IN his days as Paidi O Se's sidekick, Tomas O Flatharta played a significant part in Westmeath winning their first Leinster SF title in 2004 and, after Paidi's departure, ran some good campaigns as manager.
Galway were so impressed that last autumn they called him across the Shannon for a stint with the other maroon-and-white outfit. However, so far, it has been rather fraught as the disappointments continue to pile up.
O Flatharta takes a poor record into Saturday's Round 2 qualifier with Meath. Since beating Wicklow in the 2008 Leinster quarter-final, O Flatharta's championship and league record with Westmeath and Galway reads: Played 18, Won 2, Drew 1, Lost 15. Westmeath were relegated to Division 2 in 2009, a fate also suffered by Galway this year.
And just when O Flatharta -- and Galway -- needed a break they drew Meath in Saturday's qualifiers. In Navan, of course. Galway are 9/4 outsiders but then they were much the same before the 2001 All-Ireland final against Meath, which they won by nine points.
TIme not on side of wicklow or minors
MICK Hagan (Wicklow) and Andy Kettle (Dublin) are county chairmen who took time out to deal with time in a timely fashion this week. Hagan complained that it was unfair on Wicklow to fix the qualifier tie with Armagh (in Armagh) for 7.0 on Saturday, pointing out that a 5.0 start would be more consumer-friendly.
It's a fair point but Wicklow's request for an earlier start didn't register with the fixture-makers.
Kettle is unhappy over the 12.0 start for the Dublin-Meath MF final on Sunday and believes that where senior games start at 2.0, it would be better to play minor games after-wards, as more people would stay on than make the effort to be there early.
Sounds fine in theory, but think of the reality. It's one thing to play in a stadium where the crowd is growing during the game but altogether different if the ground was heaving an hour earlier and is now 95pc empty.
Cleary puts pedal to metal for good cause
TIPPERARY hurlers will be in the thick of the big championship action against Waterford in Sunday's Munster final but Michael Cleary, a former great who never shirked on heavy lifting himself, has given himself an interesting challenge too.
He's undertaking an 80km trip to raise funds for Our Lady's Children's Hospital in Crumlin, which will be done, Flintstones-style, in a BERG pedal go-kart!
Cleary and Robert Quinlan leave Clonmel today at 10.30 this morning and proceed via Cahir and Cashel, to Thurles. They will restart in Roscrea tomorrow (10.30) and plan to arrive in Nenagh at 2.0.
Eoin Kelly, Lar Corbett, local camogie legend Deirdre Hughes and rugby stars Denis Leamy and Donnacha Ryan are all set to help but we suspect Eoin and Lar will be minding their hamstrings and confining their support to using vocal cords only. Or else Declan Ryan might not be very happy.