County can’t Hackett as Westmeath lose football manager

Brendan Hackett is expected to hand his resignation as county football manager into the Westmeath county board this weekend after the latest episode of player power was exercised on Wednesday evening (April 14 ).

It is believed Hackett had the confidence of the board, but after similar divisive episodes in Cork, Limerick, and Waterford, it has reluctantly decided to accept his resignation after just eight months in the job.

At the time of going to press, neither county chairman Tom Farrell, nor Mr Hackett were willing or available to comment to the Advertiser.

Despite guiding a handy U21 side to a Leinster final, the future of the former Longford and Offaly manager, and CEO of Athletics Ireland was sealed after the county team finished up its division two league campaign in Semple Stadium last Sunday without a single win.

In fact, Westmeath have now been relegated from division one to division three in just two seasons after 14 straight league defeats.

It is believed the panel had a meeting amongst themselves before training on Wednesday and a delegation of senior players made known their feelings of no confidence to him after that evening’s session in Mullingar.

Westmeath are now effectively managerless with just seven weeks to go before the start of the 2010 Championship against Carlow or Wicklow on June 6. Considering there are two rounds of the senior county football championship to be played in the interim, the county panel will have just five weeks of preparation with the new appointee if he is affirmed this weekend.

Explaining the obvious difficulty of looking anew at the moment, he pointed out: “Most good managers are tied up at this stage of the year. It’s a bad time to be looking.”

There had been some rumblings earlier in the season when, on at least two occasions Mr Hackett brought off players only to reinstate them later in the game, begging questions from the fringes of the panel as to what they were there for.

Panel opinion about trainer Martin Kennedy and assistant Michael “Spike” Fagan was believed to be favourable, but alongside Mr Hackett’s Olympian consultants, Owen Rheinisch and Michael Carruth, their futures are unclear at this stage.

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