Westmeath ladies take centre stage...almost

Ladies All-Ireland intermediate final

Westmeath v Cavan, Croke Park Sunday 2pm

Westmeath’s ladies footballers are bidding for All-Ireland glory when they take on Cavan in Croke Park this Sunday in the intermediate decider. This is undoubtedly the biggest game Westmeath ladies have contested since they lost the senior decider to Kerry some 24 years ago. The game will be followed by the senior decider between Cork and Monaghan at 4pm.

The excitement has been building in the lead-up to the game as Peter Leahy and Alan Mangan’s side prepare to take on a Cavan side they have already beaten in the league stages by three points. Unfortunately the Westmeath county board’s decision to stage one of the senior club hurling semi finals as well as a number of underage games on the same day has been an unnecessary distraction.

Surely these games could have been brought forward to Saturday, not least because manager Alan Mangan, who has been a great servant to Westmeath GAA, is due to play with Castletown-Geoghegan in the hurling semi-final. Two of the players involved have siblings involved in club fixtures also.

Not many Westmeath teams reach an all-Ireland decider at any grade and the ladies deserve as much support as possible. Unfortunately many would-be supporters will be unable to travel given the club fixtures on the same day and this smacks of serious ill-judgement on the part of the fixtures committee in the county, a point which was highlighted in the Irish Times last Monday. The Cavan county board for their part suspended all club fixtures for the weekend. A little goodwill and cooperation goes a long way.

The girls are unlikely to let such a slight distract them from the job in hand. It will be a new experience for both sides as Cavan haven’t contested an All-Ireland since 1981. There has been little between the sides in their recent meetings. Last year the Cavan girls came out on top by a few points when the sides met in Cavan. Westmeath had three points to spare when the sides met in Ballinagore in July on a day when both sides were without a number of key players.

With two evenly matched sides it is going to be very much about which side copes best with the pressure and adapts to the new experience of playing in GAA headquarters. Westmeath have a clean bill of health ahead of the game and with a little luck and hopefully a large support they could be crowned All-Ireland champs on Sunday evening.

Anyone from the south of the county looking for tickets can contact Patricia Dolan on (087 ) 7707978 while anyone in the north of the county can contact Geraldine Giles on (087 ) 6990204.


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