Saturday 17 March 2018

Hackett hangs on

Colm Keys

Colm Keys

Brendan Hackett has requested a meeting with the full Westmeath squad for tonight before he makes any decision on his future as the county's football manager.

Hackett remains in charge of the midlands county for now despite speculation that he had agreed to step down following a meeting with disgruntled players after training on Wednesday night.

At that meeting it is understood that some of the players expressed a lack of confidence in his ability to manage the team after a disastrous Division 2 league campaign and called for him to step aside.

Westmeath football officials are, however, keen to retain the former Athletics Ireland CEO who was a surprise appointment last September.

Hackett will take a training session in Mullingar tonight before having further talks with the players.

Westmeath suffered seven straight defeats in the league as they were relegated for the second successive season.

The former Offaly and Longford manager has been in the eye of the storm for that poor record, despite the need for a radical overhaul of the senior team who have punched above their weight for too long.

Without Dessie Dolan, Denis Glennon and John Keane among others, his task was always going to be a difficult one.

Dolan has not played since last year after his father, Dessie Snr, was overlooked for the position, as Westmeath choose to seek a candidate from outside the county.

Westmeath officials have refused to comment on the situation but were meeting last night to try and galvanise support around the manager.

They are determined to ride the storm despite the apparent inevitability of what is ahead.

A number of senior players had sought a meeting with football officials on Monday night to air their grievances to trigger the heave against Hackett.

Irish Independent

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