Paul Sharry continues to deliver for Loman's
By Cian O’Connell
Four county titles in five years confirms St Loman’s burst of dominance in Westmeath, but Luke Dempsey’s team are delivering in Leinster now.
Two stirring come from behind wins over St Columba’s, Mullinalaghta and Simonstown Gaels ensures Loman’s enter Sunday’s interesting provincial decider with Moorefield encouraged.
Paul Sharry, a distinguished and dynamic performer for Westmeath and Loman’s during the past decade, is thrilled by the progress.
“It's brilliant for the club, first ever time Loman's have made it into a Leinster final,” Sharry says. “So it's a huge achievement. For the underage to see what's achievable in the club.
“Completely new territory, never been achieved before. But underage players can look at it and say 'them lads are just ordinary lads after making a Leinster final, why can't we do it?'. “
That type of attitude been demonstrated by Loman’s with the recent triumphs illustrating their grit and resolve. Sharry acknowledges that Loman’s didn’t make life easy for themselves against either Mullinalaghta or Simonstown.
“Yeah not at all,” Sharry replies. “I was just saying it, I'd give credit to Simonstown for that. We felt we were going to start fast because we'd the home pitch and we felt we'd make the advantage count at home.
“We should be the quicker starting team at home rather than them having to adjust to Cusack Park. But they just started off at 100 miles an hour. It was like our club playing an inter-county team.
“That's huge credit to them, they were flying into tackles, they weren't giving any lads a second on the ball and I think that was a shock to some of our more inexperienced players.
“They were struggling to adjust to that at first. But then after the first 15 minutes, when we got up to the tempo of it, settled and clawed our way back into the game.”
Watching a well drilled Garrycastle outfit flare to national prominence in 2011 and 2012 showed Loman’s the levels a team from Westmeath could reach.
“I would have played with Dessie (Dolan), Doron (Harte), Gary (Dolan) all these lads at inter-county level,” Sharry says.
“You're looking at them and seeing lads that put a lot of effort into it, there was a good group of them there, they got the rub of the green, they stayed determined and they worked hard at their game.
“They got to an All-Ireland final and won Leinster. You're thinking it could be the same for us, if you do exactly what you need to do to win. You need that tiny little bit of luck but if you work hard and you get your things right and you do put your effort in, the return will come.”
Sharry is adamant that the increasing depth of the Loman’s panel is why they have made such an impact outside of Westmeath in 2017.
The big thing is our panel this year made a massive difference,” Sharry states. “We would have always, for the past four or five years, had a strong 15 on the team and then after that we'd have good subs to come in and do a job, whereas this year our subs that come in could be match-winners.
“They're just as good as those that start. That's the big difference. We've a solid squad which is a huge thing for the club.”
Dempsey, who previously was in charge of Moorefield, has also forged a connection with Loman’s during their three-in-a-row stint too.
“He's some record,” Sharry acknowledges. “It's unbelievable. The thing with Luke is he's probably one of the nicest men you'll ever meet.
“He's 100% honest, genuine. He'd be chatting to you. He's very good at analysing stuff so I'd be fairly certain he'd come out with ways for us to take advantage against them and areas we need to be careful with. It's a good aspect and with him, he'd be very down to earth, he'd see the novel side of it.”
This weekend the first team from outside Dublin since 2011 will claim Leinster glory so a significant opportunity exists.
“I'd say every club viewed it like that when Vincent's lost,” Sharry says. “It'd be similar if Dublin got beaten in the first round of the Leinster Championship.
“I was chatting to Daryl (Flynn) from Moorefield - and it's not offensive or anything like that - but we'd view this game as winnable no more than they'll view it as winnable. It's a 50-50.
“If we were going in against Vincent's, they'd raging hot favourites and we'd be underdogs. Whereas now you're going in and either one of us could win it.” An intriguing game and occasion beckons at O’Moore Park.