Hackett installed as new Westmeath manager

Brendan Hackett is back in inter-county football management after being appointed as Westmeath's new senior football manager.

Hackett is a well known fitness training specialist and sports psychologist and most recently spent three years as Chief Executive of Athletics Ireland before stepping down last year.

The Monaghan man, a noted athlete in his younger days, previously managed Longford and Offaly at senior level and trained the Irish International Rules squad in the 1990s.

He succeeds Tomas O Flatharta in the Westmeath role, accepting a three-year term.

O Flatharta resigned after four years at the helm in the aftermath of July's All-Ireland qualifier defeat to Meath.

Pat Flanagan, a selector under O Flatharta, was thought to be a front runner for the vacant position, with Brian Talty and Dessie Dolan senior also reportedly in contention.

But the six-man selection committee opted for Hackett, with a statement from the Westmeath County Board detailing the selection process and the eventual appointment.

It read: "The selection committee met four times and drew up a list of criteria for the post. It was considered important that the successful candidate should be involved in the development of all potential inter-county players including Under-21 and senior grades.

"This role should also encompass coaching and games development throughout the county and should integrate with club development.

"The interview board included appointed officers of the County Board and Football Board of Westmeath GAA together with an independent observer with a background in management.

"Interviews were conducted and the candidate recommended by the committee is Brendan Hackett, whose appointment is recommended for a period of three years."

He was ratified at the meetings of the Westmeath Football Board and County Board last night and is expected to be in Mullingar on Sunday for the Westmeath SFC semi-final between Tyrrellspass and Garrycastle.

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