# emotion
Westmeath's goalscoring hero 'lost a good friend last week'
Kieran Martin bagged a late goal in the Tailteann Cup final just days after Eoinie Farrell passed away.

JACK COONEY HAILED Westmeath forward Kieran Martin for his late goalscoring impact in yesterday’s Tailteann Cup final, which came days after losing his close friend.


kieran-martin-embraces-tom-farrell-father-of-former-westmeath-goalkeeper-eoin-farrell-who-passed-away-last-week James Crombie / INPHO Westmeath goalscorer Kieran Martin embraces Tom Farrell, father of former Westmeath goalkeeper Eoinie Farrell who passed away recently. James Crombie / INPHO / INPHO

A minute silence was held before the game for Maryland clubman Eoinie Farrell and Garrycastle’s Enda Mulvihill, both of whom passed away recently. 

Martin was a former team-mate of Farrell, who represented the county at senior level and won a Leinster minor medal in 2000. 

He arrived off the bench on the hour mark with Westmeath trailing by 1-13 to 1-11. Seven minutes later, he drove through the Cavan rearguard to a fire a goal that propelled them to victory.

Martin shared an emotional embrace with Tom Farrell, Eoinie’s father, in the stand shortly after the final whistle. 

“Kieran lost a good friend last week in Maryland, Eoinie Farrell,” said Cooney. “We spoke about that during the week, as we did with Enda Mulvihill the previous week.

“They’re not forgotten. I think things like that tighten a group and we went out and trained for Kieran that night. He was phenomenal in training that night and you could see he brought that spirit with him into the pitch today.

“I think it’s a mark of how tight the group are. Dessie [Dolan, Westmeath selector] was very close to Enda and Kieran was close to Eoinie. Because they were so close we kind of felt it as a group and we paid respects to it.

“We’ve tried to drive this respect of what we’re trying to do, it’s not about this particular group, we’re trying to improve Westmeath and anybody that has made a contribution in the past, and hopefully we can inspire some people out there to make a contribution in the future, so it’s all about that more than anything else.”

Another hero for Cooney’s team was Kevin Maguire. The veteran full-back pulled off a crucial block in stoppage-time to deny Conor Madden a goal as Cavan chased the game. 

“What an inspirational captain. I’m delighted for him because he’s the most unassuming humble guy you’ll ever meet and he’s driving it on every week. I’m delighted he got to lift the silverware.”

It sealed Westmeath’s first championship title since their famous Leinster final win in 2004, when Cooney was part of Paidi Ó Sé’s backroom team. 

“It’s different times. I learned an awful lot of Paidi at that time, and Luke previously. That was a golden era for Westmeath. Isn’t it just fantastic that we have Cathal [Mullin], Dessie and JK [John Keane] back involved with us.

“The work they’ve done and the input they’ve had is phenomenal. It’s amazing, the players out there now representing Westmeath how much, quietly, they have been motivated by those players over the last number of years and I’m delighted because they’re three smashing fellas.

“I’d like to pay huge thanks to everyone that is involved. This bit of silverware is just a symbol of the effort that they’re all putting in.”

Westmeath are now guaranteed a place in the Sam Maguire competition next season and will get a reported €60,000 grant towards a team holiday later in the year.

“That’s something to look forward to,” said Cooney. 

Reflecting on the “great experience” of the inaugural season of the tier two competition, the manager said: “It’s been a great experience. This is our sixth championship game this year, our fourth in this tournament. We’ve had eight weeks of training with the lads since our runout against Kildare in the Leinster semi-final.

“Today caps it off but I think we’ve grown as a group and as a team in the last eight weeks. That’s what the Tailteann Cup has afforded us to do. Hopefully now we can sit back and assess and see can we push on and be better now from this.”

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