You Can’t Be Serious - ‘The good life…’
You Can’t Be Serious – ‘The good life…’

This has been a good year for Westmeath GAA. Our hurlers sated us with the quality of the win over Laois – with the bonus of that draw against Wexford. I only went to the Wexford match out of a sense of loyalty and not expecting anything. That drawn game against one of the top teams in the country felt like you had put a few bob on a horse just because you knew the owner and the wager paid 200/1 on the Tote!

Jack Cooney has proved himself to be an outstanding manager and his classy footballers have responded in style. It would be a tremendous achievement to win the inaugural Tailteann Cup; so, best of luck in the final lads.

But you didn’t clock in here, dear readers, to read something you already know. Please bear with us and you could go away excited on account of a suggestion coming up. This could be a ‘do you remember where you were when you heard it first’ sort of moment for you.

Around the turn of the century when our teams were buzzing and we had won an All-Ireland minor title in 1995 and an U-21 in 1999, we just knew senior success could be on the horizon; and so it came to pass in 2004. This was our golden era. I wrote a letter to the ‘Westmeath Examiner’, suggesting that we come up with a new jersey as a statement of intent for the Westmeath of the future.

Wearing my Westmeath shirt in Paddy’s Point, I was tired of women asking me ‘and what part of Galway are you from?!’ My suggestion did get a bit of traction and there was some debate in the paper. Indeed, one reporter put the idea forward as his own; “after watching Westmeath run out on the pitch last Sunday.” I never mind my ideas being stolen, because this week, we are proposing to engage in a spot of thieving ourselves!

Our jersey remains proudly maroon and it is wonderful the airing it is getting this year. And speaking of jerseys, I heard a gem from a Clare woman behind me after her county footballers had beaten Roscommon and their hurlers still in the championship. “I won’t get to wash my jersey this year”, she shrieked with joy! “Up de Banner!”

Every county team has a nickname and ours currently is ‘The Lake County.’ This is an insipid name for a band of warriors going into battle

‘The Lake County’ has no zumph or clout to it.  We need to change it – and this is where YCBS steps into the breach. ‘The Lake County’ is super for tourism and a grand name for a team in a pike-fishing competition – but not for a GAA team wanting to put the fear of God into the opposition. Worse still, like the jersey, it’s not even unique to our county. Cavan and Fermanagh are also known as ‘The Lake County’ – but they don’t apply the name to their football teams. Kerry could call themselves the lake county if they wanted … but they win All-Irelands because they are ‘The Kingdom!’

Does not ‘The Lake County Team’ sound like a group of ‘oul wans’ out for a Sunday stroll in a wooded area?

It is time for change … and the change starts here! Let us be daring and different!

This column proposes that we adopt a new nickname for our county teams. We can incorporate the old name just for historic and nostalgic reasoning.

We need something that will allow the supporters to roar their defiance into the faces of opposition … like ‘The Royals’, (God forgive me!) ‘The Rebels’, ‘The Yellowbellies’, ‘The Tribesmen’ ‘The Premier’ … and so on. How can ‘The Lake County’ expect to win a shouting match against any of those crowd?

A slight tweak here in Westmeath and you will quickly see the difference. All we need to do is change from calling our teams ‘The Lake County’ and instead call them ‘THE LAKERS?’

‘The Lakers’ … that’s yer moul!

Yes, I know it isn’t an original name either. It is used by a basketball team; but they are 5,000 miles – away and nobody will ever know. Better than being called the same name as two counties up the road?

Minnesota claims to have 10,000 lakes and that is how the LA Lakers got their name. I don’t know if anybody bothered to count the Westmeath lakes, but as far as this column is concerned, we have enough to warrant calling our team ‘The Lakers!’

Ronan Leonard recorded a song I wrote in 2004. ‘Tough men in Westmeath’ stopped selling when we stopped winning matches. Now if only that team had been known as The Lakers, things could have been an awful lot different!

‘Come on The Lakers …!’

Don’t Forget – Society is always taken by surprise by any new example of common sense.

Bernie Comaskey Books