Westmeath's hurlers lacking pride -- Martin
Former Westmeath boss Kevin Martin has lashed the commitment of some of the county's hurlers, accusing them of "lacking motivation and pride in representing their county".
"It's a real pity because there's some cracking hurlers in Westmeath," he said. "I had a dozen or so really good, committed lads this year but some of the rest of them came and went as they wanted."
In his second year in charge, Westmeath were relegated in the league after losing all seven games in Division 2. They are due to rejoin the Leinster championship this summer (they play Carlow on May 15), but ditched two-time All Star Martin two weeks ago with one game left in the league and have since replaced him with Galway native Brian Hanley.
The county board stated that they had parted by mutual consent but Martin revealed yesterday that he was sacked after being called to a meeting and being told: "We are giving you the rest of the summer off".
"I never missed a session, I was never late to a session, I gave it my full commitment but there's a lot of players who couldn't say the same," Martin said.
"Some of them were great, we even had two lads who travelled over and back from England, but some of the players' mentality is very poor."
Martin said he had difficulties with football manager Pat Flanagan over access to dual players and he was particularly critical of the county hurling board.
"There were numerous times we were left without a pitch to train on, or had our training times changed or brought forward, all of that doesn't help players either," Martin said.
"When they won the Christy Ring Cup before, I believe they got team holidays abroad, but when we won it last year there wasn't even a medal presentation."
Martin revealed that he and his selectors had even dipped into their own pockets last year to buy polo shirts ahead of the Christy Ring final.
"We asked the hurling board for gear but what they gave us was more suitable for winter," he said.
"I approached the county chairman (Tom Farrell), who was always very good, and he explained that he had to get any funding cleared at board level.
"We hadn't time, so in the end we just went ahead and got the gear ourselves."
Martin said that the clubs in Westmeath hurling's tight-knit community often command more loyalty than the county.
"It is a real pity," he said. "Maybe it was having a new manager but in my first year we had a good crowd training, won the Kehoe Cup and the Christy Ring and I thought the fact that we'd won promotion to Leinster this year would really drive things on.
"But it just seemed to go the other way. We often had only 15 or 16 training, a lot of players weren't willing to put in the effort and it's a real shame because I firmly believe that if the best 30 to 35 hurlers in Westmeath committed to it, they'd be as good as Offaly."