Fifty years of playing Westmeath

So, with this early season NFL lull about to give way to a helter-skelter four-games-in-four-weeks phase, it’s time to look forward to Sunday’s clash with Westmeath.  And how better to do so by (a) looking back at our half-century record against the Lake County and (b) instituting a new poll to test the water, like?  (Incidentally, the WTF one following the Donegal match ended with a clear majority – 59% – expressing the view that the performance that day indicated we were having some difficulty in knowing which way was up.  I guess the proof of that particular pudding will, to some degree, be demonstrated by how we get on the next day).

Our fifty-year record against Westmeath is one that, unsurprisingly, shows us coming out on top, though not in an unqualified manner.  We’ve met eleven times over the period, with our most recent clash taking place in Division 1A of the NFL back in April 2005 when we gave them the mother and father of a hiding and, in doing so, pipped Kerry for a league play-off place on points difference.  (Jack O’Connor subsequently put forward Kerry’s failure to reach the play-offs as one of the reasons why they lost the All-Ireland that year so, seen in this light, that made it a very good day’s work by us).

Ten of the eleven clashes we’ve had with Westmeath over the past fifty years have been in the league but the one time we met in the championship is the one that’ll stick in most Mayo supporters’ minds.  That was in 2001, the first year that the back door was in operation, and our one-point defeat (after extra-time) to them at Hyde Park, which followed an extremely careless Connacht final defeat to Roscommon at the same venue three weeks earlier,  made us the first high-profile casualties (we were, remember, reigning NFL champions at that time) of the new qualifier system.

Our overall half-century record against Westmeath is as follows:


In aggregate terms, we’ve won six, lost four and drawn one against them, scoring a total of 16-105 while conceding 17-91.  See what I mean?  It hasn’t exactly been one-way traffic, although our home record – four wins and one defeat – is a solid one.  We’ve both beaten them (in 1973 which, incredibly, was the most recent time we played them prior to that sole championship meeting in 2001) and lost to them (in 1961, when we were beaten out the gate) at Charlestown.

With six of the eleven clashes between the counties having taken place more than 45 years ago, this isn’t exactly one of our keenest inter-county rivalries.  That championship defeat does still rankle though (not to mention the 14-point trimming they handed out to us in Charlestown in 1961), so, along with the two league points that are on offer, we’ve every incentive to do one on them the next day.

8 thoughts on “Fifty years of playing Westmeath

  1. loosing on Sunday is unthinkable. It could be a season defining game and its coming at a good time for us. A positive performance might see us build a bit of momentum for the bigger challenges ahead. It will be interesting to see if Andy Moran starts at wing back. I wouldnt mind seeing Seamus o Shea given a run at MF either.Its about time this fella started to stand up at county level. I expect him to have a Sean Meaghar like influence around the middle of the field in the years to come. Meaghar had a bit of a cult status amongst Mayo fans back in the day. He was the the immovable object in every sense. I remember a friend of mine from Laois playing an inter firms match and he ran into, literally, the great sean meaghar( who was prob 40 at the time). He had never heard of him before but the bould sean flattened everything in his wake that particular day….word went out that he was a former Mayo star. I had to laugh when my friend, who is about 5 ft 6, told me about him. Of course he had knocked over bigger men than my friend. i remember a famous collision between himself and John Newton in a league game in the hyde…if you were there WJ you will prob remember it. id say it was 91/92. The earth shook….both men hit square on at full tilt…the crowd went ballistic and both men went to ground, Brilliant. Today the ref would book both of them

  2. Westmeath have a 100% record against Mayo in the All-Ireland!

    Many people see that game in 2001 as probably the 2nd best victory for a westmeath team.

  3. That’s after the Leinster final win the other year, I suppose? (Surely it’s not the qualifier win over Galway a few years back!)

    Yes, Shane, I think we can be sure that this one is the first all-ticket clash between the counties! I can’t imagine there having been too many ticket hunts for all those league games in the early Sixties.

  4. Hi Ted – I just rescued that comment above from the spam bucket (I think if you include an email address – which won’t be published with any comment from you – it could stop this from continually happening).

    Sean Maher was a solid man alright. He still is, I think: I saw him at one of our league games last year and he was at the do for the minors on All-Ireland night as well and he still looked in good shape then.

    I wasn’t at that match against Ros – that was when I was living in London – but I still remember him clearly as an U21 in 1983. It was Sean’s goal in the second half of the final replay against Derry that ignited the comeback that day and which helped to deliver Johnno’s first and so far only All-Ireland triumph as Mayo manager.

  5. No the Mayo win was better than the Galway one. You’re first one is always special – big win that is.

    Also the tension of the extra time and the fisted point to win the match and the pitch invasion.

    After the pain of the loss to meath earlier in the year it had a great feeling of redemption: that we weren’t for once “just a flash in the pan”.

  6. if we dont beat westmeath,ill eat my own shit,rough i know,just sure.If we dont beat them management needs to be looked at,but thats not going to happen.

  7. As you can imagine, Maurice, the feelings on the Mayo side were a bit different after that result, though, truth be told, I don’t think any of us would have begrudged you the win. It was such a pity you didn’t go on to do Meath in the quarters that year: it really looked like you had them in that drawn game.

    Okay, 1951 – that’s now officially on the record! I do hope you’re not dining on said matter at around 4pm on Sunday.

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