An A-Z of sport in 2016

Athlone Town

It was a poor year for Athlone Town, who finished bottom of the SSE Airtricity League First Division. Athlone only won three of their 28 matches which was a severe disappointment.

Buccaneers

Buccs have made a flying start to their Ulster Bank League Division 1B campaign. The midlanders look set to make a bold bid for promotion back into the top flight.

Cribbin

Two successive Leinster SFC final appearances reflect the good work that Tom Cribbin has carried out with Westmeath. Cribbin will want Westmeath to commence 2017 brightly, with getting out of Allianz Football League Division Four a priority.

Dempsey

St Loman’s won the Westmeath SFC title once again with well-regarded Luke Dempsey providing a steady and sensible approach.

Efficient

That is what Westmeath footballers will need to be in the Allianz League. Following two successive relegations Westmeath, who are set to include some promising youngsters, will want to stitch a winning sequence together.

Fortune

Colin Fortune showed a willingness to include local youngsters when in charge of Athlone Town. That was an important step for Athlone, who didn’t win an away game in 2016.

Greville

Raharney returned to the summit of Westmeath hurling and Johnny Greville’s role shouldn’t be underestimated. After several years excellent service Greville has stepped down from the role.

Henshaw

It was another memorable year for Robbie Henshaw, who starred in Connacht’s Guinness Pro 12 success. Henshaw made a summer switch to Leinster and was a key figure when Ireland stunned New Zealand in Chicago.

Inspiring

The way the Westmeath Under 21 and senior hurlers gave out dinners in Mullingar and Grafton Street to the homeless on a cold night in December.

Joe Ward

The Moate boxer is set for a productive 2017. The Olympic Games in Rio ended in disappointment for Ward, who was beaten by a split decision in controversial circumstances.

Kolo Kiripati

The Buccaneers captain remains an influential and inspirational figure at the club.

Loman’s

Another Westmeath SFC was secured by St Loman’s, who have firmly established themselves as the club to beat. Their failure to make a serious impact, though, in the Leinster Championship will act as motivation for 2017.

Mullingar

Another busy year of action is imminent at Cusack Park, Mullingar.

Nevin

John Joe Nevin made a welcome return to the ring in August. Nevin has won his eight professional bouts, including four by knockout.

Occasion

It should be a lively occasion when Offaly and Westmeath collide again in the Leinster SFC in June.

Promising

One of the few areas of promise for Athlone Town were the goals of attacking midfielder Conor Barry. The Portumna native netted six times for Athlone.

Quantity

Buccs are currently the highest scorers in the top three divisions of the Ulster Bank League, registering 284 points from nine fixtures. Five try-scoring bonus points have been secured by the prolific midlanders.

Rosemount

A Westmeath IFC win was a huge boost for Rosemount, who subsequently lost a thrilling Leinster decider against St Colmcille’s at Pairc Tailteann in November.

Statistics

The statistics were grim from an Athlone Town perspective in 2016. Twenty-eight matches yielded three wins and five draws with Athlone suffering 20 defeats.

Tommy Doyle

Tommy Doyle’s excellent form with Westmeath was rewarded with inclusion in the Leinster panel for the Inter-Provincial Hurling series. Leinster were beaten by Munster in the final.

Under 21

In May Westmeath recorded a famous win over Kilkenny in the Bord Gáis Energy Leinster Under 21 Hurling Championship.

Victories

Westmeath hurlers have the potential to produce in the Leinster SHC Round Robin series once more against Meath, Kerry and Laois. Two victories from three matches should be enough to earn a quarter-final berth.

Win

That is what Athlone Town will need to do more of in 2017, especially away from Lissywollen where they struggled all season.

X Factor

It is something Westmeath have shown in the Leinster Football Championship in 2015 and 2016. All-Ireland champions Dublin, though, remain a classy and convincing outfit.

Youth

Tom Cribbin and Michael Ryan have both been willing to introduce new players to the inter-county arena. Further players will develop in the maroon and white shirt again.

Zero

In five Allianz Hurling League Division 2A group games and in the subsequent final, Westmeath didn’t concede a goal - a significant achievement as the midlanders deservedly earned silverware.

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