Tuesday 24 October 2017

Dolan ends exile for 'top-notch' Flanagan

Colm Keys

Colm Keys

Dessie Dolan is ready to end his eight-month self-imposed exile from inter-county football and return to the Westmeath football team.

Dolan has declared that he will "more than likely" recommit to the midlanders after sitting out the entire National League.

The former All Star plays for his club side Garrycastle in the second round of the local senior championship this weekend but, once that is out of the way, it is expected he will resume training as long as the invitation from new manager Pat Flanagan, a man he described as "top notch," is still in place.

Dolan has admitted his time away had been "difficult" but he used it to allow old injuries to clear up.

The 31-year-old attacker made himself unavailable for the county team in protest at the refusal of the Westmeath County Board to give his father Dessie senior an interview for the vacant position last summer.

Westmeath committed to seeking a manager outside the county and came up with Brendan Hackett, who stitched together an impressive backroom team.

But without Dolan, the retired John Keane and Denis Glennon -- who walked away -- Westmeath struggled under Hackett's stewardship and lost every one of their seven league games.

Consequently, Hackett lost the confidence of the players and resigned six days after their last league defeat to be replaced by former selector Flanagan.

Glennon has since returned and a Garrycastle club mate of Dolan, Paddy Mulvihill, is also back after two years out through injury.

Dolan's return is sure to bring closure to the whole affair and put a spring in Westmeath's steps ahead of their Leinster quarter-final against Wicklow or Carlow in three weeks.

Irish Independent

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport