Three Westmeath players didn't pick the best way to prepare for Kerry on Sunday
When you’re trying to beat Kerry in the Championship everything has to go right, so Westmeath could have done without the disruption in their preparations this week.
According to a report in the Irish Independent today, there is a fair bit of unrest in the Lake County at the moment after three players played a club game on Tuesday evening, five days before they take on the Kingdom in the qualifiers.
Denis Glennon, Ger Egan and Darren Quinn all lined out for Tyrrellspass in a league fixture with Mullingar Shamrocks on Tuesday evening, a game that was played in the Shamrocks’ home ground of Springfield, which is only around the corner from Cusack Park, where Westmeath train and where they will be taking on Kerry this weekend.
No Shamrocks players who are currently involved in the county panel were involved in Tuesday night’s game, although it is believed that David Gavin and Denis Coroon were released from county training to attend the fixture when it became apparent that Tyrrellspass’ three county players were involved.
By the time Gavin and Coroon arrived, the game had already started and they didn’t play any part, but the involvement of the Tyrrellspass players has understandably garnered plenty of attention ahead of the Kerry game this weekend.
Westmeath manager Pat Flanagan, a Kerry native, wasn’t in attendance at training on Tuesday night for personal reasons but will have a tough choice to make as to whether to take disciplinary action against the three players involved.
According to the Irish Independent, Westmeath officials have confirmed that the players were not given permission to play in the game – we would be very surprised if they had been – and that there are an awful lot of people unhappy at the club and at the players involved.
On the other hand, the three players in question all started Westmeath’s last game against Louth – Quinn in goals, Egan at centre forward and Glennon at corner forward – and Flanagan can ill-afford to be without their services against his own county, who will be raging hot favourites regardless of what team takes to the field in a maroon jersey.
Glennon has been one of Westmeath’s standout forwards for a number of years, while Quinn claimed his place in goals after the departure of regular netminder Gary Connaughton to the US, where he suffered a broken ankle.
All three players have been named in the side to face Kerry on Sunday, in the same positions they started the Louth game, but it will be interesting to see what action Flanagan takes between now and Sunday afternoon.
In any case, it was a distraction they certainly could have done without.