|Nickname(s):||The Lake County|
|Ground(s):||Cusack Park, Mullingar|
|Dominant sport:||Dual county|
|Football Championship:||Sam Maguire Cup|
|Hurling Championship:||Liam MacCarthy Cup|
|Ladies' Gaelic football:||Brendan Martin Cup|
|Camogie:||Nancy Murray Cup|
The Westmeath County Board of the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) (Irish: Cumann Lúthchleas Gael Coiste Chontae na hIarmhí) or Westmeath GAA is one of the 32 county boards of the GAA in Ireland, and is responsible for Gaelic games in County Westmeath. The county board is also responsible for the Westmeath inter-county teams.
Westmeath's GAA history is that of a minor county which only recently rose to the higher ranks of Gaelic football. Its 2004 Leinster provincial title was presaged by a 1995 All-Ireland Minor title and victory in the 1999 All-Ireland Under-21 Football Championship.
Another generation of Westmeath players took part in the first week-night fixture in the GAA championship: on 20 June 1935 they played Meath in Kells and lost by 2-7 to 0-9. The footballers won the 1929 junior championship, lost to Dublin by ten points in 1960 and then beat Dublin to reach the 1931 Leinster final. They beat Carlow, Laois and Offaly to go into a 1949 final against Meath, but were well beaten on both occasions. Twenty years later they reached the National Football League semi-final. Westmeath beat Dublin again in the 1967 Championship and the 1984 Centenary Cup campaign and qualified for their second League semi-final in 1994.
In 2001, the team went on an All-Ireland journey through an unprecedented nine games including an extra time win over Mayo in Roscommon. Notable players in this campaign were Ger Heavin, Dessie Dolan, Rory O'Connell, Damien Healy and David Mitchell with other players to star from time to time including Martin Flanaghan, Fergal Wilson, Paul Conway, David O'Shaughnessy and Fergal Murray. Westmeath lost out to Meath in a quarter-final replay. Disappointing 2002 and 2003 seasons followed and Westmeath parted terms with its then manager, Luke Dempsey.
Kerry footballing legend Páidí Ó Sé was brought in to manage the senior team some months later, after he had been removed from the Kerry Senior team management. The following year, Westmeath progressed to the 2004 Leinster Senior Football Championship Final and won their first ever Leinster senior football title with a replayed victory over Laois (having previously beaten Wexford, Dublin and Offaly). However the team tamely exitted their second All-Ireland Quarter Final - losing to Derry. The documentary Marooned followed Westmeath during their 2004 season.
Ó Sé quit Westmeath at the end of a very poor 2005 season and was replaced by his assistant Tomás Ó Flatharta. After a poor league campaign, in which they were nevertheless promoted from Division 2, the team was knocked out of the Leinster Senior Football Championship in the first round by Offaly. However wins over London, Limerick, Sligo and then a historic defeat of Galway in Pearse Park in Salthill set up a third All-Ireland Quarter Final for the team in six years - this time against Dublin. Westmeath did not live up to expectations in the Quarter Final meeting against Dublin and lost by 10 points.
Westmeath staged a strong second half display to capture the 2008 Division 2 National Football League title for the third time, and the first since 2003 following a five-point win over Dublin at Páirc Tailteann, Navan. The score line was Westmeath 0-15, Dublin 0-10.
In the Quarter-Finals of the Leinster Championship in 2009 they were beaten by Dublin by 27 points. Ó Flatharta resigned as Westmeath manager after their defeat to neighbours Meath on 11 July 2009.
Results have improved in recent years and they have reached consecutive Leinster Finals in 2015 and 2016.
- All-Ireland Under-21 Football Championship (1)
- All-Ireland Minor Football Championship (1)
- National Football League Division 2 (3)
- 2003, 2006, 2008
- National Football League Cup (1)
- Leinster Senior Football Championship (1)
- Leinster U21 Football Championship (2)
- 1999, 2000
- Leinster Minor Football Championship (5)
- 1939, 1952, 1963, 1995, 2000
- Leinster Junior Football Championship (4)
- 1905, 1915, 1929, 1940
- Leinster Senior Club Football Championship (1)
- 2011 (Garrycastle)
Winners in bold. Nominations in plain text.
- 1999: Dessie Dolan
- 2001: Dessie Dolan (2nd nomination)
- 2001: Rory O'Connell
- 2001: Ger Heavin
- 2001: David Mitchell
- 2004: Dessie Dolan (1st win, 3rd nomination)
- 2004: John Keane
- 2004: Donal O'Donoghue
- 2004: Denis Glennon
- 2004: Gary Connaughton
- 2006: Gary Connaughton (2nd nomination)
- 2008: Gary Connaughton (1st win, 3rd nomination)
- 2008: John Keane (2nd win)
- 2008: Michael Ennis
Current football squad
The Westmeath hurlers enjoyed a great run in the mid 1930s, when they won the Leinster League twice in succession, the Junior Championship in 1936, and beat Laois to qualify for the 1937 Leinster Senior final. They played in the first division of the National Hurling League in 1985-86, and were the only team to beat Galway in an 18-month period. This team included the 3 Kilcoyne brothers and produced an All Star award for David who was the team's free taker and top scorer in 1986. The first All Star award for any Westmeath player in Hurling or football.
Rickardstown's John 'Jobber' McGrath is considered the greatest player to ever play hurling for Westmeath, and as one of the greatest players never to have won an All-Ireland senior hurling title.
In 2015 the Westmeath minor hurlers surprised heavy favourites Wexford by two points in the Leinster quarter-final, the win has been regarded by the manager as the 'biggest result in history of Westmeath hurling'. The senior hurlers beat Carlow by 2 points in the Leinster Qualifier group and extended their winning run beating favourites, Antrim 1-21 to 0-7.
Christy Ring Cup wins
In 2005, the county won the first Christy Ring Cup and thereby gained promotion to the 2006 Liam McCarthy Championship. In 2006, they beat Dublin in the first round of the Leinster Senior Hurling Championship before losing the semi final to Kilkenny in Mullingar by 14 points. They then lost to Waterford, Galway and, disappointingly, Laois before tamely losing a relegation playoff against Dublin on a scorching July day in Tullamore. Despite progress made in 2006, the GAA condemned the county's hurlers to the Christy Ring Cup - this time without the prospect of promotion. Further rule changes and a Christy Ring win in 2010 allowed Westmeath back into the 2011 Liam McCarthy.
Further progress came on 20 April 2008 with victory in the NHL (Division 2), winning the final against Carlow. That day also saw the Westmeath footballers move into Division 1 of the NFL also with a win over Dublin.
A famous victory over near rivals Offaly was achieved in May 2016 in the Leinster Championship. Westmeath led by some distance for the entire game before winning 2-21 to 1-10.
- The All-Ireland Senior Hurling Championship : the Christy Ring Cup: 2005, 2007, 2010 (3)
- All-Ireland Senior B Hurling Championships: 1975, 1985, 1991 (3)
- All Ireland Minor B Hurling Championships: 1999, 2010 (2)
- All-Ireland Junior Hurling Championship: 1936 (1)
- Leinster Junior Hurling Championship: 1912, 1936, 1963 (3)
- National Hurling League, Division 2: 2008
- Walsh Cup: 1982 (1)
- Kehoe Cup: 1993, 1996, 1998, 2004, 2008, 2009, 2010 (6)
- All Stars
- David Kilcoyne 1986
Mary Henry won the camogie All-Ireland Poc Fada Championship in 2006, the first Westmeath woman to win it. Tubberclair in 1987 and Cullion in 1992 won the Coiste Chontae an Chláir Shield at Féile na nGael in 1987. Aileen Lawlor refereed the All Ireland senior finals of 2002 and became president elect of the Camogie Association in 2011.
- 2006 Camogie Jun B final Westmeath 3-5 Monaghan 1-4 scorers in the Irish Independent
- 2010 Div 4 Tyrone 3-12 Westmeath 1-9 report in Westmeath Examiner
- Irish Independent March 29 2010: Final goal for camogie
- National Development Plan 2010-2015, Our Game, Our Passion information page on camogie.ie, pdf download (778k) from Camogie.ie download site
- Westmeath GAA site
- Unofficial Westmeath GAA football site
- Westmeath on Hoganstand.com
- National and provincial titles won by Westmeath teams
- A look back on the first 125 years of the GAA in Westmeath