Former Westmeath senior footballer, Alan Mangan and current panellist Daniel McDermott, in the ring for the recent Fight Fest night. Photo: John McCauley
The recent 'Fight Fest' night in aid of Westmeath's inter-county football setup raised just under 25,000, last Wednesday night's football board meeting at Cusack Park revealed.
The white collar boxing extravaganza, held in February, saw footballers from across the county jump into the ring at the Mullingar Park Hotel, to raise funds for Westmeath's senior and U21 football panels ahead of the 2012 league and championship campaigns.
Football board chairman, Liam Gavin, said that with all overheads from the night covered, the footballers made some 24,000, with some monies yet to come in.
He paid tribute to the event's chief sponsor, the St Francis Health Village, Ballinderry, Mullingar, and other sponsors; in particular, he was keen to highlight the contribution of the boxers.
"It was unbelievable, the work they did, from the gym and the training to collecting the money," Mr Gavin said.
"The reception we got from people in hard times was amazing. I don't think I had one person who refused [support], and I don't think any of the rest of the lads on the committee were refused either.
"They [the players] have put in a huge effort, and it has had a huge bonding effect with them."
Without going into any specifics, the chairman lambasted what he perceived as harsh criticism of the footballers' performances on the field this year.
"I know we've only won the one game, and we were in hard luck not to beat Louth in my opinion, but the effort that's going in is huge," Mr Gavin said.
"They're out there three or four nights a week, and the same with the U21 lads. We are rebuilding, and people will just have to have patience and wait until these lads come through.
"I hate to pick up the papers and see people running them down, and I think it's very unfair. The players feel it, and a couple of the players have come to me saying: 'Look it, we're putting in a huge effort; why are people running us down?'
"I would have to agree with them. They're working hard as any group of players I've ever seen, so I think we should be praising them and not giving out about them."
Mr Gavin's comments came after a debate at a county board meeting last month, in which a delegate fiercely criticised the county's senior football setup, drawing the eyes of the national media to a perceived 'crisis' in Westmeath - publicity duly answered by the Lake County's outstanding league win over Monaghan on Sunday (see our coverage on page 23).
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|Date:||Wednesday, May 22, 2013 at 1:01:55 AM|