Live

LIVE: Off The Ball

07:00 PM-10:00 PM

LIVE: Off The Ball
Advertisement
Hurling

The 32 Mount Rushmores | Westmeath's Greatest Sportspeople

It's time for some more tough decisions on OTB AM this Friday morning - as we hear Westmeath's of...



The 32 Mount Rushmores | Westm...
Hurling

The 32 Mount Rushmores | Westmeath's Greatest Sportspeople

It's time for some more tough decisions on OTB AM this Friday morning - as we hear Westmeath's official sporting Mount Rushmore picks.

Our own Adrian Barry is the man with the pressure of The Lake County on his shoulders - he'll be joined by Conor Moore (aka Conor Sketches) who will have the power to amend one of his picks at the end.

We've already heard from a number of counties as we look to fill four spaces for each of the 32, and it's fair to say there hasn't always been agreement.

When you see this extensive long-list for Westmeath, we're expecting this one to be no different!

So who makes your Westmeath sporting Mount Rushmore? And where in the county should it be built?

===

GAELIC FOOTBALL:

  • Dessie Dolan – one of the finest footballers of his generation who would have made any county team in his pomp during the 2000s. Probably Westmeath’s greatest ever footballer, big factor in the 2004 Leinster success when he also picked up his only All Star.
  • John Keane – also won an All Star in 2004 but stands alone in having won a second in 2008. Bit of the Denis Irwin’s about the Rosemount corner back, not only in a positional sense but also in the sense that he went about his work quietly and efficiently, was an 8/10 every game.
  • Rory O’Connell – the county’s first ever football All Star who was often compared with his namesake Mick. Brilliant midfield partnership with 2004 captain David O’Shaughnessy, lorded the air at a time when it was the sole focus for primary possession.
  • Willie Lowry – arguably the best all round player to have come out of the county. A dual player, big scoring midfielder of the ‘80s, good off the left and right, toured as the All Star’s one dual star pick (yes it was a thing for a  while) in 1982.
  • Spike Fagan – won 8 county titles with Mullingar Shamrocks and played county football for nearly 15yrs, so highly thought of outside the county that he played on three different compromise rules teams including winning Man of the Match in one of the 1986 tests. Suffered from not having had a team around him during some baron years (weren’t they all!).
  • Fergal Murray – one of the few players to have the Westmeath holy trinity of Minor and U21 All-Irelands as well as the 2004 Leinster Championship.
  • Mick Carley - another worthy of mention on the list for his exploits in the maroon and white which lasted nearly a full 20yrs! Holds what must be a pretty unique distinction have lined out for the Westmeath minors and seniors on the same day in 1958. Also in the conversation for the greatest of all time in the county.

24 July 2004; Dessie Dolan, Westmeath, in action against Paul McDonald, Laois. Bank of Ireland Leinster Senior Football Championship Final Replay, Westmeath v Laois, Croke Park, Dublin. Picture credit; Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE

HURLING:

  • David Kilcoyne – the county’s first ever All Star in any code in 1986, it would be nearly 20yrs before another would arrive which underlines the significance of the achievement. He was the main reason for Westmeath being promoted from Division 2 to Division 1 that year, he scored 1-08 against Tipperary in Mullingar, a result that ultimately meant Westmeath edged out Tipp for automatic promotion.
  • Brendan Murtagh – arguably one of the greatest hurlers in the county. Still active.
  • John 'Jobber' McGrath - county hurler across the 1950s and '60s, held in very high esteem by those who saw him hurl and rightly makes the long list.

CAMOGIE:

  • Pamela Greville – in 13 years the Westmeath camogie team have progressed from a Junior B team to senior hurling and few would argue that it wouldn’t have happened without the scores and inspiration of Pam Greville. They were 7pts down in the Intermediate final against Galway last year, Greville scored 9pts and they won by two. A class act who will hopefully get to show her quality on the national stage at senior level once sport returns.

BOXING:

  • Joe Ward – heading into an exciting time for the Moate man in the pro boxing game, he already has a truck load of medals from his amateur days. A World Junior and Youth Champion, three time gold medallist in the Europeans but came up just short in two World finals against the Cuban Julio Cesar de la Cruz – still bagged two silvers. Qualified for the 2016 Rio Olympics but was controversially beaten in the first round.
  • John Joe Nevin – not the same volume of medals as his fellow county man Ward but the quality is second to few. One European gold in Minsk in 2013 at the European Championships, two bronze on the World stage – twice losing by a single point on count back but nonetheless his 2011 bronze in Baku saw him become the first Irish male boxer to win two World Championship medals and his crowning glory – silver at London 2012 - saw him become the first Irish male to medal at European, World and Olympic level, what a career. Still to prove himself at pro ranks.

25 October 2013; Joe Ward, right, Moate BC, Co. Westmeath, representing Ireland, exchanges punches with Julio Pereza, Cuba, during their Men's Light-Heavyweight 81Kg Semi-Final bout. AIBA World Boxing Championships Almaty 2013, Almaty, Kazakhstan. Picture credit: Paul Mohan / SPORTSFILE

SOCCER:

  • John Aldridge – has Galway and Westmeath roots, plenty will question his inclusion and that’s fair enough. Aldo’s great grandmother was Mary Mills from Athlone and that’s how he qualified for Ireland. He doesn’t hold the same links with the county as Kevin Kilbane would for Mayo, for example, but there weren’t many complaining when he lashed in two against Malta to get us to Italia ’90.
  • Turlough O’Connor – there’s no recency bias on this list and Turlough O’Connor is a bona fide top contender to make the final four. Just ask any Dundalk or Bohs fans of a certain age about him. A League of Ireland legend who remains in the top five all time League scorers with 178 goals to his name. As a manager with Athlone he won the League in 1981 and ’83 and also won three League Cups. He had a frustrating time with injury and homesickness after signing for Fulham in 1966 before eventually telling manager Bobby Robson he wasn’t going back. Won 7 caps for the Republic of Ireland too.
  • Alan Sheehan  - one of the very few Westmeath natives to have cut a career in the English club game. Currently at Lincoln in League One he's played at some big clubs over the last 17yrs including Leicester and Leeds. Has Ireland caps at U21 level but never made the step up to senior, still a worthy inclusion.

RUGBY:

  • Robbie Henshaw – many have shied away from putting active players on their Mounts but despite being just 26yrs old he has to be in contention. 43 caps for his country, injury has robbed him of another 12 to 15. Just look at his record – made his Connacht debut at 19, part of the first ever Connacht side to win the Pro 12, a Heineken Champions Cup winner with Leinster in 2018, a runner-up in 2019, back to back Pro 14 winner in both of those years, a British and Irish Lion in New Zealand in 2017 before injury cut short his tour before the first test, scored the try that beat the All Blacks in Chicago – an incredible career already and plenty more to come.
  • Katie Heffernan – the Mullingar native is part of the Ireland 7s programme. She’s only 21 so worth a mention – watch this space.

19 October 2019; Robbie Henshaw of Ireland scores a late try during the 2019 Rugby World Cup Quarter-Final match between New Zealand and Ireland at the Tokyo Stadium in Chofu, Japan. Photo by Juan Gasparini/Sportsfile

PARALYMPICS:

  • Mark Rohan – another hot contender for the final four. Double gold medallist at London 2012, twice a World Cup winner and a silver medallist in Spain too as well of course as his World Championship gold in Canada in 2012. Played in a Leinster football final with Marist College, was part of the Westmeath minors and into the U21s too which indicates he was always destined for the top of his game and so it turned out.

RACING:

  • Michael and Eddie O’Leary – seven time National Hunt Champion, back to back Aintree Grand National Champion with Tiger Roll (emulating the great Red Rum), Irish Grand Nationals, Gold Cups and Cheltenham wins galore. Gigginstown have paraded the maroon and white at home and abroad in distinguished company and often come out on top. The operation we’re told is winding down, maybe that impacts their legacy 20yrs from now but another contender for Westmeath’s Mt Rushmore but is it Eddie or is it Michael who deserves the sculptor’s chisel?

===

Who would make your top four? Let us know in the comments! 

Here is Nathan Murphy's selection of Mayo's Mount Rushmore from Episode One!

Here is Colm Boohig's selection of Cork's Mount Rushmore from Episode Two!

Here is Will O'Callaghan and Paul Rouse's selection of Offaly's Mount Rushmore from Episode Three!

Here is Shane Hannon and Gráinne McElwain's selection of Monaghan's Mount Rushmore from Episode Four!

Here is Diarmuid Lyng and Liam Griffin's selection of Wexford's Mount Rushmore from Episode Five!

Here is Neil Treacy and Jack Anderson's selection of Limerick's Mount Rushmore from Episode Six!

Here is Enda Coll and Kieran Cunningham's selection of Donegal's Mount Rushmore from Episode Seven!

Here is Máire-Treasa Nic-Cheallaigh and Michael Lyster's selection of Galway's Mount Rushmore from Episode Eight!

Download the brand new OffTheBall App in the Play Store & App Store right now! We've got you covered!

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


Read more about

Adrian Barry Conor Moore Dessie Dolan Mount Rushmore Robbie Henshaw Westmeath Westmeath GAA