Westmeath hurling is in a bit of a crisis at present following Kevin Martin’s decision to step aside just weeks before they face Carlow in the Leinster championship. Martin took over as manager last year and guided the Lake County to its third Christy Ring title.
Things have not been going according to plan so far this year and the side have been beaten in all their league outings to date. Not surprisingly they have already been relegated to division three even before they play Down in Mullingar this Sunday.
Rumours of discontent have been coming from the camp in recent weeks and it is understood members of the hurling board met with Martin in Tullamore after which both sides parted company.
With just eight weeks before the championship opener it doesn’t leave much time for a new manager to settle in. The heat will now be turned up on the players to perform to a higher level.
I’m not too familiar with Kevin Martin or how good or bad he is as a manager but a number of our better hurlers have been unavailable for various reasons throughout the league campaign and that hasn’t helped the cause. Turnout at trainings is reported to be poor which again is hardly the manager’s fault. A number of established players were unavailable for the vital game against Kerry because they were away on holiday. With a full hand that game could have been won - again hardly the manager’s fault.
At this stage there is little to be gained from looking back and it will be a start if the team can avoid the wooden spoon by beating Down this weekend. Then whoever takes over will be hoping to restore confidence before the clash with Carlow.
In better news on the hurling front the Westmeath minors recorded a landslide win over Carlow in the preliminary round of the Leinster championship. They now face Laois in their next outing and Kilkenny await the winners of that. There is huge talent in this particular squad of players and hopes are high that they can account for a physically strong Laois outfit.