The A-Z of the year that was 2010

Dubarry Park played host to the AIB club finals. City of Derry players are seen here celebrating a last gasp winner.

Dubarry Park played host to the AIB club finals. City of Derry players are seen here celebrating a last gasp winner.

A - Athlone GAA Club celebrated their 125th year in existence. It was an honour for me to be captain 50 years on from the first of the famous six-in-a-row wins. Unfortunately we added no silverware at senior level. Making the knockout stages was progress and hopes are high that we can build on that in 2011. Our u14s won the Feile and u16s won the county title indicating a bright future for the club.

B - Brendan Hackett began 2010 as Westmeath manager but was replaced by Pat Flanagan after a dismal league campaign. Flanagan had little time to sort out the mess he inherited and despite beating Wicklow, Louth put an end to our hopes of Leinster glory.

C - Cutbacks are the name of the game in all aspects of life at present. The GAA are not immune and Westmeath county board recently announced that their spend on county teams in the past twelve months was down by €148,694 from €413,618 in 2009 to €264,654.

D - Division two proved an unhappy hunting ground as our footballers failed to register a win. Division three awaits in the coming year.

E - Egan (Finbar ) who has presided over a couple of very successful years in Maryland. As well as being crowned Underdog champions they also won the Westmeath Intermediate title and made it to a senior quarter final. Injuries hampered their chances this year but overall Finbar can look back on a job well done.

F - Farsical - the only word to describe the events surrounding Meath’s win over Louth in the Leinster final. Referee Martin Sludden made a mess of the game and the Wee county’s dreams of ending their provincial drought were dashed.

G - Garrycastle put back-to-back titles together this year which is no mean feat. Their ultimate hopes of winning the provincial title were dashed by Kilmacud Crokes. It will always be seen as an opportunity lost by the green and reds but the absence of injured captain Doran Harte was a big blow to Anthony Cunningham’s men.

H - hurling in the county received a major boost in 2010 with our county side being crowned Christy Ring champions and Raharney acquitting themselves so well in the provincial club championship.

I - Irreplaecable is a word that springs to mind when I think of the likes of Damien Healy, Derek Heavin, Martin Flanagan, and John Keane who have hung up the boots at county level this year. All have been great ambassadors for the county and I count it a privilege to have shared a dressing room with them. Theirs will be big boots to fill.

J - Joe Sheridan’s dive over the line as he scored the winning goal in the Leinster final will be spoken about for many a year to come.

K - Kinnegad were unexpectedly relegated from senior ranks in 2010 and will ply their trade at intermediate level in 2011. Padraig Pearses suffered the same fate west of the Shannon. Their u21 did win the county title offering much hope for the years to come.

L - Pat Lynagh, county secretary keeping things on track in Westmeath.

M - Michael O’Muireartaigh, the voice of the GAA for over 62 years, decided to hang up his mike in 2010. Sundays will never be the same again.

N- November and December are months when football is not allowed. County panels are not allowed to train together. Oh and county managers don’t get paid.

O - Offaly side Rhode, still in the hunt for provincial and All-Ireland club glory.

P - Paul Greville certainly left his mark on the playing fields in 2010. As well as being a key figure on the county team in both codes he played a key role in the success of his clubs. He was awarded Footballer of The Year for his exploits in the club championship as Killucan reached the semi-final for the first time ever. He also won a senior club hurling county medal and was part of Raharney’s famous win over Coolderry.

Q - Quality training facilities are a must if we are to be successful going forward and the county boards recent announcement of a partnership with AIT and their state of the art facilities is something to be very much welcomed.

R - Roscommon defied the odds and were crowned kings of Connacht at the expense of a shell-shocked Sligo.

S - St Brigid’s were back in business this year adding another Roscommon county title. More importantly they also annexed the Connacht club title and remain in the hunt for All-Ireland glory. Their u21 side finally let go of the title they have held for the past nine years.

T - The hand of God; the new name for Cathal McHugh after his late, late goal which secured extra time for St Brigid’s in the Connacht Club final.

U - Underage football is showing some signs of progress with our u21s contesting the Leinster final against eventual All-Ireland winners Dublin (a game Westmeath could have won ). Our u16s also had a very successful year offering hope for the future. Across the river Roscommon’s u21 footballers were crowned Connacht champions.

V - Value which all tickets will have to be, considering the times we live in. The season tickets available online do appear to offer good value but a general reduction in ticket prices is surely called for.

W - Westmeath supporters endured a topsy turvy year in 2010. The only competitive wins recorded by our footballers were against Kilkenny and Wicklow while our hurlers did manage to win the Christy Ring Cup. Supporters will be hoping for better things in both codes in 2011.

Y - Youth policies are very important for future success and recent initiatives announced by Athlone Community College and Marist College can only have positive effects on football in the county going forward.

Z - Zero football in November and December (officially anyway ).

 

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