Evergreen O Se and Doyle inspired me to play another year -- Dolan
Dessie Dolan has revealed that the standards set by Tomas O Se and Johnny Doyle in their mid-30s convinced him to stay on for another year with Westmeath.
Dolan featured for the last quarter against Dublin in the O'Byrne Cup in Mullingar last Sunday and underlined his class in scoring two points that hauled Westmeath back in front for a brief period.
He admitted he was "sitting on the fence" until recently about whether he would commit to a 16th season with Westmeath -- he made his debut in 1998 but didn't play in 2012 -- but had looked at the two 35-year-olds throughout last season for inspiration.
He had a number of conversations with new Lake County manager Paul Bealin before eventually electing to commit again.
"I rang Paul, or Paul rang me, and I wasn't sure what to do. I was happy enough with my lot, but I suppose the fact we're playing Division 1 and it's a very young panel in Westmeath this year... So I said I'd give it a go if I could help in any way.
"I've been doing a couple of weeks' work with a personal trainer up in Dublin, just to get myself prepared.
"The hamstring is my biggest issue, so hopefully that won't go again this year."
Dolan said that the number of mouthwatering clashes Westmeath are facing into in the coming months also helped to push him towards a decision.
"I was 50-50 -- I was sitting on the fence. But the fact that they're playing Division 1 and there are a lot of big games this year convinced me," he said.
Dolan admits he can't be certain if he can sustain a full 70 minutes but it will remain his aim as long as he is involved.
"I'm 34. I am what I am. It's not so bad when you can come on and lads are tired, it's that bit easier!" he joked.
"But you have to aim that you're going to get the full 70 and that's my plan.
"I always look at the lads like Tomas O Se last year (since retired), and the likes of Johnny Doyle.
"You're keeping an eye on them and their standard. They're well able to do it and that's what my plan is."
He admitted that the end to Westmeath's season, which saw them lose heavily to Dublin in the Leinster championship and then to Fermanagh in the qualifiers at home, was not a way for him to bow out.
"No, you don't (want it to end that way). It was very disappointing. You shouldn't be losing at home to Fermanagh, not like that anyway," he said.