TOPIC • 15 February, 2018 PADDY Westmeath’s GAA FLANAGAN SPORT 45 Key game ahead for Westmeath hurlers The Westmeath senior hurlers are chasing a third victory in-a-row next Saturday when they take on Meath in Division 2A of the National Hurling League at Trim (2pm). It’s a key game for Michael Ryan’s men, who just got the better of the Royals in last year’s Leinster Champion Round Robin clash in Mullingar, a game the Lake County needed to win. Westmeath were defeated by Offaly in their next outing. “It’s a big game for the hurlers,” insists Paddy Flanagan as he looks ahead to the weekend action. “It’s one they will need to win, I feel, if they are to get promoted this year. It would send out the right signal if the team can keep their 100% record (they beat Carlow and Kildare in the opening games) and of course it would help fend off Meath, who appear to be making good progress. It won’t be easy,” he added. Meath have a new manager this season in Waterford’s Nick Fitzgerald and just like Michael Ryan, he has Kilkenny influence in the back room team in the form of Martin Comerford and Michael Kavanagh. It’s an interesting aside to Saturday’s encounter and the respective managers will have a key role to play, one feels. Westmeath will be keen to step things up next weekend having just gone through the motions at times in their win over Kildare last Sunday week. Several Westmeath players have been impressing for their colleges of late - including Niall O’Brien and Killian Doyle - and that augurs well. “The big thing Michael Ryan will want is a more aggressive display from his team, I’d imagine. They need to ‘tear into’ this one, as the saying goes, and not allow Meath to settle. It’s a local derby and that will mean something,” re - marked Flanagan. “Meath aren’t easy to beat at any time, but in On an important week for hurling, we recall the Westmeath senior hurling side that played in the Leinster Championship almost three decades ago. Back row, from left: Sean Kilcoyne, John Donoghue, John Coyne, Gerry Daly, Pat Connaughton, Declan Weir, David Kilcoyne. Front row, from left: Matt Kennedy, Sean McLoughlin, Ger Jackson, Johnny McManus, Richie Shaw, Pat Clancy (Capt.), Sean Greville and Pat O’Brien. This week we take a look back at the Maryland team that won the 1980 Westmeath Intermediate title. Back row, from left: Pat Buckley, Mick Reynolds, Malachy Buckley, Michael Behan, John Reynolds, Noel Behan, Billy Reynolds, Liam Hogan. Front row, from left: TP Lowry, Tommy McCormack, John Slevin, Paddy Reynolds, Noel Behan, Billy Reynolds and Liam Hogan. Mascot: Sharon Behan. Westmeath meet Meath in the National Hurling League next Saturday, but our picture shows the Westmeath side that defeated Meath in the National Hurling League of 1989. Back row, from left: Pat Connaughton, Ger Jackson, Richie Shaw, John Coyne, David Kilcoyne, Gerry Daly, Pat O’Brien, Eamonn Gallagher. Front row, from left: Sean Kilcoyne, Martin Carr, Brian McCabe, Sean Hynes, Sean Greville, Pat Clancy and Matt Kennedy. Trim it will be extra difficult. Westmeath are well capable of repeating last year’s victory in Mullingar but the performance will have to be better than the last day and I expect it will,” he added. The likes of Tommy Doyle, Paul Greville, Niall O’Brien, Niall Mitchell, Cormac Boyle and Killian Doyle will be key men for the Lake County who should make it three from three if they perform to their true potential. Footballers bounce back in sunny south east Wexford lived up to its name as the sunny south east last Sunday. The Westmeath senior footballers took on the Slaneysiders in round three of the National Football League at Innovate Wexford Park and chalked up another important victory, despite some poor shooting over the 70-plus minutes. It was a good result after the defeat by Armagh a week earlier. “It seemed to me that the footballers weren’t just ruthless enough with the chances they had. Their execution was poor and it gives them something to work on, but of course the big positive is they are on four points after three games and right back in the mix for a top two finish,” observed Flanagan. With the latter in mind, it was a satisfactory outing for Colin Kelly’s charges and they can now focus on the clash with Sligo on Sunday week in Mullingar. The O’Byrne Cup final is now off until 11 March at earliest and will now come in between the Fermanagh and Longford games - at a crunch time in the Division 3 campaign. What that means for the fixture remains to be seen, it might even be an opportunity for under 20 players to line out. Getting back to last Sunday and it must be said it was a case of mission accomplished for Colin Kelly and his troops. “The result is the big positive and to be on four points after three games - we all would have taken that prior to the start of the campaign,” noted Flanagan. “Sure, there’s plenty to work on but that is no harm if the players learn and move on. You can’t get into a comfort zone at this level and think things will just happen, even though this was a game Westmeath always seemed likely to win. Remember they crushed Wexford twice last year, including in the league final at Croke Park,” he added. Flanagan feels Westmeath can now work hard on their sloppiness and tidy up certain aspects of their game over the next two weeks. “We can’t be too critical after a victory away from home, but the high number of wides (15) will be an obvious concern. The Longford game, I feel, might be the key one in this division and Westmeath will have to build towards that. Already it looks like that could be a great midlands derby,” added Flanagan. Recent meetings - National Hurling League Over the past 20 years or so, Westmeath and Meath have had ten meetings in the National Hurling League and the balance of power tilts, slightly in favour of the Royals. They have five wins to their credit, Westmeath have four and one game was drawn in 1994. In other competitions, in latter years, Meath also seem to have the edge. Two meetings in the Christy Ring Cup in 2005 and ’07 saw Meath win the first game, 3-16 to 2-10, and the second meeting, two years later, ended all square, Westmeath 1-19, Meath 2-16. Both the games were played in Pairc Tailteann, Navan. The results from the last 10 meetings are: 1992, Athboy: Meath 1-21, Westmeath 0-11 1994, Athboy: Westmeath 1-10, Meath 2-7 (draw) 1995, Castletown Geoghegan: Meath 3-15, Westmeath 2-5 1997, Trim: Meath 2-10, Westmeath 0-9 1998, Trim: Westmeath 1-10, Meath 2-6 1999, Mullingar: Westmeath 4-10, Meath 1-9 2000, Navan: Meath 1-13, Westmeath 2-6 2003, Navan: Meath 4-17, Westmeath 3-11 2004, Trim: Westmeath 2-9, Meath 0-10 2005, Mullingar: Westmeath 2-11, Meath 1-11
46 SPORT TOPIC • 15 February, 2018 Andrew Glennon, Leinster Champion after winning the 1,000m under 14 race walk at the Leinster Juvenile Indoors in Athlone. Blizzard conditions didn’t prevent a medal winning performance by Aoife McGouran in the u/15 race at the Leinster Juvenile Indoors in Athlone last Saturday. Criostoir Ormsby (342), who finished third in 60m under 12 race at the Leinster Juvenile Indoors in Athlone. All-Ireland Gold for Eileen Kenny and Christy Creagh MULLINGAR HARRIERS ATHLETIC CLUB NOTES The weather certainly took a significant turn for the worse last Sunday when snow showers and a bitingly cold wind made conditions very harsh for the AAI National Masters and Juvenile ‘B’ Cross Country Champion - ships in Clarinbridge, Co. Galway. Leading the Mullingar women home in the master womens 4,000m in an excellent twenty third place overall of nearly 170 finishers was Aine O’Reilly, followed by Jane Creevy, Patricia Broderick, Emer O’Hanlon, Eileen Kenny, Nuala Moran, Caroline Mullen, Terri Greene and Michelle Kavanagh. When the results were sorted after the race, the Mullingar team of Patricia, Eileen, Nuala and Terri finished a very creditable sixth Club and Eileen Kenny finished first in her master age category to win the All-Ireland title. In the master mens 4,000m Christy Creagh put in a great performance to win his master age category, giving Mullingar two All- Ireland Champions, which is a fantastic result. We had no team in the master mens 7,000m race but Liam McGlynn put in a solid performance and was pleased with his race. Earlier in the day Aoife McGouran competed in the u/15 girls 2,500m. Illness had robbed Aoife McGouran of her best for the All-Ireland uneven ages cross country in Waterford before Christmas but she more than made amends and can be very satisfied with her excellent ninth place finish in Galway. IRISH UNIVERSITY INDOORS MEDAL FOR VICKY HARRIS A few of the Club’s third level students were in action last Friday at the Irish University Indoors in Athlone IT. Building on her excellent performances at the AAI u/23 Indoors two weeks previously, Vicky Harris (Athlone IT) ran even quicker and placed fifth in the 60m and later in the day took bronze for third place in the 200m, earning valuable points for Athlone IT. Rachel Glennon (DCU) finished fourth in a competitive 1,500m race walk, and while Declan Brady (GMIT) was disappointed not to advance from the 800m heats, he can take satisfaction from setting a new record for GMIT. WALKERS TO THE FORE AT LEINSTER JUVENILE INDOORS The underage indoor season proper got underway last Saturday on day one of the Leinster Juvenile Indoors in Athlone IT and the Mullingar athletes turned in some excellent performances, winning 3 gold, 3 silver and 1 bronze medal, in addition, 4 others finished just out of the medal places in fourth place and we had a big number qualify for their finals, so excellent performances by them all. A particular highlight was four Mullingar boys in the 60m u/12 sprint final, so this will be a quartet to watch for in the relays in two weeks time. Mullingar’s race walkers continue to blaze the medal trail with gold for Andrew Glennon (1,000m u/14 walk) in his first Leinster Championship, and it was gold too for Matthew Glennon (1,500m u/16 walk) and Sarah Glennon (1,500m u/18 walk). Finishing just outside the medal places in fourth place was Jayne Walsh (1,500m u/16 walk) but she still qualifies for the All-Ireland Finals. Staying with walks, this year Leinster held the Junior, Senior and Masters walks on day one of the Juvenile Championships and Sean (Above) Four Mullingar boys who competed in the 60m under 12 final at the Leinster Juvenile Indoors in Athlone last Saturday were Kyle Faherty, Criostoir Ormsby, Conor Liston and Jamie Wallace. (Left) Representing Mullingar Harriers at the AAI Masters & ‘B’ All- Ireland Cross Country in Galway last Sunday, were, back row from left: Patricia Broderick, Aine O’Reilly, Nuala Moran, Eileen Kenny, Jane Creevy, Michelle Kavanagh and Emer O’Hanlon. In front are Caroline Mullen, Terri Greene and Christy Creagh. McMullin was an easy winner of the gold medal in his master category and it was gold too for Rachel Glennon in the senior walk, so Leinster race walk titles for all the Glennon siblings. Rachel Cornally ran her first indoor 400m when she competed in the girls 400m u/19 and was delighted to come away with the silver medal after a fine race. On to the 1,500m programme, where Bea Drummond competed well in the girls 1,500m u/16 but finished just out of the medals in fourth place. In the corresponding boys 1,500m u/16 race, Colin Smith came through strongly to take fourth place, just missing bronze by a narrow margin, with Colin McGee also finishing well. Andrew Shaw battled well in the boys 1,500m u/17 but finished out of the medals in a very competitive race. In the boys 1,500m u/18, Andrew Daly was unlucky to finish just out of the medals in fourth place, just missing bronze right on the line, but will still qualify for the All-Ireland Finals. We finally got in the medals again when Aoife Darby stormed through in the girls 1,500m u/18 to take the silver medal. In the field events, Caoimhe Donohue (u/13) and Alanna Costello (u/15) enjoyed their long jump competitions despite not finishing in the medal places. Shane Ormsby got in the medals in the boys u/14 shot and with a fine series to finish third and take the bronze medal. As always, entries for the 60m sprints were very big, so a lot of heats were required, making qualification for the finals extremely difficult. There were 7 heats in the girls 60m u/12 where Muireann Donohue, Aideen Langtry and Morgan Corcoran competed with spirit but didn’t advance to the semi-finals. Mullingar had nine competing in the 6 heats of the boys 60m u/12, where Hugo Sleator, Dara Smullen, Alex Lynch, Matthew Reynolds and Rory McDonnell ran well but didn’t advance with Criostoir Ormsby, Conor Liston, Jamie Wallace and Kyle Faherty to the semi-finals. All four safely negotiated the semifinals and it was great to see four from Mullingar in the final where they all competed brilliantly, Criostoir taking the bronze, Conor Liston only hundredths of a second behind, and Jamie and Kyle also sprinting brilliantly. There were 8 heats in the girls 60m u/13 and Caoimhe Kilmurray, Grace Byrne, Caoimhe Donohue and Shauna Traynor competed strongly against stiff opposition but didn’t advance with Aimee Wallace to the semi-finals. Aimee ran quicker as the rounds progressed and made it safely thorough to the final where she ran another great sprint but was very unlucky to finish out of the medals in a very close race. Callum Costello made short work of his heat of the boys 60m u/13, winning easily to qualify comfortably for the final. Lining up for the final as a real medal prospect, Callum didn’t disappoint and blasted from the blocks to take the silver medal in a very close finish, only a few hundredths of a second away from gold. Amy O’Donoghue (girls 60m u/14), Alanna Costello and Shannon Liston (girls 60m u/15) and Niamh Cully (girls 60m u/16) ran well in their heats but didn’t advance to their finals, but no problem for Awa Fane in the girls 60m u/18, cruising easily through to the final, running a personal best time of 7.83 second in her heat. The final was run at a blistering pace and it took close scrutiny of the photo finish to determine the winner of the bronze medal, with Awa placed fifth, only three hundredths separating third, fourth and fifth. This concluded a long but enjoyable day of indoor competition. LEINSTER INDOOR ENTRIES The Leinster Junior, Senior and Masters Indoors will take place in NIA Abbotstown on Saturday, 24th February. Athletes enter themselves and the online entry system is open until this Wednesday (14th February). Contact Greg for your 2018 AAI registration number. If any Juvenile athlete wishes to compete in the Leinster Juniors (must be at least 16 years of age this year), please ask your coach or Greg. Finally, indoor competition continues this week end when a number of Club athletes will compete in the AAI Senior Indoors at the National Indoor Arena in Abbotstown, Co. Dublin and we wish them the very best of luck. LATEST RESULTS For the latest results, news and details of all upcoming fixtures check the Club’s website at www.mullingarharriers.co m. You can also follow what is happening at the Club on our Facebook page.