Changing of the guard: Dessie Dolan (right), seen here celebrating Westmeath’s Tailteann Cup win in July, is set to succeed Jack Cooney (left) as Westmeath senior football manager. Photo: INPHO/Ryan Byrne

BREAKING: Dolan poised to succeed Jack Cooney as Westmeath manager

Former Westmeath forward and 2004 Leinster SFC medallist, Dessie Dolan, is expected to be ratified as the Lake County’s new senior football manager tonight.

From a continuity point of view, Dolan – who served as a selector during Jack Cooney’s tenure as manager – is seen as the right man to take Westmeath forward. John Keane, who also served in the Cooney setup, will remain as a coach alongside the Garrycastle man.

Both Dolan and Keane will be proposed to Westmeath GAA county committee delegates in the Bloomfield House Hotel tonight (8.15pm).

Former Garrycastle boss Anthony Cunningham had been linked with the role, but at the county board’s most recent meeting, some delegates had hinted that a Dolan/Keane partnership might be the best formula for maintaining the spirit inculcated by Cooney en route to the Tailteann Cup win in July.

The target for Dolan in 2023 will be promotion to Division 2 of the NFL and to maintain the county’s place in the Sam Maguire Cup reckoning.

It is understood that there will be little change to the backroom team assembled by Cooney, with one new coach to be appointed following Dolan’s step-up to the role as manager.

Dolan, arguably the greatest forward ever to put on a Westmeath jersey, has All-Ireland U21 and Leinster SFC medals for Westmeath and was awarded an All Star in 2004. He also won a Leinster Club SFC medal with Garrycastle, and eight Westmeath SFC medals.

A frequent contributor to RTÉ GAA punditry, Dolan was Westmeath’s all-time top championship scorer until recently overtaken by John Heslin.

Rosemount clubman John Keane, meanwhile, is Westmeath’s only two-time All Star (2004 and 2008), and a member of the Lake County’s Delaney Cup-winning side in 2004. He is widely regarded as one of the Lake County’s greatest defenders.