St Loman's relishing successful spell
By Cian O’Connell
Four Westmeath titles in five years confirms St Loman’s talent and ability. The previous five decades, though, brought pain, but more importantly, planning.
Ultimately, that is why Loman’s Chairman Aidan Davitt feels it is crucial that the club continues to build further on the recent triumphs.
“It is an exciting time, we waited for 50 years to win a Championship,” Davitt says. “So it is great that we have managed to capitalise on the good players we have now.
“It is a very exciting time, we were in the minor final this year in Westmeath too. We are quite strong in all categories and we are lucky enough that our senior ladies have won for the last two years. So it certainly is an exciting time in the club.”
That is very much the case, a gifted collection of footballers have emerged together reflecting the coaching and toil that took place long before Loman’s returned to the senior summit in Westmeath. Sunday’s Leinster Quarter-Final at Glennon Brothers Pearse Park against St. Columba’s, Mullinlaghta, who defeated Loman’s in 2016, will be a revealing tussle.
“I think all these things stem from work put in at underage,” Davitt states. “We were very lucky that we had guys who stuck at it, our forefathers had belief, they concentrated on the kids, on the underage to get a good level of player so we would start winning adult championships again.
“That has happened as we see now. We are lucky enough that we have quite good facilities. We spent a lot of time and invested a lot of money with Croke Park and the Leinster Council in our facilities. That has been a huge help to us.”
The Westmeath Championship can be a competitive environment with Davitt acknowledging the manner in which manager Luke Dempsey has assisted Loman’s.
“It is a very open type club, we are very lucky that we have a great bunch of guys at present that are very committed,” Davitt accepts. “They train very hard and we are lucky to have a great management team in place with them.
“Evidently we have Luke, James Davitt, who was on Westmeath's Leinster 2004 winning team; Frank Aughey came in with us this year, he was involved with different Westmeath panels, hurling mainly.
“He also played football with the club, James played football with the club, and Robbie Kenny, he played football with Westmeath too and he has been involved with several different teams. He actually managed Loman's at one stage aswell so we are very lucky with the guys involved.”
Davitt praises former Longford boss Declan Rowley for guiding Loman’s to glory in 2013 and Dempsey has kept Loman’s in the hunt for honours.
“We won one years ago under Declan Rowley from Longford who is a well known manager,” Davitt remarks. “Declan stayed with us for a second year and we were unlucky enough to be beaten in a semi-final. Declan was a good guy and got the show on the road for us.
“The Executive sat down and we went through a hard process deciding who we thought would be the best man to get the job. Luke was the man we thought who was our number one priority and target.
“Luke was very easy to talk to, he was living in Mullingar, he wasn't heavily tied up at the time with any club. I think he was just after finishing up with Moorefield, so it just suited when he became available.
“We talked to Luke and he was very keen to get involved and he was delighted to come onboard. We have found Luke to be a great addition to our club since he has become involved.
“It has been great. Luke comes with a great pedigree, he has been very successful wherever he has been. I believed we had a great bunch of players and we tried as an Executive to get the best manager that was available.
“Luke was the best manager available in Westmeath at the time as far as we were concerned so we were delighted to get him. Luke was delighted to come to work with us, to work together, and we are after winning three Championships on the back of it. We can't complain.”
Away from the senior triumphs Loman’s haven’t forgotten about the basics in the juvenile ranks, though, which remains a key part of the club. “We are very strong at underage, we put in a lot of time and effort,” Davitt admits.
“We have as many ladies training with us too se we are a very open club in that regard. I suppose the emphasis was on training up our coaches so that when kids come in they are getting trained by a coach that has experience and who has gone through the proper coaching classes. That is very important to us.” Valuable lessons are always available.