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Westmeath dealt massive blow as key defender set to head to America for the summer

James Dolan is going to Boston ahead of Westmeath’s crunch Leinster tie against Laois.

Image: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

Updated at 12.35

WESTMEATH HAVE BEEN dealt a massive blow ahead of their Leinster quarter-final against Laois, following the news that key defender James Dolan is heading to America for the summer.

Following reports that he had withdrawn from the panel, Westmeath GAA have confirmed to The42 that the Garrycastle defender is going to Boston after informing management of his plans earlier this week.

His decision to withdraw from the panel was described as ‘sudden’, as Westmeath prepare for their crunch tie against Laois in Tullamore on Saturday 26 May.

Dolan is Westmeath’s vice-captain and led the team out in their O’Byrne Cup final against Meath, which they lost by nine points.

Dolan’s situation is similar to that of Carlow’s influential midfielder Brendan Murphy, who made the shock announcement last month that he is also heading to America for the summer.

The news was particularly unexpected, given Carlow’s progressive season to date which included them securing promotion out of Division 4 for the first time in over 30 years.

Writing in the AIB GAA blog recently, Murphy explained that this might be his last chance to get away and said ‘for me, this is the right time to go.’

Along with Dolan’s departure, team captain John Heslin is a doubt for Westmeath’s Leinster quarter-final due to a hip injury.

He has yet to return to full training but Colin Kelly’s side are hopeful that he will be able to feature against Laois.

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