Tuesday 21 November 2017

Flanagan hits out after Boyle switch

Cliona Foley

Cliona Foley

A ROW over dual players has broken out in Westmeath, where senior football boss Pat Flanagan has expressed disappointment at the loss of one of his regulars to the county hurlers.

Francis Boyle has recently revealed that he will focus on hurling next season after being included in manager Brian Hanley's new small-ball panel, and dual stars Paul Greville and Brendan Murtagh may follow his lead.

"I'm extremely disappointed Francis Boyle has decided to commit solely to hurling," Flanagan said.

"He has been a good servant to Westmeath football over recent years, so it's difficult to understand why he's chosen hurling."

Boyle plays football with Killucan and hurling with Raharney.

Flanagan has also taken issue with Hanley's recent comments that he had "no time for dual players this year. Either you want to play hurling or football."

"It would be more beneficial to a team if a player wasn't playing both codes," Flanagan conceded.

"But I'm not sure whether that (attitude) is beneficial to Westmeath, with the population they have and the emigration problem. In the early part of the year, particularly, it is difficult."

Flanagan said that Greville and Murtagh are still undecided on the issue.

"It's not a case of enticing lads or trying to provide things that hurling can't, but I believe Westmeath footballers will be playing at a very high standard in Division 2," said Flanagan.

The big-ball boss has still to finalise his revamped back-room team for next season, but Tom Darcy is definitely staying on and former Offaly footballer Joe Quinn has come on board as physical fitness trainer.

Flanagan and Hanley were both initially appointed as caretaker managers before being handed the full-time reins.

Flanagan came in to replace Brendan Hackett in April 2010, while Hanley, from Galway, took interim charge of the hurlers just before the end of last year's NHL when Offaly man Brendan Martin stepped down.

Irish Independent

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