The joint captains of the Westmeath U16 hurling team Paddy McCabe and Cian O'Meara pictured with Sligo captain Ryan O'Donnell and referee Martin Cleary before their Celtic Cup tie at St Loman's GAA Grounds on Saturday.

Sligo defeat unlucky U16 side in Celtic Challenge hurling

Westmeath U16 hurlers opened their Celtic Challenge campaign at home to Sligo last Saturday at St Loman's astroturf. As this was the Sligo minor team, the Westmeath lads were giving up a year to their opponents and were unlucky to lose by 1-8 to 0-10.

A tight first quarter saw the away side lead by 0-3 to 0-2 and Sligo had extended the lead to three (0-7 to 0-4) by the interval. With the wind in their favour, Westmeath closed the gap and drew level by the 47th minute, 0-7 apiece. Two further points pushed the home side in front but Sligo struck for a goal in the 56th minute to regain the lead. Westmeath drew level once again but a late injury time free saw the Yeats County over the line.

In difficult weather conditions, the Westmeath players stood up well to the physicality of the game, particularly given the age difference of many players. Next up is a home game with Donegal on Saturday April 20. Please check the county social media channels for full details of the fixture.

Squad: Oran Smith (Raharney), Paddy McCabe (Clan na Gael), Cillian Walsh (St Oliver Plunkett's), Sean Flynn (Clonkill), Adam Walsh (Cullion), Conor Walsh (St Oliver Plunkett's), James Ryan (St Vincent's), Ronan Lawlor (Raharney), Sean Byrne (St Oliver Plunkett's), Jack Duignan (Raharney), Cian O'Mara (St Vincent's), Eanna Kiernan (Clan na Gael), Mikey Devine (Castletown-Geoghegan), Eoin McGrath (Na Piarsaigh), Liam Heffernan (Na Piarsaigh), Austin O'Grady (St Vincents), Brian O'Rourke (Na Piarsaigh), Tommy Smyth (Raharney), Ruairi Keogh (St Brigid's), Gearoid McCabe (Clan na Gael), Michael Fry (St Oliver Plunkett's), Cormac Murphy (Clonkill), Aaron Hardiman (Southern Gaels), Jack Whyte (Fr Dalton's), Caylyb Douglas (Delvin), Oisin O'Donoghue (Southern Gaels).

U14 Football Development Squad

Saturday was a big occasion as 46 players got to don the Westmeath jersey for the first time. The squad travelled to Portlaoise, with two teams facing two teams from Laois. Two competitive outings ensued with both Westmeath sides coming out on top. Well done to all these youngsters on what will hopefully be the first of many outings for them in the maroon and white.

Development squad launch night

Westmeath GAA will officially launch all development squads for 2024 on Thursday evening (April 18) in TUS Athlone. Once again, MJS Building and Development New York have generously sponsored the gear for all squads, with KC Sports providing the attire. No doubt, the players will be delighted to get their new gear and on the evening, there will also be a presentation to explain how the development squad structure is working. The event will take place in the Count John McCormack Hall in TUS Athlone, with a starting time of 7.45pm.

Coach education

The Award One Dual Course continues on Wednesday April 17 with Tomas Mount doing an online session with the coaches on Playing Facts and Psychological Focus. The Introduction to Gaelic Games Course finished on Monday night in Rosemount. Thanks to Alan Mullen for organising, to Rosemount for hosting, and well done to all the coaches who completed the course.

Coaching Officer seminar

Westmeath Coaching and Games will host a Club Coaching Officer Seminar on Thursday April 25 in Clonkill. The event will be open to all coaching officers in the county and will inform them on how they can perform their role.

Primary school teacher summer courses

Westmeath are one of seven counties that have signed up to offer primary teacher summer courses in Leading Gaelic Games in Primary Schools. The course sign up opened on Monday as part of the Education Centre programme for primary teachers and is open to all primary teachers in the county.