Football

John Heslin disappointed by Dublin vs Westmeath snubbing of Mullingar

Raf Diallo
Raf Diallo

11:15 9 Oct 2019

Westmeath have a daunting start to the 2020 Leinster Football Championship.

Fresh from completing the Drive For Five, perennial provincial juggernaut Dublin are their opponents. But that quarter-final won't be played in Mullingar despite Westmeath receiving a home draw.

Instead, it is set to take place at Dublin's de-facto home venue of Croke Park. This morning on OTB AM, we got the thoughts of Westmeath footballer John Heslin as well as today's co-host and county native Niall Breslin.

Heslin wants the game in Mullingar but for reasons going beyond just the game.

"Of course, we want to be playing in Mullingar," he said.

Buzz

"But including sport into what Bressie just mentioned, the buzz that it creates for younger people.

"We all know that the Leinster Championship has been one-sided. Westmeath got to two Leinster finals. Perhaps in a different era, we could have won one of those finals.

"I was a young kid when Westmeath won the Leinster Championship in 2004 and that encouraged me to continue in the game. Bringing the likes of Dublin and the stars that they have - and arguably some of the greatest players to have played the game - the buzz that would create for the young kids of Mullingar and Westmeath, you can't even put a value on that.

"It's disappointing that it's not even being considered to be in Mullingar."

Bressie, who previously played for Leinster Rugby before a career in music, shared an example of the importance of bringing big-name players to local areas.

"I remember being brought to see Mullingar play in the town's cup final and Joe Schmidt was centre for Mullingar," he recalled.

"I remember the buzz at the town's cup final and saying to my Dad, 'I want to play rugby'. That has massive influence on young people."

You can watch the full chat with John Heslin above via our YouTube channel.

Subscribe to Off The Ball's YouTube channel for more videos, like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter for the latest sporting news and content.


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