Westmeath's Sam McCartan in action against Fermanagh's Aidan Breen last Saturday.

Concern as footballers fail to earn promotion

Westmeath County Committee Meeting

Concern was expressed at last night’s County Committee meeting as to the poor run of results by the county’s senior football side in Division 3 of the National Football League. County Committee Chairman Frank Mescall described their league performances as patchy.

Westmeath managed wins over Offaly, Longford and Antrim, but it wasn’t enough to challenge for promotion and they are out of contention before the last round of games next weekend. Defeats by Down, Fermanagh and Cavan have left Dessie Dolan’s charges licking their wounds and they will play their league football in the third tier once again next season.

Michael Mannion, Football Committee Chairman, said the game against Down had “got away” from Westmeath in the last 20 minutes, before they enjoyed a good win against Antrim in TEG Cusack Park. While the results have been poor, he noted that a number of young players have gained senior experience.

“Our final game against Fermanagh was probably our worst performance so far. We have one game left, against Tipperary, but we are playing Division 3 next year. One positive is that the management have brought on a few good young players who have been added to the panel this year,” he remarked.

He praised the under 20 football side for their performance and victory over Kildare last Tuesday evening. Kildare were losing All-Ireland finalists last year, beaten by Tyrone, he noted.

Frank Mescall said it’s disappointing that the senior footballers have failed to make progress in this year’s league.

“It’s disappointing that we’re not going to get promoted - there’s no point saying otherwise. It is a huge disappointment. We’re in, somewhere around, 19th position in the country - we’re not in the top 16. So, that is disappointing and Michael mentioned the Down game - I really don’t know how we lost it.

“The Fermanagh game - I don’t know how we came within a point of them, because they were six/seven points a better team than us, in reality. So, our performances have been patchy; that’s what I’d describe them as.”

Milltown’s Paddy Gavigan queried why the Westmeath versus Louth game is not in TEG Cusack Park.

“It’s the same as the hurling - we never had a home venue,” remarked Mr Mescall. “All the hurling people assumed we had a home venue as well (Westmeath versus Laois), but it was never the case. It’s neutral and you’d imagine that it will be in Navan.”

Meanwhile, Mr Mescall praised the Westmeath senior hurlers for their efforts in Division 1A of the league, against the leading sides in the country.

“The hurlers are up against it, but it’s where they want to be. Everything is geared towards surviving in this last game. They are gearing themselves for a big performance,” he remarked.