegarty, Davy Coyne, Dean Moore, Keith Moore. Back row l\r: Richie Daly, Shane Fenton, Mickey McKnight, Dermot Curley, Kyle Maguire, Ryan Blundell, Adam Smyth, Nathan Smyth, Paddy Loughrey, Dean Scally, James Ledwith, Paddy Fagan, Brian Melody

“I was a sub on that (2000) team and every year after that I thought this would be the year, and then this would be the year, but it wasn’t until today that we finally won it back, so that makes it very sweet. When I think back on all the effort and work over the past three that we have put

in… “This year we came back against Tyrrellspass and then against Loman’s, and I just knew today that we wouldn’t panic and that the lads had it in them and we had the training done, but still it is an unbelievable feeling.”

Congratulations to Mullingar Shamrocks GAA from

O’Donoghue is confident that this success will be the first of many for this Shamrocks team. “We had 17 and 18-year-olds togged out today and playing. Seanie Daly, the man of the match, is only 19. We have a great underage coming up behind us. We had a great

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Seanie Daly receiving the "man of the match" award from Andy Murtagh

Aaron Purcell celebrates at the final whistle

Seanie Daly lays off a pass to a team mate

junior team this year, so we are hoping to drive this on and that this is just the start of it.” The victory capped a memorable year for Shamrocks captain Kieran Gavin, who also skippered DCU to Sigerson and O’Byrne Cup glory. “To hear the words Mullingar Shamrocks are county champions sounds absolutely beautiful,” the county full back said. “We are a long time at it. I am at it seven years now, and every year we thought we were in with a chance and then it just always finished in bitter disappointment. It is the lowest of the low losing county finals, but today makes up for it. “The euphoria after the final whistle was unreal. I really didn’t know what to do when it was over. It is a strange feeling, but it will sink in. The scenes out here, I’ve never seen anything like it, so it is happy days.” Shamrocks’ fiercely passionate manager Ray Smyth, whose sons Lorcan and Aonghus are mainstays of the team, was full of praise for his players and the battling qualities they showed. “I am delighted. I started out with these guys three years ago and I thought they’d win it the first year when we got to the final, but Garrycastle beat us and then we got to the final last year and I said we’d win it this year, but they caught us in the replay, so it had to come right this year, and thanks be to God it did,” he enthused. “They are a great bunch of young lads. The graph is going up now. There was a hunger there to win the championship. I wanted to win it as badly as they did. The whole club needed this championship. The town of Mullingar needed this championship and Westmeath needed this championship. This has opened up the whole thing again. It is good to share the championship around and it is good for football as well.” Shamrocks didn’t enjoy the smoothest of passages to the final, but they won when it mattered most. They opened their campaign with a heavy defeat to local rivals St. Loman’s (0-10 to 2-13) before bouncing back to register wins over St. Malachy’s (4-10 to 0-12) and The Downs (0-15 to 0-9). A second defeat

317

Donal O’Donoghue is surrounded by Garrycastle players

John Ganly shrugs off the challenge of his marker

The tigerish Eddie Moore wins this race for possession


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Ciaran Curley in action during the county final

Paddy Joyce has emerged as an outstanding defender

to Maryland (2-4 to 0-12) left two points, 1-2 to 0-7, with four them in danger of missing out on minutes to go to half-time. They a place in the knockout stages. added four more points in quick However, they pulled out all the succession to take a 1-6 to 0-7 lead stops to run out impressive 4-12 into the break. to 1-7 winners over Athlone in The Springfield men tightened their their final group game. grip on proceedings five minutes after In the quarter-final, Shamrocks the restart when Joyce found the net. came from six points down to Twomey's goal made it 3-7 to 0-9 beat Tyrrellspass by 1-10 to 0-10 entering the final quarter, and while and set up a semi-final rematch Heslin pulled back a goal from a with St. Loman’s. Tyrrellspass penalty, Shamrocks weren’t to be looked to be cruising to victory denied. when they led by 0-10 to 0-4 Boosted by Donal O’Donoghue’s inside the final quarter, but the availability after his red card against dismissal of county star Ger St. Loman’s was rescinded, Egan had a big bearing on the Shamrocks entered the county final outcome as the county town side in confident mood despite being stormed back to take the lead underdogs. But it looked like they thanks to a Ciaran Curley goal would have to settle for the before Cian O'Leary and Davy bridesmaid’s role again when Conor Gavin added the insurance Cosgrove’s second goal immediately points. after the restart propelled Garrycastle Shamrocks avenged their into a nine-point lead, 3-7 to 1-4. earlier defeat to St. Loman’s Inspired by the outstanding Lorcan after a replay to book their Smyth, however, the challengers county final spot. In the drawn staged an incredible comeback to encounter, John Heslin's early draw (3-9 apiece) and send the goal had Loman's 1-8 to 0-6 county final to a replay for the second ahead at the break, but a Seanie year in succession. Daly penalty dragged Last year’s All-Ireland final runnersShamrocks back into it and they up Garrycastle led by 2-7 to 1-4 at the forged ahead before Ciaran break with their goals coming from Kilmurray’s late goal tied up the James Dolan and Cosgrove in the scoring at 2-12 apiece. 22th and 29th minutes. In between, Goals from Ciaran Curley, Smyth netted his first for Shamrocks Paddy Joyce and Conor after being set up by Seanie Daly. Twomey propelled Shamrocks to Shamrocks looked dead and buried a 3-7 to 1-10 replay victory after when Cosgrove scored a soft goal a sluggish start. Loman's made within 30 seconds of the restart, but all the early running with four they refused to lie down and hit back points (three frees) from John with a second goal from Smyth two Heslin helping them to a 0-4 to minutes later. 0-0 lead after just seven Garrycastle still led by six points, 3minutes. 9 to 2-6, at the end of the third Both teams were reduced to 14 quarter, but failed to score thereafter players when Donal with wing back Micheal Curley's 47th O'Donoghue Congratulations to Mullingar Shamrocks GAA from and Ciaran Kilmurray were given their marching orders in the 11th minute, but Loman's continued to l o o k comfortable FUNCTION ROOM AVAILABLE FOR ALL OCCASIONS until Curley's WIDESCREEN TVS FOR ALL SPORTS GAA, SOCCER, RACING goal brought Shamrocks Harbour Street, Mullingar. Tel: 044-9341073 back to within www.kerrigans.ie

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Summercamps

Dermot Curley uses all his experience to evade this tackle

minute goal igniting Shamrocks' late surge. Smyth eventually brought them level in the 57th minute and they had chances thereafter to snatch the unlikeliest of victories, but failed to take them. Shamrocks finally reached the Promised Land when they edged a tense replay by 0-12 to 1-8. In a game that saw referee Damien Maher hand out 12 yellow cards (six to each team), Mullingar grabbed a brace of early points before Paul Clancy's wind-assisted Garrycastle reeled off four in-arow, including three (two frees) from Dessie Dolan. Garrycastle strengthened their position when Dolan set up his cousin James for a goal after 14 minutes, but with Ciaran Curley to the fore, Shamrocks battled back to trail by a goal at the break, 0-6 to 16. Conor Cosgrove put four points between the sides just after the restart, but the four-ina-row chasing champions had to wait until injury-time for their next score as Ray Smyth’s men took control. After Matthew Guiheen had missed a glorious goal-scoring opportunity, Shamrocks clawed back the deficit with some excellent

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scores, including two longrange efforts from the impressive Seanie Daly and substitute Anthony Clinton. As the game ticked into stoppage-time, Daly gave the Springfield outfit the lead from a difficult free before doubling their advantage. Dessie Dolan had one last chance to win it for Garrycastle from a 25-metre free, but his goal attempt was deflected over the crossbar and Shamrocks could celebrate a famous victory. The last word goes to Shamrocks’ chairman and selector Pearse Corroon: “It is massive. We are delighted as a club to have got this back after 12 long years. It was certainly worth waiting for.” The Mullingar Shamrocks team which bridged a 12-year gap by capturing the Flanagan Cup was: Ronan Tyrrell; Aaron Purcell, Kieran Gavin (captain), Eddie Moore; Paddy Joyce, Davy Gavin, Micheal Curley; Denis Corroon (0-1), Donal O'Donoghue; Killian Daly, Seanie Daly (0-5, one free), Simon Quinn; John Ganley, Ciaran Curley (0-4, three frees), Lorcan Smyth (01). Subs used: Anthony Clinton, Darragh Daly and David Miller.


CASTLETOWN-FINEA/COOLE/WHITEHALL

T

welve months on from their heartbreaking final loss, Castletown-Finea /Coole/Whitehall made amends last year when they edged out Caulry by 1-10 to 0-12 to land their first IFC title since 1976. A year is a long time in football. Just ask Castletown-Finea /Coole/Whitehall who bounced back from a gut-wrenching defeat to Coralstown/Kinnegad in the 2011 IFC final to capture the Peter Geraghty Memorial Cup at Caulry’s expense on October 7 last. After losing the 2011 decider to a last-gasp Mark Gorman point, and three successive semi-finals prior to that, no-one could begrudge the county’s most northerly club – which operates in a hurling heartland and borders counties Cavan, Meath and Longford – their moment of glory. They had waited 36 years to regain a title they last held in the mid-1970s when the club then went by the name Castletown-Finea. For club stalwarts like Ned Flynn and Des Doolin, who have worked tirelessly behind the scenes and have done more than most in keeping football alive in north Westmeath, this was a day they had dreamed about. How fitting it was that Des was a selector and his sons Ronan and Eanna were playing when Castletown-Finea/Coole/Whitehall

Ray Sheridan celebrates their championship win along with his team mates

FANTASTIC FINEA BRIDGE 36-YEAR GAP finally secured their place in the senior ranks.

Finea’s inspirational captain Ray Sheridan,

“We’ve finally made it and it’s just fantastic,” Des smiled.

who

delivered

a

memorable speech after accepting the Geraghty Cup from county board

“It wasn’t as good as last year’s

chairman Tom Farrell, said: “It’s the

final, but no-one will complain. Today

greatest feeling of relief I’ve ever felt

it was simply about getting over the

in my life. We want to dedicate this to

finishing line and the players did that.

Dermot Hennessy, a former player

We’re proud of them.”

with our club who died last year.

Intermediate Champions 2012. Front row l\r: Emmett Corrigan, Shane Moran, Tomas Blake, Denis Plunkett, Willie Coyne, Glen Plunkett, Andrew Dermody, Ray Sheridan, Kevin Brazil, Niall Kilcoyne, Ryan Plunkett, Kenneth Lord, Derek McNicholas, Graham Plunkett. Back row l\r: Israel Dowling, Wes Farrell, Colin Farrell, Enda Sheridan, Vinny Plunkett, Feidhlim Burke, Eanna Doolin, Daniel McDermott, Ronan Doolin, David Higgins, Darren Kilcoyne, Michael Moran, Alan Brady, Darren McCormack, Donald Moore, Shane Fagan, Oliver Gaffney, Eric Sullivan, Patrick Cheevers

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Intermediate Team 2012. Front Row l\r: Damien Golden, Tomas Blake, Feidhlim Burke, Darren McCormack, Emmett Corrigan, Glen Plunkett, Shane Fagan, Ray Sheridan, Kevin Brazil, Andrew Dermody, Willie Coyne, Ryan Plunkett, Graham Plunkett, Shane Moran. Back row l\r: Oliver Gaffney, Wes Farrell, Donald Moore, Vinny Plunkett, Darren Kilcoyne, Eanna Doolin, Ronan Doolin, Michael Moran, David Higgins, Niall Kilcoyne, Daniel McDermott, Derek McNicholas, Patrick Cheevers, Alan Brady, Eric Sullivan, Denis Plunkett

“Our lads deserved great credit for coming back every year. Five years we’ve been in the latter stages before we got what we deserved today. Niall (Kilcoyne) took his goal really well and we worked some very nice scores. When we got the ball to them, the forwards did damage. But it was a total team effort and every player on the panel contributed to this.” Manager Michael Tynan, who hails from Ballymachugh which is just over the county boundary in Cavan, hailed his team’s battling qualities. “I knew if we were in this game with 10 minutes to go, we’d win. Our hunger showed in the latter stages, with some great defending and crucial blocks. It was all about hard graft,” he said. Under the guidance of Tynan, Doolin and Graham Plunkett,

Castletown-Finea/Coole/Whitehall had the added satisfaction of going through the championship unbeaten. After drawing with St. Mary’s (3-4 to 2-7) in their opening Division B game, they registered four victories on the bounce over Ballymore (2-11 to 0-4), Shandonagh (4-8 to 0-7), Ballinagore (4-16 to 1-3) and Rosemount (3-11 to 1-5) to qualify directly for the semifinals as group winners. Many expected them to make light work of Rosemount again when they renewed acquaintances at Cusack Park, but it didn’t turn out like that with Finea having to rely on a fortuitous goal from Glen Plunkett with 13 minutes remaining to see them through to the decider on a 2-6 to 1-8 scoreline. Even after that body blow, the Roses refused to lie down and drew level with three

unanswered points before Ryan Plunkett landed a late winning point. Favoured by the wind in the first half, the north county side – wearing their alternative blue and green strip – got off to a great start when Derek McNicholas played the ball through to Niall Kilcoyne, who finished low to the net with just two minutes gone. At half-time, they led by 1-3 to 0-3 thanks to points from Daniel McDermott (two) and Ryan Plunkett (free). In the second half, Kilcoyne and Plunkett raised further white flags, while Glen Plunkett’s goal proved crucial in the final outcome. Castletown-Finea/Coole/Whitehall supporters also had to endure some anxious moments in the final before they could celebrate the club’s biggest win since the JFC title was annexed in 1998. In perfect

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Manager Michael Tynan and his son Shane celebrate at the final whistle

Darren McCormack has excelled at full back

Darren Kilcoyne surges forward as Daniel McDermott keeps up

conditions for football at Cusack Park, they led by 1-8 to 0-8 at the interval thanks to Niall Kilcoyne’s 27th minute goal. They grabbed the first two points of the second half to extend their lead to five, but their failure to score in the last 23 minutes, including three minutes of injury-time, left them hanging on for victory. After Alan Fitzpatrick (free) and Daniel McDermott traded early points, Michael Tynan’s charges took the lead for the first time when Willie Coyne and Niall Kilcoyne set up Ryan Plunkett for a sixth-minute point from 40 metres. Kilcoyne doubled the winners’ advantage from a free two minutes later before Kevin Brazil and Eanna Doolin also split the posts the leave them perched on a 0-5 to 0-1 lead at the end of the first quarter. Caulry, who had eliminated championship favourites Tubberclair at the semi-final stage, responded in terrific fashion. Peter Smyth flashed over a brace of points before further efforts from Johnny Dolan and John Maguire tied up the scoring. Gary Flanagan then converted a longrange free for Caulry’s fifth unanswered point, which edged them into a 0-6 to 0-5 lead after 23 minutes. Powerful corner forward Kilcoyne broke Caulry’s momentum with two quick points before Derek McNicholas, McDermott and midfielder Darren Kilcoyne were involved in a move which ended with Ryan Plunkett pointing Finea into a 08 to 0-6 lead. The green and golds were playing with great confidence now and they made a decisive breakthrough three minutes before the break when Niall Kilcoyne beat Caulry goalkeeper Joe McMahon with a low shot after McDermott and Andrew Dermody were involved in the build-up. That goal gave CastletownFinea/Coole/Whitehall a five-point cushion, but Caulry pulled back two points from Gary Flanagan and Peter Smyth placed balls to trail by just three at the halfway stage. Scores proved more difficult to come by in a tense second half. Within 10 minutes of the restart, the north county side had restored their

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Ryan Plunkett has emerged as an exciting forward

Derek McNicholas has been a big addition to the side

Ryan Plunkett has a shot at goal


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324


David Higgins has a bright future ahead of him

Willie Coyne shows a good turn of speed

Kevin Brazil is always good for a goal or two

five-point advantage thanks two points from the Kilcoyne brothers. Amazingly, they weren’t to score again as Caulry tried desperately to save the game. The Mount Temple men scored four points without reply per Peter Smyth (two), substitute Ernie Buckley and Alan Fitzpatrick (free) to reduce the deficit to the minimum with two minutes of normal time remaining. In a dramatic finale, David Higgins made a brilliant block to deny John Dolan an equalising point, while Smyth had an appeal for a free turned down by referee Brendan Keena. The final whistle sounded moments later and CastletownFinea/Coole/Whitehall had prevailed by a point – the same margin as which they had lost by 12 months earlier. Former county player Niall Kilcoyne took the man of the match plaudits for the second year in-a-row after bagging 1-4 (he scored 1-6 in the 2011 final). But the big difference this time was he finished on the winning side. Ray Sheridan always expected Caulry to push his side to the limit. “It was a tough game. They’re a good young side and are going to make the breakthrough in years to come. We had a five-point lead in both halves, but they never gave up and that’s what we expected. We took the lead twice and let them back into it with mistakes,” the corner back added. Senior football now beckons for Castletown-Finea/Coole/Whitehall in 2013. While this will place even greater demands on their many dual players, it’s a challenge the rural club will undoubtedly relish and will be determined to meet head on. Castletown-Finea/Coole/ Whitehall’s IFC winning line-up was: Micheal Moran; Ray Sheridan (captain), Darren McCormack, David Higgins; Glen Plunkett, Ronan Doolin, Willie Coyne; Daniel McDermott, Darren Kilcoyne; Kevin Brazil, Derek McNicholas, Andrew Dermody; Ryan Plunkett, Eanna Doolin, Niall Kilcoyne. Subs used: Donald Moore and Eric Sullivan.

325

Andrew Dermody is a talented dual star

Niall Kilcoyne will be a big loss to the club this year

Ryan Plunkett races towards goal


ATHLONE

A

thlone’s underage revival continued apace last year when they landed their second U16 Division 1 club championship title in three years and contested the minor Division 1 club championship final. Jim Rigney was one of those involved with the successful U16 team and believes the good times could be about to roll again on Shannonside. Athlone – the county’s most successful football club – haven’t won a senior championship since 1998, but their underage achievements in recent years would suggest that it won’t be long before they are competing strongly for the Flanagan Cup again. 2012 was another very successful year for Athlone’s next generation of footballers with the U21s, minors and U16s all contesting county finals. While the minors were surprisingly beaten by south county rivals Moate All-Whites, the U16s atoned for that disappointment a week later when they defeated Coralstown/Kinnegad to secure a second championship in three seasons in the grade. Afterwards, team captain Matthew Darling dedicated the success to two of the club’s greatest servants, Davy Allen and Kay O’Connell, who passed away during the year. Aged just 43 and the father of two young children, Davy had played a huge part in the development of the team, having coached them since they were U9s. Kay, meanwhile, rarely missed an Athlone game and Pairc Chiarain hasn’t been the same since her passing in June. One of her proudest moments was seeing her son Rory win Westmeath’s first football All Star award in 2001. “More than anything, we wanted to

Athlone captain Damien Kelly accepts the Feis Cup from Sean Sheridan

U16S BRING HOME THE BACON win the final for Davy and Kay,” explains Jim Rigney, who was part of the U16 management which also comprised Richie Daly, Joe Fallon and John Martin. “Another big incentive for us was to make amends for the minor final which we lost to Moate the previous Sunday. We had eight lads who were also involved in that final, and the last thing that they wanted was to come away from Cusack Park emptyhanded for the second week in-a-row. They didn’t need any motivation.” Coralstown/Kinnegad entered the final as favourites, having already captured the league and beaten Athlone on a remarkable scoreline of 6-15 to 6-12 in the process, but

The Feis Cup winners

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Rigney never doubted his boys in the sky blue and white strips. “People had us down as underdogs, but I saw it as a 50/50 game. We had beaten them in a fantastic Feile final two years earlier and had players from our 2011 U14 team which retained the Feile and won the championship as well. They had a man sent off at the start of the second half which was a help to us, but we still had to dig deep and it was only in the last 10 minutes that we managed to get our noses in front.” Athlone put up some big scores en route to the U16 final. They accounted for Killucan (1-19 to 4-7), St. Loman’s (7-14 to 0-7) and St. Mary’s (0-17 to 2-5) before


The Under-16 championship winning side. Front row l/r: Aidan Byrne, Kieran Rigney, Michael Cunniffe, Ryan Gaffey, Eric Loughnane, Richie Greene, Fionn Dowd, Cathal Stacey. Missing from photo: Tadhg Prendergast, Fabian Cooke, Kevin Martin, Sean Keena, Brian Finlay. Back row l/r: Conor Devaney, Shane Galvin, Charlie McMickan, Stephen Ward, Sam Omukoro, Darren Cassidy, Matthew Darling Chris Reid, Alex Molloy, Peter Ryan, Daniel Reid

overcoming Rosemount by 1-13 to 17 in the semi-final. Played as a curtain-raiser to the replayed SFC final between Mullingar Shamrocks and Garrycastle, the final was sadly overshadowed by violent scenes which saw Coralstown/Kinnegad finish the game with just 13 players. The Meath-border club led by 0-4 to 0-3 at the interval, but were reduced to 14 players at the start of the second half when Darren Leech received a straight red card. Man of the match Aidan Byrne brought Athlone level before they were rocked by the concession of a quickfire 1-1 which propelled the 14 men into a 1-5 to 0-4 lead. Having missed a goal chance in the 39th minute, Ryan Gaffey made amends eight minutes later when he finished to an empty net after being set up by Aidan Byrne. Three minutes

later, Richard Greene landed a longrange point to leave the sides level on 1-5 apiece heading into the final 10 minutes. It was anyone’s game now, but Athlone produced a big finish which yielded unanswered points from Eric Loughnane, Peter Ryan and Gaffey to seal a 1-8 to 1-5 victory. Coralstown/Kinnegad’s misery was compounded by Sean Sweeney’s dismissal in injury-time. The victory made up for the disappointment of Athlone’s 0-9 to 29 defeat to Moate All-Whites in minor Division 1 championship final at Cusack Park seven days earlier. Following good wins over Garrycastle, The Downs, Tubberclair and Caulry, the Shannonsiders had high hopes of taking the title, but were undone by the concession of two goals at the start of the second half.

Under the tutelage of Fergal O’Toole, who was assisted by Aidan St. John, Aidan Cunniffe, Richie Daly and club chairman Paul Connellan, Athlone flew out of the starting blocks to lead by 0-4 to 0-0 after 10 minutes thanks to points from Aidan Byrne (two), Richard Greene and county minor Ray Connellan. Moate grabbed the next three scores to leave the minimum in it before Connellan broke their scoring momentum. The All-Whites were finding their rhythm now and scored three more unanswered points to take the lead for the first time. But a Connellan free sent the teams into the break level on 0-6 apiece. Richard Greene struck the upright on the restart before Moate took the game by the scruff of the neck by scoring 2-1 in a devastating sevenminute spell. Dylan Fitzpatrick beat

The Ladies Senior Team. Front row l/r: Claire Dunning, Nicole Collison, Kathy McGettigan, Emma Johnston, Casey Fogarty, Kaylee McCoy, Katie Henshaw, Sinead Reidy, Aoife Gill, Deirdre Egan. Back row l/r: Alison Henshaw, Liz Stuart-Trainor, Leah Beirne, Emma Henshaw, Siobhan Coleman, Linda Barr, Eimear O'Reilly, Aoife Dunning, Eimear Connellan, Lorna Mulvihill, Emma Carey, Janet Quinn

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Kevin Macken uses an unorthodox approach to kick the ball

Ray Connellan uses his strength to evade this tackle

John Egan shows a quickness of feet

Darren Cassidy at his near post for the opening goal. Jamie Madden quickly followed up with a converted free before Eoghan Kelly blasted home a second major to put the winners firmly in the driving seat. Athlone tried hard to get themselves back into contention, and had ample chances to do so, but the goal they so desperately sought wouldn’t come and Moate held on for a famous victory. All of Athlone’s underage teams gave excellent accounts of themselves last year. The U10s won the Castledaly tournament and the South Westmeath League, the U12s went through the season unbeaten, the U13s won the prestigious Austin Stacks tournament in Tralee, the U14s defeated Maryland/Tang by 3-7 to 1-9 in the Division 2 Shield final while, rather fittingly, the U15s were the inaugural winners of the Davy Allen Memorial Cup. Staged in September, the tournament to honour the late club stalwart consisted of five teams – Caulry, Castledaly, Clann na nGael, St. Brigid’s and Athlone. “We are competing strongly in all the juvenile grades, which bodes well for the future. It’s all about having a strong senior team in years to come,” says Jim, who is a member of a well-known GAA family from Doon in Co. Offaly. The appointment of Jim’s fellow county man Tom Coffey – who doubled up as manager of the Faithful County from April until July – heightened expectations of an extended senior championship run. Following an encouraging start, however, Athlone lost their way somewhat and failed to progress beyond the group stages after losing heavily to eventual champions Mullingar Shamrocks in their final group game. The Shannonsiders opened their campaign with a 1-8 to 0-5 victory over The Downs at Cusack Park. John Egan’s late point earned them a 1-10 to 2-7 draw with a fancied St. Loman’s in their second outing before their season took a turn for the worst when they crashed to 0-7 to 0-12 defeat to Maryland in Moate. Athlone needed three late points and a second half goal from John Stapleton to see off St. Malachy’s by 2-10 to 1-10 in their penultimate group match at Tang, which set up a winner-takes-all clash with Mullingar Shamrocks at Cusack Park. But in what was a hugely disappointing contest, Shamrocks blitzed them with three first half goals and eventually coasted to a 4-12 to 17 victory. “It was a big disappointment for the club not to reach the knockout stages. That would have been the aim at the start of the year,” Jim recalls. “The seniors lost six or seven through emigration, including county player Paul

329

Brian Fogarty eludes The Downs’ defence

John Stapleton powers forward against The Downs’

Damien Kelly climbs highest for the ball


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The minor squad. Front row l/r: Kieran Rigney, Conor Devaney, Conor Melinn, Matthew Darling, Richie Greene, Seamus Byrne Aaron Watts, Aidan Byrne, Fionn Dowd, Michael Cunniffe, Charlie McMikan, Luke Dully, Ryan Gaffey, Kevin Martin. Back row l/r: Mentor's Paul Connellan, Fergal O'Toole, Alex Molloy, Shane Galvin, Tommy McCoy, Neil Scally, Stephen Ward, Ray Connellan, Darren Cassidy, Gavin Downey, Jordan Marshment, Daniel Lynal, Sam Omukoro, Eoin O'Reilly, Chris Reid, Mark Halligan, Peter Ryan. Missing Mentor's Aidan Cunniffe and Aidan St John

Bannon who spent the summer in America. On top of that, we’ve lost Robbie Henshaw to rugby and it looks like Eoin O’Reilly – who was full back on our minor team last year – will follow a similar path. Very few clubs would be able to cope with that amount of losses.” Athlone’s U16 champions were: Darren Cassidy; Shane Galvin, Matthew Darling (captain), Eric Loughnane; Fionn Dowd, Stephen Ward, Michael Cunniffe; Sam Omukoro, Charlie McMickan; Richard Greene, Peter Ryan, Kieran Rigney; Chris Reid, Ryan Gaffey, Aidan Byrne. Subs used: Cathal Stacey, Daniel Reid and Alex Molloy. The team that faced Moate AllWhites in the minor championship decider was: Darren Cassidy; Daniel Lynam, Eoghan O’Reilly, Michael Cunniffe; Stephen Ward, Aaron Watts, Tommy McCoy; Gavin Downey, Ray Connellan; Jordan Marshment, Seamus Byrne, Sam Omukoro; Aidan Byrne, Richard Greene, Charlie McMickan. Subs: Matthew Darling, Luke Dully, Neil Scally, Mark Halligan, Conor

Devaney, Kieran Rigney, Shane Galvin, Conor Melinn, Alex Molloy, Chris Reid and Kevin Martin.

FEIS CUP RETURNS TO SHANNONSIDE Athlone gained some consolation for a disappointing 2012 championship campaign when they defeated Bunbrosna by 1-7 to 0-3 in the delayed Feis Cup final at Pairc Chiarain on January 20 last. The Shannonsiders, who will be managed by Noel O’Brien (the twotime Roscommon SFC and Connacht club SFC-winning manager with St. Brigid’s) in the coming year, made hard work of seeing off a Bunbrosna team who had Noel Yourell redcarded after only nine minutes. With Joe Fallon in fine scoring form, the hosts led by 0-5 to 0-2 at the break and they increased their advantage on the restart when full back Paul McEnroe pointed. Bunbrosna enjoyed a lot of possession in the second half, but all that they could manage was a solitary point from a Peter Tormey free, and it was left to Athlone substitute Jordan Marshment to end the game as a contest with the only goal three minutes from the end.

The under-16 County Final Cup Presentation. From l/r: Matthew Darling (captain), Shane Galvin, Fionn Dowd

Athlone lined out as follows: Michael Duddy; Dermot Piggott, Paul McEnroe, Fergal Murray; Danny Lynam, Damien Kelly, Brian Gill; Paul Bannon, John Stapleton; Eoin Maher, Shane Kilroy-Glynn, Andy

331

Lynam; Joe Fallon, Mickey Greene, Seamus Byrne. Subs used: Brian Fogarty, Dermot McManus, Aidan St John, Jordan Marshment and Emmet Collins.

U15 CHAMPIONS (ADD TO ATHLONE SECTION) Athlone were crowned inaugural winners of the new U15 football championship when they defeated The Downs by 0-9 to 1-4 in the delayed 2012 final at Streamstown on Sunday, February 17 last. This championship is open to amalgamation teams, but the final was contested by two clubs sides as it transpired with Athlone having accounted for their south county neighbours Shannon Gaels in the semi-final. The Downs led by 1-2 to 0-4 at the interval thanks to a Niall Mitchell goal, but favoured by the wind in the second half, Athlone outscored their black and amber opponents by 0-5 to 0-2 with Richie Greene finishing as top-scorer with 05. Daniel Reid was another to impress in the Athlone midfield. This was another fantastic success for the Shannonsiders who are also U16 champions and minor finalists for 2012. Most of the U15s now have U14, U15 and U16 championship medals under their belts, so the future certainly looks bright for the county’s most successful football club. Athlone’s U15 champions were: Conor Devaney; Jack Ruane, Kevin Martin, Sean Dowd; Dylan Keogh, Conor Melinn, Fabian Cooke; Daniel Reid, Kieran Rigney; Richie Greene, Fionn Dowd, Ryan Gaffey; Sean Keena, Tadhg Prendergast, Conal Edmundson. Sub used: Cathal Stacey.


BUNBROSNA Padraig Walsh lets fly

S

tar forward Peter Tormey believes Bunbrosna have been guilty of resting on their laurels since returning to the top flight two years ago, and is calling on his team-mates to redouble their efforts and challenge for a place in the knockout stages in 2013. “We shouldn’t be happy about retaining our senior status. We need to aim higher and show more ambition.” So says top scorer Peter Tormey who feels Bunbrosna have underachieved since re-joining the senior ranks of Westmeath football a couple of seasons ago. The Longford-border club avoided the relegation dogfight last year thanks to a victory over Killucan and a surprise draw with Garrycastle, but that failed to satisfy the ambitions of Tormey who uses Maryland as an example of what can be achieved with the right application and attitude. “They’ve gone from strength to strength since they won the intermediate championship in 2009. They’ve really embraced senior football and got to a semi-final last year,” he points out. “We won the intermediate championship the year after them, but sadly haven’t made the same progress. Some people would say we’ve done well to stay senior, but I think we’ve rested on our laurels a bit. We need to push on and make our

TORMEY CALLS FOR GREATER EFFORT mark soon because most of our players are in their late twenties now. “Unlike other clubs, we don’t have many younger players coming through. Our team is basically the same as it was when we won a junior championship in 2001 and intermediate championships in 2006 and 2010. We’re not getting any younger.”

A former county panellist, Tormey argues that it’s possible for a small, rural club like Bunbrosna to compete against clubs with far greater playing resources. “Maryland’s pick isn’t any bigger than ours, yet they’re qualifying for quarter-finals and semi-finals on a regular basis. They’re compensating for their lack of numbers by putting in

On duty for the Senior "B" Football Final versus The Downs. Front row l/r: John McCormack, Colm McCormack, Paul Connaughton, Kevin Mitchell, Liam Mitchell, John Kiernan, Ray Carolan, Ken Conroy Ciaran Walsh. Back row l/r: Paddy McCormack (selector), Alan Maguire, Noel Yourell, Liam Walsh, David Newman, Sean Kiernan, Conor Lyons, John Casey, Ronan Scally, Fintan Finnan, J P Reynolds, Tommy Murphy

332


The Feis Cup finalists who lost out to Athlone

the work on the training pitch. There

Tyrrellspass

be doing better than we are.”

in

their

first

two

of

championship outings last year. A

successful as them if we put in the

Edenderry man Declan Farrell and

dismal performance against newly-

same effort.”

his selectors Paddy McCormack and

promoted Coralstown/Kinnegad at

Paul

Shandonagh resulted in a 0-4 to 1-11

is no reason why we can’t be as

He continues: “While it’s great that

Under

the

management

Connaughton,

Bunbrosna

we’re able to hold our own in the

looked to have a relegation battle on

senior championship and in Division

their hands following heavy defeats

1 of the league, I still think we should

to

Coralstown/Kinnegad

and

opening day loss. An

Alan

Giles

goal

helped

Coralstown/Kinnegad to a 1-5 to 0-3

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Determination etched on the face of Aidan Finnan in the game against Castledaly

Killucan's Rory Reilly loses out in this tackle with Andy Whitney

Noel Yourell surveys his options

interval lead, and despite playing the entire second half with 14 men following the dismissal of Mark Gorman, the winners outscored Declan Farrell’s charges by 0-6 to 01 to register a surprisingly comfortable victory. An even heavier defeat – 0-7 to 213 – followed against Tyrrellspass, but the scoreline didn’t do justice to Bun’, who had led by 0-4 to 0-3 coming up to half-time. But Tyrrellspass finished the first half strongly to go into the break leading 0-6 to 0-4 and they cut loose in the second period when goals from David Glennon (penalty) and Mark Staunton ended the Bun’ challenge. With the spectre of relegation looming large for both teams, Bunbrosna’s clash with Killucan at Lakepoint Park was the proverbial six-pointer. Like Bun’, Killucan had lost their opening two matches and were desperate to get a win under their belts. At the halfway stage, the Saffrons were perched on a 0-9 to 04 lead, but Bunbrosna staged a magnificent second half comeback to claim a precious 0-14 to 0-12 victory. On the restart, Peter Tormey and James Nugent exchanged points before Bun’ posted five-in-a-row in a 15-minute spell to level matters. Barry O’Mara started the scoring sequence; centre back Conor Lyons, Fintan Finnan and Tormey also raised white flags to tie up the scores at 0-10 apiece with 10 minutes remaining. Paul Greville restored Killucan’s lead, but it proved to be short-lived as Peter Tormey’s free brought Bun’ back onto level terms before points from Finian Newman, Tormey and Kevin Mitchell pushed the blue and whites into a 0-14 to 0-11 lead. Greville replied with an injury-time free, but it was a case of too little, too late as Bun’ held on for what was their only win of the campaign. “It was a huge relief to win that game,” reflects Peter, whose brother Kevin is a mainstay of the Bunbrosna defence. “It was billed as a relegation game – whoever lost it was always likely to end up bottom of the group. It was the first time all year that we had everybody fit and available to us.

335

Team captain Finian Newman looks for options

Noel Yourell solos upfield

Barry O'Mara skillfully evades Jason Lynch of Coralstown-Kinnegad


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Simon Moorehead was back from aboard and played well after coming on as a sub. We were delighted to get the win, especially after our poor showing against Coralstown/Kinnegad in the first round and our second half collapse against Tyrrellspass.” In round four, Bun’s crashed to a 09 to 2-16 defeat to Castledaly, but Killucan’s loss to Garrycastle elsewhere meant Declan Farrell’s men were safe from relegation. The loss of influential midfielder Padraic Walsh – who had played a blinder against Killucan – to a back injury just before the throw-in was a severe blow to a Bunbrosna team who trailed by 0-4 to 1-8 at half-time. Their fate was sealed when MJ Kelly came off the bench to bag a second goal for Castledaly in the closing stages. Bun’ finished the campaign on an unexpected high when they held the mighty Garrycastle to a 1-9 to 0-12 draw in Ballymore. In the first half, Bun’ took the game to their illustrious opponents and went into the break leading 1-5 to 0-6 thanks to a Liam Mitchell goal after 25 minutes. Indeed, the massive underdogs could have had a couple of more goals had the woodwork not denied Mitchell and Peter Tormey in the 14th and 28th minutes respectively. Inevitably, Garrycastle improved on the resumption and had taken a 0-11 to 1-6 lead before Tormey kicked two sublime points off his trusty left boot to restore parity. Fintan Finnan edged Bun’ back in front, but they were denied a famous victory when James Duignan landed an equalising free in injury-time for the champions. Bunbrosna’s second team contested the senior ‘B’ championship final at the end of the year, only to lose 0-8 to 1-15 to The Downs after they conceded an unanswered 1-7 in the first half. The club had also qualified for the Feis Cup final against Athlone, which wasn’t played at the time of writing. Due to a lack of numbers, Bunbrosna combined with Castletown-Finea/Coole/Whitehall and St. Fintan’s (Streete) for the first time at underage level last year. While success eluded the new Inny

Shamrocks club, their U16 team did give a good account of themselves by pushing champions-elect Multyfarnham all the way in the Division 3 championship semi-final. “In fairness to the people involved with the underage teams, they are putting in a great effort, but it’s difficult when the numbers aren’t there,” says Tormey, who trains the Moate Community College senior football team and is a member of the teaching staff at the south Westmeath school. Peter is looking forward to a big year from Bun’, who will once again be managed by Declan Farrell (Wexford native and former player with The Downs, Seamus Kiernan, has replaced Paul Connuaghton as a selector). “Declan is in a stronger position now than he was this time last year because he’s familiar with every player. We’re fortunate in the sense that we haven’t been too badly affected by emigration. The fact that neither Aidan Finnan nor I aren’t involved with the county team should also be a help. “We need everyone to make a big push over the next few months. We’ve got good players and should be aiming for the knockout stages of the championship,” he concludes. Bunbrosna lined out as follows in their SFC victory over Killucan: John Casey; Conor Newman, Aidan Finnan, Finian Newman; Kevin Tormey, Conor Lyons, Ciaran Walsh; Fintan Finnan, Padraic Walsh; Peter Tormey, Andrew Whitney, Liam Mitchell; Kevin Mitchell, Noel Yourell, Barry O’Mara. Sub used: Simon Moorehead. Senior ‘B’ championship finalists: John Casey; Tommy Murphy, David Newman, John Kiernan; Ciaran Walsh, Liam Mitchell, Ronan Scally; Conor Lyons, Noel Yourell; Sean Kiernan, Ray Carolan, Fintan Finnan; Colm McCormack, Ken Conroy, Kevin Mitchell. Subs used: Liam Walsh, Johnny McCormack, Alan Maguire, Paul Connaughton and JP Reynolds.

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Simon Moorhead releases the ball

Fintan Finnan feels the brunt of this Tyrrellspass tackle

Sean Walsh takes water supplied by Colm McCormack


SPECIAL FEATURE Tommy Carr (right) with selector Aidan Lennon

CARR SETS LEINSTER TARGET

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estmeath minor football boss Tommy Carr has set a very clear goal for the Lake County under 18s in 2013: to win the Leinster MFC. The former Dublin manager and captain is adamant that there is plenty of footballing talent in the county and – if they play with belief and conviction - sees no reason why his team can’t finish top of the pile in the province. After getting knocked out at the semifinal stage last year, Carr is determined to go a couple of steps further this summer. It would be fair to say that Tommy Carr is enthusiastic regarding his second season in charge of Westmeath’s minor footballers. Twenty-twelve may have proved frustrating ultimately, but the former Dublin, Roscommon and Cavan senior boss is looking forward to

giving it another shot in the months ahead. Tommy is one of those individuals who embrace challenges with energy and optimism, so it’s little surprise that he’s positive as he looks forward to the season: “I always look at these things with optimism and hope and a sense of challenge,” he notes. “It’s exciting when you take on any team and it’s particularly rewarding when you take on young lads. When you work with young footballers, you get to see the formation of elite sportsmen as they begin their careers. It’s a very interesting time to be involved with footballers and I’m looking forward to working with Westmeath again this year.” The 2012 campaign – Tommy’s first in charge – could probably be described as something of a mixed bag. In between defeats to Louth and Meath, Westmeath rolled up their

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collective sleeve and strung together back-to-back championship victories over Carlow and Wicklow. The Wee County had beaten Tommy’s charges in the first round proper of the provincial championship at Haggardstown in April but they regrouped to see off the Barrowsiders before claiming an impressive 0-10 to 0-7 success in Aughrim. That was enough to set up a Leinster MFC semi-final date with Meath at Cusack Park in July. The Royals spoiled the party but, in hindsight, the manager can take some positives from the run that brought his team within an hour of the provincial decider: “It had been ten or eleven years since Westmeath last got to a Leinster semi-final, so I suppose you could say that was progress. But I was disappointed with the performance in the Leinster semi-


The Westmeath minor squad before last year’s Leinster championship clash with Louth

final against Meath. Westmeath football is better than that and it was a poor performance. We were definitely disappointed with the way that game went. “Putting the panel together is one thing; getting the performance out of them is another challenge after that. “I’m convinced that the difference between the top teams and the other teams in the province is down to the attitude, the culture and the discipline. One of the things we’re trying to do is to instil these. If it’s not enshrined as part of their preparations by minor level, it’s not going to happen after that. I believe they need to start learning this at U14 and U16 levels and then we will end up with a group that’s honed.” One of the biggest obstacles facing a county minor manager is the short period of time he has to analyse his players and prepare them. Tommy

was only able to get his squad on the first Saturday in February, that together collectively at the start of was the first time we had been February and – before they even had together as a panel. one training session together – they “That’s not a perfect scenario but, at had an immediate Leinster minor the same time, you need to get football league match against games and the Leinster minor Longford. Hardly ideal? football league is a good idea. But “We had put the squad together and they were Wishing Continued Success To PalletXpress, From working together in small groups and doing strength and conditioning work and also playing Specialise schools football,” In the Shandonagh Distribution Groupage and full loads catered for c l u b m a n Into Temperature controlled units explains. “When County Freight forwarding Storage & warehouse we played Logistics services Donegal Longford in the Cottage Farm, Newtowncunningham, Co. Donegal first round of the T: (074) 9156333 • F: (074) 9156281 • www.def.ie Leinster league

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Castledaly clubman Lorcan Dolan on the attack against Carlow

a lot to offer. Instilling belief and confidence is huge. If we there should be some sort of run-in to it…” Over the course of the campaign, the manager intends to can manage to do that, then I have no doubt that work off a squad of about 30-32 players. The Leinster Westmeath can compete with any other team in Leinster. league will be used to get a panel ready for the “You can’t be content to make up the numbers. We will be championship, which opens with a first-round meeting with going all out to win it.” Wexford on Saturday, April 13th. With a back door system in place again, there are two chances of making it to Continued Best Wishes To PalletXpress, From the last eight (quarter-finals are pencilled in for May 11th) but Tommy intends to take the direct route – and to go all the way! “We will be trying to win a Leinster title,” he confirms. “We might not know a lot about Wexford just yet but at this level it’s all about getting your own structures right and getting a performance out of the team. In minor football, you set your stall out to play to your strengths. We’ll concentrate on our own game and we’ll have seven or eight lads available again who have experience of county minor football from last year. “At this stage in the year [first week in February], I don’t know just how strong they’re going to be as we haven’t had a proper look at them together as a unit yet but I’ve seen these boys playing club football and they are all nice footballers. They have

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Castledaly clubman Lorcan Dolan on the attack against Carlow

a lot to offer. Instilling belief and confidence is huge. If we there should be some sort of run-in to it…” Over the course of the campaign, the manager intends to can manage to do that, then I have no doubt that work off a squad of about 30-32 players. The Leinster Westmeath can compete with any other team in Leinster. league will be used to get a panel ready for the “You can’t be content to make up the numbers. We will be championship, which opens with a first-round meeting with going all out to win it.” Wexford on Saturday, April 13th. With a back door system in place again, there are two chances of making it to Continued Best Wishes To PalletXpress, From the last eight (quarter-finals are pencilled in for May 11th) but Tommy intends to take the direct route – and to go all the way! “We will be trying to win a Leinster title,” he confirms. “We might not know a lot about Wexford just yet but at this level it’s all about getting your own structures right and getting a performance out of the team. In minor football, you set your stall out to play to your strengths. We’ll concentrate on our own game and we’ll have seven or eight lads available again who have experience of county minor football from last year. “At this stage in the year [first week in February], I don’t know just how strong they’re going to be as we haven’t had a proper look at them together as a unit yet but I’ve seen these boys playing club 55 football and they are all nice footballers. They have

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SPECIAL FEATURE

Supermac’s and Mace offer customers plenty of variety

SUPPORTING THE BUN

D

espite being a rural club, Bunbrosna GAA are certainly holding their own at senior level, which is a massive achievement for a club that a little over a decade ago were still plying their trade at junior level. The club's focus on developing their underage structure has certainly paid off as they consistently bring players through to the adult ranks. In 2012, not only did they retain their senior status, but the club also reached the senior 'B' final, which shows the wealth of talent they have at their disposal. They have produced some outstanding talents in recent years with current senior panellist Aidan Finnan amongst them, while Finian Newman and Peter Tormey are two others with county experience.

Of course, every club relies on sponsorship to help run activities on an annual basis and Bunbrosna are no different on that front. The club are fortunate to have a very generous sponsor in the guise of O'Reilly's Ballinalack. This is one of three sponsorship deals that the company are involved in as they also sponsor Multyfarnham (Supermacs) and Crookedwood camogie (O’Reilly Commercials) O'Reilly's a family run business that has three companies under its umbrella; O'Reilly Commercials, N4 Mace and Supermac's Ballinalack. For this year's edition of Maroon & White we profile this rural business and speak to General Manager Alaine O'Reilly about the company and their sponsorship deal with Bunbrosna. This family run business was

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established by David O'Reilly and his wife Maura in 1990. The first strand of the firm was O'Reilly Commercials, which is a main dealer for MAN trucks. As well as sales, the company provides a comprehensive maintenance service also. More recently, O'Reilly Commercials have become an ATC credited test centre and in doing so became one of only ten businesses that are equipped to provide this service. “There has been a lot of investment made in this area. There were a lot of criteria to be met in order to be approved for the ATC testing and thankfully we have reached that standard now,” said Alaine, who is David and Maura's daughter. About ten years after O'Reilly Commercials was opened, Mam and Dad opened a small shop on the


forecourt and this has grown into the premises that it is today. It is now called the N4 Mace shop. “We have ample parking outside which is a major plus for customers, while we have a seating area inside where people can go and eat food bought from our deli counter. We also provide dinners in her and it is a popular stop off point for truckers and the reason for this being the parking outside.” Alaine revealed that when the opportunity for a Supermac's franchise arose, they seen it as an opening that they could not miss and it's a decision that they have not regretted. “We saw it as an opportunity and went for it. Supermac's not only accommodates the locals, but the passing trade also and we would have a lot of people stop when their passing by on long journeys to the likes of Croke Park. There is a drive through in place, while there is seating up and down stairs with upstairs holding up to 30 people.” Working with food on a daily basis means that health and safety is paramount in the company and Alaine stressed that nothing is left to chance in that regard. “We know the importance of health and safety; it is up there in our list of priorities. We would be regularly inspected and the employees are all trained to the highest standards in this area.” Through all these businesses, O'Reilly's are a major employer in this rural area and Alaine admitted that they were very fortunate with the staff that they have at the moment. “There are 30 people employed here and they all play a part in the success of the business. Without them none of this would be possible. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank all our customers for their support over the years, it has been greatly appreciated.” Alaine feels that it is important to give something back to the local community and one way of doing that was to sponsor the local GAA clubs.

The off-licence offers a wide selection of wines

Hot food is a speciality in Mace

The forecourt is spacious and easy to access

The Supermac’s franchise has expanded over the years

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“We have sponsored the local clubs for a few years now. We like to support the community and we do what we can, while sponsoring the football and camogie teams is just one way to do so. “They are all doing very well at the moment which is a great achievement and sure you never know, maybe they will win more championship in the next few years.” O'Reilly's are no stranger to success either and in 2011 they were awarded Ireland's Forecourt Retailer of the Year award, much to their delight. So what of the coming year? “Our aim is the same as always and that is to continue to provide the high level of service that all our customers have become used too. If we see a need to invest in order to improve any are of the business then we will, but first and foremost it will be to look after the customers.”

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CLANN GAELS LADIES

CLANN GAELS CONTINUE TO THRIVE

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Our underage structure is as always a priority for us and we were very fortunate to have once again in 2012 a very dedicated and committed group of people Having stepped up to the involved with this age group. intermediate grade, our team recorded some excellent wins. To Our under 12 team was placed in reach the semi-final in our first a group which comprised of the year back at this level was a huge following teams: St Lomans, success. We also competed at the Mullingar Shamrocks, Killucan, under 12, 14, 16, and minor Ballycomyle and Delvin/St. Pauls. levels, which once again, is a This team is a very young side, great achievement for our club. and to be able to stand up against In the intermediate those aforementioned teams and championship Clann Gaels The 2012 minor team: Front: l\r: Emily Monaghan, Tara Foley, give a good account of Shaw, Jenny Hynes, Emma Boyhan, Sablina McLoughlin. recorded three impressive wins over Rachel themselves, in all their games, Back: l\r: Caitríona Murtagh, Niamh Greene, Caoimhe Dunne, Killucan, Ballycomyle and Michaela Monaghan, Julie McLoughlin, Holly Foley, Mary Kate speaks volumes for their ability Molloy, Kate Weir. Missing from photo: Chloe Kelly, Loughnavalley, having suffered only Christina Kelly, Cora Manning and determination. In the quarterone defeat against Moate. The final we played Tubberclair away. game against Killucan was one of This game was very evenly our most competitive encounters contested in the first half and it and our victory placed us second was only after half time that the in the group. Our opponents in the strength and age of the opposition semi final were again Killucan, became apparent. There is great and this pairing ensured the promise in this under 12 team for prospect of a highly entertaining 2013. game. Unfortunately Clann Gaels The under 12 mentors also were unable to repeat their incorporated an under 10 previous performance and challenge on the evenings of their Killucan booked their place in the under 12 championship matches, The U16 Team: Front row: L to R: Ailish Greene, Sabina McLoughlin, Melanie Moran-Flood, Jenny Hynes, Mary Kate final against Moate and later went as they had done in 2011. This Molloy, Emily Monaghan. Back row l\r: Nicole Keary, Holly Foley, on to win the Intermediate Ciara Fulham, Kate Weir, Rachel Shaw, Caoimhe Dunne, Emma was a very successful exercise Boyhan, Michaela Monaghan, Nora Reynolds (coach). Missing Championship. Our and it was most entertaining to from Photo: Sinead Lyons and Tara Foley congratulations to Killucan on watch the competitive nature of achieving senior status. was of great benefit to our intermediate these games. Bunbrosna was the The league division 2 competition side, as two senior teams were venue of our immensely successful competing, Tyrrellspass under 10 blitz this year, with five teams competing: Clann Gaels, St Lomans, and Killbeggan / Shandonagh, Loughnavalley, and Ballinagore. Also Tubberclair. The pitch on that day was competing were Moate, a hive of activity and made for a most Killucan and the Downs. enjoyable day for all involved. It gave us the opportunity Our under 14’s are also a very young to experience the side and represented their club well in standard of football which their games against we need to reach to Killbeggan/Ballinagore/St. Josephs, succeed at this level. Our Shandonagh, Ballycomyle and team put on some great Loughnavalley. In the semi-final they performances and again came up against Shandonagh The U14 team included are: Front l\r: Emily Monaghan, Maire and unfortunately came out second hopefully we will build on Joyce, Shauna Keary, Melanie Moran Flood, Nicole Keary. Back best. l\r: Ailish Greene, Laura Molloy, Sophie Whyte, Bettina Sharry, our results in the 2013 Grace Callaghan, Dearbhaille McLoughlin, Aoife Ni Coilligh, Our under 16’s were placed in group league. Roisin Foy. Missing from photo: Niamh Kelleghan 012 saw Clann Gaels achieve great success both on and off the field.

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two playing against Killucan, Coarlstown / Kinnegad, Mullingar Shamrocks, Tyrrellspass and Ballycomyle. This was an excellent team, winning three of their five games, drawing the fourth and losing just one. Our successful results placed us in a semi-final against the Downs, played in The U10 team: Front Row: l\r: Fiona Feerick, Lauren Connolly, Chloe Coffey, Eva Coughlan, Joy Roland, Ciara Molloy, Maeve M u l t y f a r n h a m . McLoughlin. Back row l\r: Aoife O’ Brien, Fiona Greene, Emer Molloy, Ava Jenkins, Jenny Kelly, Caoimhe O’Brien, Maeve Unfortunately despite an Greene, Róisín Sharry, Laila Noone, Maeve Molloy, Nikka Sule outstanding performance we were defeated and the Downs later went on to win the final. Our minor team did not live up to its potential this year. Having finished the season on a high in 2011 we had great expectations for this year’s competition. Unfortunately the championship did not go our way and we exited the competition with an away defeat against Coralstown Members of the hard working committee pictured at Take Me Out: From l\r Mairéad Reynolds, Rosaleen Lyons, Kinnegad. For this game we Vincent Maguire, Frank Kearney. Seated Ann Marie Browne and Olive Connaughton relied heavily on our under 14 and 16 players and despite encountering strong opposition they played superbly, eventually being defeated by just three points. The off the field achievement was our hugely adventurous fundraiser, ‘Take Me Out with a Twist’ . This The 2012 Under 12 squad: Front l\r: Lauren Connolly, Niamh Callaghan, Eva Coughlan, Ciara Molloy, Roisin Sharry, Joy Ronan, was an extremely Maeve Molloy, Maeve McLoughlin. Back l\r: Emer Molloy, Georgia O'Brien, Aoife Ni Choilligh, Dearbhaille McLoughlin, Laura Molloy, successful and Fiona Kelleghan, Michaela Bardon, Chloe Coffey, Melissa Butler. entertaining night Missing from photo Fiona Greene and Roisin Foy

At the presentation of jerseys sponsored by The Covert, Multyfarnham to the u12 team: From l/r: Kevin Coffey (trainer), Alan Dempsey The Covert, Aoife Ní Choilligh, Helena Farrell (trainer), Frank Kearney (chairperson).

which resulted in raising much needed funds for our club and also getting the name of Clann Gaels more widely known among the sporting public in Westmeath. Thanks to all the sponsors, the comperes , the participants and all who attended this event in The Greville Arms Hotel. A special mention to the The Clann Gaels girls and committee members who worked tirelessly in the preparation , co–ordination and presentation of this exciting show. We wish to thank the Greville Arms Hotel and Mojos for their support, also the Westmeath Examiner and Topic for their coverage of the event. Our thanks to the players and mentors of all our teams for their commitment to Clann Gaels during the past year. To the parents without whose support our achievements would not be possible, and to our supporters whose presence at our games make it all worthwhile. The best of luck to our teams for the coming season. Best wishes to Bunbrosna, Multyfarnham and St Fintan’s Streete for a successful year in 2013.

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SPECIAL FEATURE

Oxigen is leading the battle against waste

OXIGEN HELPING WESTMEATH TO RECYCLE

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hen it comes to the vital task of promoting environmental awareness in Westmeath, nobody is doing more than Oxigen Environmental. The national service provider offers a full range of waste management services to both the commercial and domestic sectors throughout the Lake County. Since entering the Westmeath market in 2010, Oxigen Environmental has firmly established itself as the number one recycling and waste management company in the county. Providing a cost effective and efficient service for the management and recycling of domestic and commercial waste countrywide, Oxigen is dedicated to the diversion of waste from landfill through the re-

use of valuable resources to create closed material life cycles. The old adage of ‘waste not, want not’ is key to the Oxigen ethos. Producing secondary raw materials and reprocessing to produce new products promotes resource efficiency and is an environmental necessity. Recognized as Ireland’s foremost waste management and recycling company, Oxigen Environmental was founded in 1988 by Sean Doyle as Wheel Bin Services, and re-branded in 2000 as Oxigen Environmental. The company continues to go from strength to strength by offering a wide range of value-for-money domestic and commercial waste collections, material recycling and environmental services. The success of the Oxigen Group is based on the solid

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foundations and values of a familyrun business that provide a high quality service to its customers. Last year, Oxigen introduced its unique recycling and waste mapping process which assists commercial customers to better manage their levels of waste and increase their levels of recycling. Oxigen Environmental currently manages waste streams of 100,000 customers, operates from 25 locations and employs over 370 people. While domestic collections account for a large part of Oxigen’s business in Westmeath, the company also offers commercial bin collections, domestic septic tank cleaning, equipment rental, confidential shredding and data destruction, plastics reprocessing and hazardous waste management.


In addition, Oxigen operates civic amenity sites in Golden Island Athlone and Clonmore Business Park Mullingar. These facilities are designed to allow the general public to bring their general waste and recyclables to a centrally located site. Civic amenity sites promote recycling and help to increase the amount of waste recycled in Ireland each year. Oxigen also operates the household residual waste facility at Ballydonagh Landfill site. Here the public can dispose of their domestic waste. “We’ve built up a strong customerbase in Westmeath over the past three years,” Oxigen Environmental project manager John Doyle explains. “We first entered the Westmeath market in 2010 after securing the County Council contract to collect waste and recyclables from approx 10,000 homes. In 2012 we expanded our customer-base when we took over part of Wallace Recycling’s collection routes.” Oxigen offers refuse collections to all parts of Co. Westmeath, from Athlone in the West, Kilbeggan in the South, to Finea in the North. This is a two-bin service comprising of a bin

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The company has a strong customer base in Westmeath

Oxigen is Ireland’s foremost waste management and recycling company

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for general waste and a bin for recyclable materials such as paper, cardboard, plastic bottles and aluminium and steel cans. Two sizes of domestic bins are available 140 litres and 240 litres. Commercial bins vary in size from 140 litres to 1,100 litres. Oxigen has also expanded its online services and is currently offering new customers one free month on their waste collection service when they pay for one year online. That means you are getting 12 months for the price of 11. For more details, log onto www.oxigen.ie Alternatively, you can purchase your waste bin tag for €12 or your recycling tag for €6 from all good local retail outlets. Call 1890 694436 for the best prices in your area. Since entering the Westmeath recycling and waste collection market Oxigen has created 15 new jobs in the county. To coincide with their entry into the Westmeath market, Oxigen agreed a two-year sponsorship deal with Mullingar Shamrocks. After losing county finals to Garrycastle in 2010 and 2011 (after a replay), the Springfield outfit’s persistence finally paid off last year when they ended Garrycastle’s quest for a four-in-arow of Flanagan Cups with a dramatic replay victory. “I was delighted to see them finally get over the line. Garrycastle reached last year’s All-Ireland club final and had beaten them in the previous two finals, so it was a great achievement for Shamrocks to beat them,” says John, who plays with the Naomh Fionnbarra club in midLouth and has played senior for the Wee County in the past. John has enjoyed the recent rivalry between Louth and Westmeath. Since defeating them in the 2010 Leinster football semi-final, the Wee County had held the Indian sign over their midland rivals until Pat Flanagan’s men finally turned the tables in last year’s controversial All-Ireland qualifier at Cusack Park. “I think Louth and Westmeath are at a similar level. There has

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TURIN

I

n a year when James McGrath put the club on the map by refereeing the All-Ireland hurling final replay, Turin endured a dismal IHC campaign – something Alan Aughey is hoping to put right in the coming season. While the alarm bells aren’t ringing yet, they could well be if Turin aren’t among the semi-finalists in this year’s IHC. Turin may be one of Westmeath’s smallest clubs, but they have continually punched above their weight in the intermediate championship, contesting six semifinals and a final over the past dozen years. However, their absence from the business-end of the last two championships is a source of concern for everyone associated with the McCabe Park outfit. Last year, Turin didn’t even come close to reaching the semi-finals after they could only manage one victory in seven attempts. Worryingly, they were well beaten in three of their championship outings, but star player Alan Aughey isn’t reaching for the panic button just yet and is confident their luck will change in 2013. “It was a year to forget,” the forwardturned-centre back ruefully reflects. “Our aim at the start of every year is to reach the semi-finals, but we were a long way from achieving that last year. For Turin not to reach the semi-finals for two years running is very unusual. We need to step it up this year and I can see no reason why we can’t.”

Alan Aughey has been one of the outstanding forwards in the intermediate grade for a number of years now

TURIN EAGER TO TURN THINGS AROUND Aughey, who was a member of last year’s Westmeath senior hurling panel, expects Turin to be a totally proposition in the season ahead. His optimism is based on the return of key players from abroad, the emergence of new talent and the appointment of Noel Boyce as manager. “I’m really looking forward to the new campaign,” he says excitedly.

“Bryan Foley has returned from Australia, Kevin Gilroy is also on his way home and we hope to have Derek Hourihan back from England as well. Nigel Cully wasn’t able to play for medical reasons last year, but he should be available to us this year. “There has been great work put in at underage level under the chairmanship of Johnny Heffernan

The Turin squad beaten by Brownstown in the Division 3 final at Archerstown

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Neil McDermott shows a fine turn of pace against Raharney in the IHC

The Hard working Andy Corcoran wins another ball in the middle of the park

Trevor Hynes uses any means necessary to clear the sliotar

over the past few years, and that’s now beginning to pay off. Conor Cregg, Owen Aughey, Luke Tormey and Harry Dobson are good young hurlers who should come into the reckoning this year. We are very strong between the ages of U10 and U14 at the moment, and that can only bode well for the future.” The 31-year-old continues: “We are delighted to have Noel Boyce back as manager. He brought us to the final in 2009 when we were narrowly beaten by St. Brigid’s. He always told us that we were good enough to win an intermediate championship, and hopefully we’ll be able to prove that to him this year. Noel had a fantastic 2012 with the Westmeath camogie team and Crookedwood (who he guided to All-Ireland junior ‘A’ and intermediate hurling championship honours respectively), and here’s hoping 2013 will be just as successful for him.” Alan is at pains to point out that outgoing manager Jimmy O’Grady and his selectors Richie Heffernan and John Penrose spared no effort in their quest to bring success to McCabe Park last year. “It wasn’t Jimmy’s fault that we had such a poor year. He won intermediate championships with Delvin and Brownstown, and is a very good manager. It was always going to be difficult for him with the players we were missing. But at the end of the day, it’s up to the players and we know we didn’t perform like we can last year.” The tone for a disappointing IHC campaign was set when Turin lost their opening game to Brownstown at The Downs. Sean Scally and veteran Dickie Geoghegan both raised green flags in the first half, but the red and whites still trailed by 2-3 to 3-2 at the break. Brownstown had wind advantage for the second half and duly made it count by opening up a seven-point lead with five minutes remaining. However, they were left hanging on for a 3-11 to 4-5 victory after Andy Corcoran grabbed a late brace of goals for a never-say-die Turin. A 3-8 to 1-13 victory over Ringtown at Loughegar was the highlight of an otherwise winless campaign. Putting their first round defeat behind them, Turin laid the foundations for their success in the opening 30 minutes when goals from Ronan Leavy, Andy

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Kevin Doyle is closely marked

Aidan O’Neill gets the sliotar under control

The experienced Barry Nea keeps his eye on proceedings


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Gerry Rodgerson is first to the sliotar

Eoin Ward juggles the sliotar and his hurl at the same time

referee for the All-Ireland hurling final Corcoran (free) and Andy Creevy helped them to a commanding 3-5 to replay between Kilkenny and Galway 1-2 interval lead. Ringtown roared at the end of September. James has back in the second half to reduce the served a number of roles in the north deficit to the minimum before Ronan Westmeath club, despite being an Leavy’s 58th minute point handed inter-county referee since his early Turin a dramatic win. twenties. Turin were expected to kick on from His first major refereeing assignment there, but a shock 0-7 to 0-9 defeat to was the 2006 Christy Ring Cup final Cullion had disastrous consequences. between Antrim and Carlow. The The Reds held a slender 0-5 to 0-4 following year, the 35-year-old lead at half-time, but could only Castlepollard Community School vicemanage two more points after the principal was the ‘man in the middle’ restart as Cullion battled back to take for the All-Ireland SHC quarter-final the derby spoils. between Wexford and Tipperary. “We were too cocky,” Aughey Along with his umpires Tom remembers. “We had beaten Cullion McNicholas, David Hennessy, Johnny easily in previous years and expected Fitzpatrick (all Lough Lene Gaels) and to do so again. But they had other David Clune (Delvin), he has since ideas and our year went downhill after taken charge of virtually every major that.” fixture in hurling. Champions-elect Crookedwood In 2012 alone, he refereed the inflicted a crushing 2-6 to 3-27 defeat National League final between on Turin in their next game. They also Kilkenny and Cork, the Leinster SHC lost to Clonkill’s second team on a 0final between Galway and Kilkenny, 11 to 2-8 scoreline after Jack McGrath the All-Ireland final replay and the scored a last-gasp winning goal to Westmeath SHC final between give the green and golds the local Clonkill and Raharney. bragging rights. “It was a huge honour for our club Turin’s struggles continued against when James refereed the All-Ireland Fr. Dalton’s in their penultimate outing hurling final replay. He’s a former at Kinnegad which ended in a 0-7 to 2team-mate of mine and has always 15 defeat. After a competitive opening been a loyal clubman. It was surreal to 10 minutes, the winners gradually took hear the name ‘Turin’ being mentioned control and had established a 0-9 to 0during the All-Ireland final 4 lead by half-time. They extended commentary on telly. You could say their advantage on the restart before that he has put us on the map,” two goals of the soft variety from Sean Aughey concludes. Egan and Kieran Martin in the 41st The Turin team which defeated and 51st minutes ended the game as a contest. Ringtown in last year’s IHC was: A fifth straight defeat to Raharney (1John Gorman; Neil McDermott, 9 to 2-13) saw Turin’s championship Christy Doyle, Dickie Geoghegan; campaign end on a dismal note. Trevor Hynes, Alan Aughey, Gerry “We’ve a massive amount of Rogerson; Sean Scally, Andy improving to do, but the hurling is in us Corcoran; Ray Aughey, Aidan O’Neill, and hopefully Noel Boyce will be able Barry Nea; Andy Creevy, Ronan to get it out of us. We’re a small club Leavy, Eoin Ward. with 25 honest lads who always go out with the intention of giving it our best. We feel we have just BEST WISHES TO TURIN GAA IN 2013 as good a chance as anyone in this LAWNMOWERS y e a r ’ s GARDEN MACHINERY intermediate CHAINSAWS championship.” PROTECTIVE CLOTHING Undoubtedly the highlight of Turin’s Loughegar, Mullingar. year was James Tel: 044-9372447 M c G r a t h ’ s Mobile: 087-2316371 Email: info@doylelawnmowers.ie appointment as

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CORALSTOWN KINNEGAD

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ost newly-promoted clubs would be happy to consolidate their position in their new surroundings, but not Coralstown/Kinnegad who, as star forward Alan Giles explains, were bitterly disappointed not to reach the knockout stages of last year’s SFC. One thing Coralstown/Kinnegad can’t be accused of is lacking ambition. After bouncing straight back from their shock 2010 relegation to win the IFC 12 months later, Jack Cooney’s charges had no intention of making up the numbers in last year’s SFC. Their goal was to reach the knockout stages and to mount a strong challenge for outright honours. Everything seemed to be going according to plan when they chalked up three wins from their first four group matches. Avoid defeat in their final game against Castledaly and a quarter-final place would be theirs. But on a day they would rather forget, Coralstown/Kinnegad crashed to a 10-point defeat (0-4 to 1-11) and finished the game with just 13 players. “It was a real anti-climax,” centre forward Alan Giles concedes. “We didn’t perform when we needed to and that’s the bottom line. Castledaly were much hungrier and stronger so we can’t have any complaints. We also lost our

Jason Lynch has earned a reputation as a tight marking defender

CONSOLIDATION NOT ENOUGH FOR KINNEGAD discipline and that’s something we’ll need to work on for this year’s championship. “What made the defeat especially disappointing is that we produced our best performance of the year only the previous weekend against Tyrrellspass. We only needed a draw to progress, but we didn’t even come close to achieving that. People will

say we were unlucky to go out of the championship on six points, which I don’t think has ever happened before, but we knew what we had to do before we played Castledaly and just didn’t turn up.” Giles, who has been a member of Pat Flanagan’s county squad for the past couple of seasons, sresses that Coralstown/Kinnegad weren’t

The 2012 Division 2 league finalists. Front row l/r: Shane Murtagh, Dion McCaffrey, Jason Cully, Aaron Glynn, Ryan Caffrey, Clive Kiernan, Ronan Foley, Eamonn Fleming. Back row l/r: Ronan Doyle, Daniel Coyne, Andrew Cannon, David McNevin, Killian Foley, Stephen Bracken, Fergal Dardis, Enda Leonard, Ger Leech, Damien Molloy, Niall Kilmartin

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The 2012 under-16 finalists. Front row l/r: Thomas Stack, Ciaran Bracken, David Etcheri, Jamie Greville, Tadhg Flynn, Eoin O'Brien, Ryan Fox, Darren Leech, Shane Giles, Sean Sweeney. Mascots: Dan Leech and Shane Fleming. Back row l/r: Shea Murphy, Kyle Fox, Evan Toner, Dylan Cooney, Matthew Darcy, Conor Briscoe, Darren Giles, Jack Cully, John Fox, Trevor Connolly, Dylan Powell, Aaron Darcy

prepared to settle for anything less than progression to the knockout stages. “You could say that we did well to win three games in our first year back in the senior championship, but we’re more ambitious than that. We wanted to go as far as we could,” the young Dublin-based secondary schoolteacher continues. “We have a proud tradition in senior football and we wouldn’t fear any of the teams playing at that level. We have a great manager in Jack Cooney who has done it all as a player and knows what it takes to be successful. We had targeted qualification for the quarter-finals and

promotion from Division 2 of the league, so not to achieve either of those objectives was very disappointing.” Under the guidance of Cooney, whose selectors were Joe Giles, Niall Leydon and Joe O’Keeffe, Coralstown/Kinnegad marked their return to the top flight with a 1-11 to 04 drubbing of Bunbrosna in the opening round at Shandonagh. The victory was achieved, despite the fact that the red and whites were forced to play the entire second half with 14 players following Mark Gorman’s sending off just before the break. Alan Giles’ 25th minute goal helped Coralstown/Kinnegad to a 1-5 to 0-3

interval lead, and despite their numerical disadvantage, they outscored their north county opponents by 0-6 to 0-1 in the second period with Giles, Enda Leonard, Wayne Fox, Ger Leech and Eamon Fleming all contributing to the scoring. The 2011 intermediate champions made it two wins from two when they edged out Killucan by 0-10 to 1-5 in a typically hard-fought local derby clash which ended with both teams reduced to 14 men. Killucan dominated the early exchanges with Joey Boyle finding the net and Padraig Leavy and Alan Aughey raising white flags. But after Mark

The 2012 ladies Division 1 winners. Front row l/r: Danielle Kiernan, Emily Dardis, Amie Giles, Donna Kiernan, Ailenn Murtagh, Claire Farrell, Aine Brannock, Tally Flynn, Maud-Anne Foley, Fiona Kenny, Stacey Darby, Shauna Donoghue. Back row l/r: Kiddy Raleigh, Catherine Hanly, Mary Walsh, Ciara Brannock, Lisa Darby, Katie Murray, Lauren Creamer, Becky Carney, Shannon Lyons, Jo Raleigh, Tasha Brady, Maggie Keane, Shauna Leydon, Jane Leydon, Caroline O'Hara, Therese Walsh

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Dylan Cooney is one of the mainstays of the under-16 side

Ger Leech is the leader of the attack on this occasion

Ryan Caffrey brings the ball under control

Gorman finally opened Coralstown/Kinnegad’s account in the 19th minute, they began to find their range and went into the break on level terms, 0-6 to 1-3. The red and whites picked up from where they left off with Wayne Fox, Ger Leech and star defender Jason Lynch shooting three points in-a-row. Killucan got themselves back onto level terms before late scores from Fox and Leech saw Corlastown/Kinnegad over the line. Jack Cooney’s charges produced another strong showing against Garrycastle in their third outing at Cusack Park, but it wasn’t enough as the champions took the spoils on a 29 to 0-13 scoreline. After an evenlycontested opening half, Garrycastle looked to have taken a firm grip on proceedings when Neal Rattigan and substitute Eoin Monaghan raised green flags in the 36th and 46th minutes to open up a 2-8 to 0-9. To their credit, though, Coralstown/Kinnegad refused to throw in the towel and a late rally, which yielded scores from Alan Giles and Ger Leech, left the All-Ireland finalists relieved to hear the final whistle. The Meath-border club got back to winning ways with a superb 3-8 to 28 victory over Tyrrellspass. Enda Leonard and Ryan Caffrey bagged first half goals to give Coralstown/Kinnegad a four-point cushion, 2-4 to 1-3, at the halfway stage. A Martin Flanagan major brought Tyrrellspass back into it after Joe Cronley had saved a David Glennon penalty, and then Ger Egan gave them the lead for the first time. But within seconds of his introduction, Alan Giles had the ball in the Tyrrellspass net and Coralstown/Kinnegad kicked on from there to secure what would have been regarded by many as a surprise victory. A draw or a win was all that Coralstown/Kinnegad needed against Castledaly in their final group match at rain-soaked Cusack Park but, much to the disappointment of their supporters, they failed to function and were decisively beaten by opponents who progressed to the

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Adam Browne evades this tackle against Bunbrosna in the SFC

Ronan Foley’s performances have earned him a call up to the county senior squad

Alan Giles is one of the most gifted forwards in the county


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The 2012 ladies senior finalists. Front row l/r: Sharon Raleigh, Kayleigh Woods, Lauren Creamer, Jane Leydon, Maud-Anne Foley, Claire Farrell, Jo Raleigh, Shannon Lyons, Stacey Darby, Aine Brannock, Nuala Farrell, Donna Kiernan, Mary Walsh, Emily Dardis, Becky Carney, Grainne Lynch, Yvonne Dixon. Back row l/r: Catherine Hanly, Ailenn Murtagh, Agatha Etcheri, Amie Giles, Maggie Keane, Tally Flynn, Niamh O'Reilly, Leanne Quinn, Tasha Brady, Ciara Brannock, Lisa Darby, Marie Monaghan, Fiona Kenny, Michelle Murtagh, Louise Darby, Caroline O'Hara, Katie Murray, Sarah Brannock, Kiddy Raleigh, Danielle Kiernan, Therese Walsh

quarter-finals instead. Castledaly dominated from the off and led by 07 to 0-2 at half-time. Coralstown/Kinnegad’s fate was sealed when Niall Duffy scored the only goal in the 51st minute, and their misery was compounded by the dismissals of Ger Leech and Wayne Fox. “Our aim for this year is to build on last year’s progress and to qualify for the knockout stages. It’s a long time since we featured at the businessend of the championship, so we want to put that right,” says Alan, who has the same eye for goal as his famous father Larry had back in the 1980s and 1990s. The U16s, who were managed by

Mick ‘Skinny’ Fox, Darrach Fleming, Chris Cole and Danny Mooney, were Coralstown/Kinnegad’s top performing underage team in 2012. They won a league title, but had to settle for second best against Athlone in an ill-tempered championship final, which was played as the curtainraiser to the SFC final replay between Mullingar Shamrocks and Garrycastle at Cusack Park. Coralstown/Kinnegad is regarded as one of the strongest ladies football clubs in the county and the highlights from last year were the senior side’s capture of the league title and the U12s’ championship final victory over Athlone. The seniors reached the county final, only to lose to

Garrycastle by 0-8 to 1-10, but they avenged that result a few weeks later when they overcame their Athlonebased rivals by 2-9 to 3-1 in the league decider at Lakepoint Park. Another highlight from 2012 was the achievement of rising stars Ger Leech and Ryan Caffrey in winning Hogan Cup medals with St. Mary’s, Edenderry. The historic success was masterminded by Kinnegad brothers Emmet and Gordon McDonnell, who have since been appointed Offaly senior football manager and selector respectively. The Coralstown/Kinnegad team which faced Castledaly in last year’s crunch SFC game was: Joe Cronley; Jason Lynch, Killian Foley,

The under-14 Division 3 league finalists. Front row l/r: Gerry Browne, Kevin Giles, David Giles, Neil Carthy, Shaun Moran, Ciarán Collins, Adam Woods, Sean Donegan, Declan Leech, Eoghan Bracken, Shane Fleming, Niall Leydon Mascots: Dan Leech, Eamonn Leech. Back row l/r: Jim Rock, Carl Briscoe, Ronan Burke, Ian Daly, Kevin Okahawe, Michael Browne, Kevin Kilbane, Cian Flood, Kevin McEwan, James Maxwell, Patrick Leydon, Shane McDonagh, John Fleming

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Summer camps

David McNevin; Wayne Fox, Ronan Foley, Luke Corless; Stephen Bracken, Fergal Dardis; Niall Kilmartin, Adam Browne, Ryan Caffrey; Ger Leech, Enda Leonard, Mark Gorman. Subs used: Alan Giles, Ronan Doyle, David Flynn and Clive Kiernan. Coralstown/Kinnegad’s U16 championship finalists were: Connor Briscoe; David Etcheri, Tadhg Flynn, Matthew Darcy; Dylan Powell, Ryan Fox, Darren Leech; Jack Cully, Darren Giles; Kyle Fox, Jamie Greville, Evan Toner; Shane Giles, Dylan Cooney, Sean Sweeney. Subs used: Shea Murphy and Eoin O’Brien. The Coralstown/Kinnegad ladies team which captured the senior league title was: Josephine Raleigh; Ciara Brannock, Amy Giles, Aine Brannock; Natasha Brady, Donna Kiernan, Claire Farrell; Maud

Annie Foley (captain), Caroline O’Hara; Mary Walsh, Tally Flynn, Becky Kearney; Shannon Lyons, Lisa Darby, Emily Dardis. Subs used: Aileen Murtagh, Janie Leydon and Maggie Keane. The U12 girls team that defeated Athlone by 1-5 to 0-3 in their county final at Milltown was: Gemma Mulligan; Shauna Leydon, Susan Glennon, Kathleen Aryio; Ella Cooney, Aileen Brannock, Sinead Murtagh; Maeve Walsh, Jordan O’Connor; Susan Glennon, Hannah Quinn, Sarah Gorry; Michaela Kiernan, Ciara Geoghegan, Rebecca Kiernan. Subs: Abbie Caffrey, Victoria McGarry, Caoimhe Ryan, Niamh O’Toole, Naomi Okechukw, Gloria Odunjo, Lucy Cassidy, Chloe Dalton, Una Gallagher, Emma Kiernan, Jessica Kiernan, Denise Farrell, Aoibhinn McDonnell, Nikita Macari, Rebecca May, Leah Rowan and Emma Coloe.

Ger Leech wins this race for the ball

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MULTYFARNHAM

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f there was an award for the most improved team in the county in 2012, Multyfarnham would have won it hands down. Their junior team’s dramatic change in fortunes, allied to their continued success at underage level, marks Multy out as a club with a bright future. Multyfarnham’s remarkable progress under Shandonagh’s John Gordon last year was perhaps best illustrated by their 1-7 to 0-10 draw with Kilbeggan Shamrocks – a team that had trounced them by 8-23 to 04 in the corresponding championship fixture just 10 months earlier. Multy didn’t win last year’s junior championship, but their dramatic improvement was as much a talking point as Kilbeggan’s victory over Mullingar Shamrocks in the final. If they can show similar improvement in 2013, there is every chance they could be lifting the Hugh Daniels Cup come next October. And who would have thought that was possible a year ago! “We’re still behind Moate, Milltown and possibly St. Joseph’s,” insists Gordon, who is clearly eager to play down his side’s chances in the forthcoming championship. “We had a very good year last year and our aim is to keep developing as a team. We reached the quarter-final so our goal for this year has to be to

Emmet Feerick does his best to shrug off this tackle

MULTY’S DRAMATIC IMPROVEMENT reach the semi-final. If we could achieve that, it would be another step in the right direction.” John, whose selectors last year were John Nugent and John Moran, claims it wasn’t that difficult to turn Multy’s fortunes around. A vibrant underage structure, coupled with an eagerness on the part of the players and club committee to do well, made his job surprisingly easy, in fact.

“I knew before I went in there that they were a very progressive club,” says the newly-appointed Milltown National School principal. “They had an excellent underage structure as well as a top-class Community Centre and facilities. Like a lot of small, rural communities, they were looking for success and that is what my selectors and I tried to bring to them.

The 2012 junior squad. Front row l/r: Danny Newman, Robbie Gilligan, Stephen Moran, Emmet Feerick, Ciaran McCabe, Mark Fallon, Ger Feerick, Thomas Brennan, Michael McDonnell, James Keary, Jason Tighe. Back row l/r: John Gordon (mentor), Paddy Wallace, Rory Boyce, Aaron Nolan, Gary Guilfoyle, Max Brady, Brian McLoughlin, Henry Reilly, Jimmy Corcoran, Gary Guilfoyle, Paul Smith, Martin Fitzpatrick, David Wallace, Paul Moran, Keith Tighe, Noel Kiernan, Enda Carter

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The 2012 under-16 championship winning side. Front row l/r: Rory Boyce [mentor] Peter Murtagh, Eoghan Weir, Mark Reynolds, Colm Hogan, Oisin Dolan, Robbie Gillan, Adam Loughrey, Ronan Wallace. Back row l/r: Peter Murtagh [mentor], James Green, Stephen Donohue, Ciaran Mc Govern, Robert Lohan, Tommy Tighe, Craig Sweeney, Daniel Loughrey[capt], Ian McGovern, Henrich Von Bueanu, Darragh O Connor, Keith Reid, Gary Loughrey [mentor]. (Missing from photo - Paddy Mooney, Ryan Fulham)

“From the very beginning, we got full cooperation from the players and they were the reason why we had such a good year. They are an honourable group of lads who did whatever we asked them to do, and I’m looking forward to working with them again in the coming year. The chairman Pat Wallace and the other officials were also a pleasure to deal with. Multy have put a huge amount of work into their underage over the past 10 years and it’s beginning to bear fruit at adult level now.” Gordon, who served as a Westmeath minor selector under Ger Heavin in 2009, says his biggest challenge was to instil belief in the players. “Like all teams who have been down for a few years, the players were lacking a bit of self-belief and that is something we worked hard on to try to rectify. We also tried to bring a level of professionalism to the club which they were happy to buy into,”

he recalls. Boosted by Noel Kiernan’s transfer from neighbours Bunbrosna, Multy opened their junior championship campaign with a 4-7 to 2-5 victory over Delvin. They accounted for

Ballycomoyle by 0-18 to 1-4 in their second outing before drawing with both St. Joseph’s (1-6 to 0-9) and Kilbeggan Shamrocks (1-7 to 0-10). The latter result reflected the huge progress Multy had made since they

The 2012 minor panel. Front row l/r: Anthony McGivney, Stephen Donohoe, Oisin Dolan, Eoghan Weir, Paul Brannigan, Peter McKnight, Robbie Glynn, Joseph Monaghan. Back row l/r: Craig Sweeney, Henrich Von Bueanu, Ciaran Madden, Darren Aughey, Scott Hynes, Adam O’Keeffe, Daniel Loughrey, Ian McGovern, Anthony Kelly

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Daniel Loughrey gets his hands on the under-14 Shield

Peter Murtagh is an exceptional talent

Colm Hogan heads towards goal during the under-14 final

suffered a humiliating 43-point defeat to the same opponents in August 2011. Indeed, Multy would have pulled off a sensational victory had Emmett Feerick’s last-gasp free not drifted wide of the target. There was little or nothing to separate the sides until Kilbeggan opened up a two-point lead in the 48th minute, but a well-taken Mark Kane goal edged Multy in front and they were on the cusp of a famous win until John Brennan kicked a late equalising free for the championselect. Multy maintained their unbeaten record thanks to a 0-11 to 0-6 victory over Loughnavalley in their next assignment at Rosemount. Loughnavalley trailed by just a point, 0-6 to 0-7, midway through the second half, but failed to score again as the team in maroon pulled clear with points from Gerard Feerick, Noel Kiernan, substitute Johnny Orme and Antony McGivney. John Gordon’s charges further underlined their title credentials by registering a 0-13 to 0-9 victory over 2011 finalists St. Paul’s at Springfield. The Clonmellon men led by 0-7 to 04 at the break, but favoured by the breeze in the second half, Multy fought back to win thanks to scores from Mark Kane, Chris Cannon, Noel Kiernan, James Keary and Rory Boyce. Multy suffered their first defeat in seven games when they succumbed to perennial junior contenders Milltown by 1-8 to 1-11 in Rosemount. They also went down to Moate AllWhites by 0-6 to 2-11 in their final group match which was played in dreadful conditions in Ballinagore, but still progressed to a quarter-final meeting with Mullingar Shamrocks at The Downs on September 8. The men from the shores of Lough Derravaragh had high hopes of upsetting the town side’s talented second string and they looked to be well on their way to doing so when Max Brady netted on the stroke of half-time to give them a 1-4 to 0-2 lead. In a hugely disappointing second half performance, however, they could only manage two further points as Shamrocks turned the

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The youthful Adam Loughrey is a real star of the future

Stephen Moran is one of the tightest marking defenders

Leo Blake commands the centre half back position


The 2012 under-14 Shiel winners. Front row l/r: Karl Peyton, Paddy Power, Jack Moran, Jamie Coffey, Michael Moran, Robbie Connolly, Noel Bardon, Lee Mulligan, Eoghan Kelly. Back row l/r: Tommy Tighe [mentor],Dylan Wright, Tommy Greville, Darragh O'Connor, Tomas McGivney [Capt], Mark Finnerty, Adam Loughrey, Mark Menton, Stephen Sweeney, Lawrence Monaghan, Keith Tighe [mentor]. Missing from photo Rian Kelleher, Chris Feerick, Ciaran Bawle, Emmett Hope, Sean Rock, Andrew Hogan, Brendan McCarty, & Jason Tighe [mentor]

game on its head to run out 1-14 to 16 winners. “I don’t think it’s fair that the second teams of the strong senior clubs are allowed to compete in the junior championship. They have an unfair advantage in that they are training with top-quality senior players and are also able to call on players who have senior experience. This can be very demoralising for junior clubs,” contends John, who also succeeded in keeping Multy in Division 3 of the All-County League by virtue of a dramatic 2-10 to 1-12 victory over intermediate outfit, Ballinagore. “It came down to the last game against Ballinagore. It was a big relegation battle which went down to the wire. The determination and resolve the lads showed in that game really impressed me. It was very important that we stayed in Division 3 because you’re getting games against intermediate clubs that can only bring you on.” 2012 was another successful year at underage level for Multyfarnham who once again fielded teams in every grade from U8 upwards. The U10s won the inaugural Matt Slevin tournament in Ballynacargy, the U14s won a league title under the tutelage of Tommy Tighe and his sons Keith and Jason, but the highlight was the league and championship double achieved by the U16s, who were managed by Rory Boyce, Gary

Loughrey and Peter Murtagh. In the U16 Division 3 (13-a-side) championship final at Cusack in early November, Multy withstood a fierce St. Paul’s/Delvin fightback to win by 4-8 to 4-4. The maroon and whites looked to have one hand on the silverware when a brace of Keith Reid goals and another from Peter Murtagh jnr propelled them into a 3-5 to 1-2 half-time lead. However, the north Westmeath combination team stormed back into contention in the second half, outscoring Multy by 3-1 to 0-1 in the third quarter to draw level by the 46th minute. Crucially, Multy never lost the lead and they quickly responded with a Colm Hogan goal, which was followed by the insurance point from Daniel Loughrey. In conclusion, John Gordon stresses Multy have no intention of resting on their laurels. “We’ve come a long way in the past year, and that’s down to the commitment and dedication of the players. You have to be realistic when you’re setting targets for yourself – otherwise the players won’t buy into them. Our policy is to set small targets, try to achieve them and then move on to the next ones. This has served us well so far and hopefully will do so again in 2013.” Multyfarnham lined out as follows in their JFC quarter-final against Mullingar Shamrocks:

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Kieran McCabe; Stephen Moran, Henry Reilly, Brian McLoughlin; Rory Boyce, Leo Blake, Paul Smith; Jimmy Corcoran, Enda Carter; Noel Kiernan, Chris Cannon, Ger Feerick; Emmett Feerick, Max Brady, James Keary. Subs used: Mark Kane, Robert Gilligan and Gary Loughrey. Multyfarnham’s U16 Division 3 champions: Craig Sweeney; Darragh O’Connor, Ronan Wallace; Ciaran McGovern, Ian McGovern, James Greene; Robbie Gillen, Daniel Loughrey; Mark Reynolds, Colm Hogan, Peter Murtagh; Adam Loughrey, Keith Reid. Subs used: Stephen Donoghue, Oisin Dolan, Eoin Weir and Tommy Tighe.

The powerful Michael McDonnell launches the ball forward


SPECIAL FEATURE The M6 Service Centre came under the Centra umbrella in August 2011

M6 SERVICE CENTRE BRIGHTENS UP YOUR DAY

T

he M6 Service Centre on Kilbeggan’s Tullamore Road has been a great addition to the south Westmeath town since its rebranding in August 2011. Ronan McCarthy, who co-manages the busy Centra store and Topaz filling station, explains more. When first cousins and business partners Ronan McCarthy and Pat Rowan decided to give their small convenience shop and service station in Kilbeggan a complete makeover less than two years ago, they could scarcely have imagined the success it would become. Seeing the potential their business had, they brought two of Ireland’s leading brands – Centra and Topaz – on board. The old convenience shop was levelled to make way for a bigger and better forecourt and fuel area. The most significant change, however, was the conversion of a disused car showroom and garage to the back of

the site into a large Centra convenience store. Open 24/7, the M6 Service Centre has become an invaluable source to not only the locals, but also to the thousands of motorists who travel on the nearby M6 Dublin-Galway motorway every day. Renowned for its sumptuous selection of fresh foods, exceptional grocery service, friendly staff, delicious hot food, quality fuel, large car parking area and value-formoney, the M6 Service Centre is something the people of Kilbeggan can rightly feel proud of. “We first opened in May 2008,” Ronan recalls. “People were saying that the motorway would have an adverse effect on business in Kilbeggan; that we would lose the passing trade. But Pat and I knew that if we could provide the short of service that they were looking for, we could attract them off the motorway and that’s how it has turned out. We have also got fantastic

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support from local people for which we are extremely grateful. “We’re on the N52 route which extends from the border near Dundalk to the Mid-West and we also cater for customers who travel cross-country from Longford to Tullamore. So our customers are from all over Ireland really.” Ronan is also grateful to the Lambe brothers, Davy and Carthage, who he and Pat lease the premises from. “They ran a Mazda car dealership and filling station from this site for many years before relocating to Tullamore. We wouldn’t have been able to carry out the improvements we have without their support and backing,” he explains. The M6 Service Centre has grown to employ 26 staff (both full-time and part-time), all of whom are from the local area. Explaining the reason for opening 24 hours-a-day, Ronan says: “Originally, our opening hours were from 5am to 11pm, so we were only


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The award-winning deli counter at the M6 Service Centre

closed for six hours a day. It wasn’t a big deal for us to extend our opening hours and we were also saving on security costs by staying open 24 hours.” While there is always a steady stream of customers, the M6 Service Centre really comes alive before work and school in the morning, and during lunch hours, when the hungry punters descend on the store’s award-winning deli counter where they can avail of a wide selection of tasty warm and cold snacks and meals. Breakfasts, sandwiches, wraps, salads, cooked meats, freshly-prepared hot dinners are all readily available in a matter of minutes. Open from 5.30am to 8pm most days, the deli is manned by a qualified chef and friendly, helpful staff. While most of the deli’s customers eat on the go, there is a large seated eating area available for those who have some time on their hands. The M6 Service Centre is a veritable one-stop shop for all your grocery needs, incorporating all the departments one associates with convenient and stress-free shopping. Everything from hot coffee, ice-cream, newspapers and magazines to flowers, fresh meats, greeting cards, gas, briquettes and coal are available to buy. There is an in-store ATM

machine and bakery, while the store is a National Lottery agent and also provides PostPoint and Payzone services which allow you to pay your TV licences etc. The M6 Service Centre has gone from strength to strength since coming under the Centra umbrella in August 2011. By shopping at Centra, you save time, money and are supporting Irish jobs and produce. You are also indirectly supporting the GAA as Centra is a title sponsor of the AllIreland hurling championship. During the summer, tickets for the big championship games and official GAA merchandise can be purchased from Centra’s Kilbeggan outlet. “We are proud to be associated with the GAA,” says Ronan, whose late father Michael played hurling for Crookedwood and Westmeath.

“Many of our customers are GAA supporters and we were delighted to help out the local club (Kilbeggan Shamrocks) when they won the junior football championship last year. There was a terrific atmosphere in the town before and after the county final against Mullingar Shamrocks. It was nice to be able to give something back to them because they give us a lot of support and business throughout the year.” He continues: “One of the advantages of being a Centra store is that they have different promotions every week which are geared towards families. These ‘Deal of the Week’ promotions are very successful as you could imagine. As a Centra store, we’re able to offer a better service and value-for-money.” Incidentally, Centra stock the only GAA/GPA approved gum shield which is now mandatory for all football players up to the minor level. The gum shields retail at €7. The M6 Service Centre is also proud to be part of the Topaz network of service stations. Topaz is the largest fuels supplier in the country and is renowned for its 100 per cent ‘clean fuel’, which is tested every two months in conjunction with AA Ireland. Studies have found that a full tank of Topaz fuel will take you up to 24km further than standard fuels, which means your money goes further. The M6 Service Centre accepts all major fuel cards, including its own Topaz brand. The Kilbeggan establishment offers a wide range of forecourt services, including an attended carwash from Wednesdays through to Sundays. Ronan hails from Mullingar, but has strong family connections in Kilbeggan.

The Kilbeggan store is open 24/7

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CASTLETOWN GEOGHEGAN

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n recent years Castletown Geoghegan have had phenomenal success at underage level and many feel that it is only a matter of time before they add a twelfth senior hurling title to their roll of honour. However, in 2013 it will be nine years since the black and ambers lifted the Westmeath Examiner Cup. Two county final defeats have followed in the intervening years, but there is a genuine belief in the club that the latest batch of hurlers to come out of the area can end that barren spell. In 2011, Castletown reached the county final where they were unlucky to lose out to Clonkill in the decider. Big things were expected in this year's campaign, but hurling can be a tough sport and you don't always get what you want! There is no question about the talent of the current Castletown squad and if anyone wants to gauge just how good they are, all they have to do is look at the number of players that are included in the county squad at the moment. One of those players is goalkeeper Paddy Maloney who speaks to the Maroon and White about their chances of glory in the 2013 campaign. At 25-years-old, Paddy is one of the more experienced players in the Castletown squad and he admits that

James Birmingham, Captain of the Premier U-14 Champions hoists the cup into the air

MOLONEY’S QUEST he is left bitterly disappointed by their exit at the hands of Clonkill in last year's semi-final after they cruised through to the last four. Placed in a group alongside Lough Lene Gaels, Delvin and Castlepollard, the men from Castletown were tipped to come through as group winners and the

duly obliged with the minimum of fuss. “I felt that we had an even stronger team in the championship from the previous year. It is a very young team and apart from the likes of Derek Gallagher, most of the lads are in their early 20's and younger,” said Paddy.

Castletown Geoghegan, senior hurling team. Front row l/r: Alan Gallagher, Dereck Gallagher, Liam Varley, David Fennell, Eamon Óg Clarke, Paddy Maloney (captain), Neal Kirby, Alan Mangan, Owen Quinn, Darren Ruane, Colin O'Brien, Dermot Garvin, Joe Clarke. Back row l/r: Niall Kelly, Pat Clarke, Blaine LeHarte, Kieran Glennon, Emmet Dalton, Paul Fennell, David Lynch, Niall O'Brien, Aonghus Clarke, Ronan Whelan, Conor Keegan, David Langan, Alan Geraghty, Robert Burge

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U-14 Premier Hurling Champions. Front row l/r: Padraig Nester, Cormac Jackson, Eoin Jackson, Oisín Donoghue, Robbie Keegan, Stephen Clarke, Owen Deegan, Padraig Keane, Plunkett Maxwell, Ciarán O'Brien, Glen Bolger. Back row l/r: Adam Gavigan, James Cassidy, Conor Bulger, Naoise McKenna, Keenan Carroll, Eoin Nally, David Boyne, Ben Glennon, James Birmingham (captain), James Murphy, Shane Meehan, Paul O'Sullivan, Fiachra Heeney

U-16 Hurling team for 2012. Front row l/r: Dan Glennon, Alan Kincade, Cormac Deegan, Paddy Doody, James Birmingham, Brendan Heeney, Eoin Mullarkey, Liam Cassidy, Conor Kane. Back row l/r: Eoin Nally, James Fox, Andrew Corbe