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Dublin: 3 °C Monday 16 December, 2019
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Mark Rohan 'surprised' by Flanagan's Westmeath axe

Paralympic champion will be not be involved with Westmeath next season so that he can concentrate on qualifying for Rio.

Rohan was in the Westmeath dugout for the league and championship this season.
Rohan was in the Westmeath dugout for the league and championship this season.
Image: INPHO/Ryan Byrne

MARK ROHAN WAS caught off guard by Westmeath’s decision to replace manager Pat Flanagan.

The double Paralympic gold medallist was hailed as inspiration when he joined Flanagan’s backroom team for the football league and championship this season.

Flanagan, who won promotion to Division 1 this season, had a year left to run on his contract extension before the county board axed him and brought in Paul Bealin.

Rohan revealed that he will not be involved next year so that he can concentrate on qualification for the 2016 Paralympics, where he hopes to defend his road race and time trial titles.

“I was kind of surprised about Pat Flanagan,” Rohan said, “although no county boards really surprise me because they’re a law unto themselves really, especially if you’re fighting politics.”

“[Flanagan] had three seasons with a Westmeath team. You speak to the players and three years is a long time in a footballer’s career so maybe it’s a good thing to change it up, but I wasn’t expecting it.

“Hopefully it’ll go well for Bealin.”

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Rohan was announced as mentor on the Sky Sports Living for Sport initiative yesterday (INPHO/Dan Sheridan)

Rohan added to his medal haul with a time trial silver at the Paracycling World Championships in Canada last month but narrowly missed out on another when he finished fourth in the road race.

Focus now turns to Spain next June where the first Paralympic qualification points will be on offer but after retirement, he has plans to return to coaching.

“It was a big learning curve for me because I hadn’t been involved on that side of it before.

“I’d know a lot of the guys, so it was different to try and step back from chatting and having the banter to being involved in the management side of it.

“They had a great year so it was good to be involved.”

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Niall Kelly

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