Sunday 25 February 2018

Westmeath Board call midweek meeting after Hackett exit

Colm Keys

Colm Keys

Westmeath have convened a football Board meeting for Wednesday night to discuss the vacancy created by the departure of senior football manager Brendan Hackett over the weekend.

Hackett met with his squad in Mullingar on Friday night and conveyed a decision to step aside to Westmeath officials on Saturday morning. The players had sought change after a seven-match losing campaign in Division 2.

Hackett's quick departure, given the level of opposition within the dressing room, was an honourable move as the Board would have backed him to remain in place.

The search for a successor will be discussed on Wednesday with the first decision being whether they should look within or outside the county.

It is thought likely that with just over six weeks to a first round Leinster championship match with the winners of Wicklow or Carlow an interim appointment might serve them best.

Whether Dessie Dolan, who was overlooked for the position last September, is considered remains to be seen, but his appointment is probably the only route to getting his son Dessie back on the field, given his refusal to play over the Board's handling of the appointment and their decision not to even grant his father an interview last year.

Hackett's removal is unlikely to heal the wounds between Dolan and the Board.

The name of Ray Smyth has been mentioned locally as a possible replacement, while Pat Flanagan, former coach to Tyrrellspass and a selector with Tomas O Flatharta in 2009, will also be strongly considered if the Board choose to look within.

Irish Independent

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