Waterford were deserved winners in the Division 1 National Hurling League final yesterday…
Although the attention was primarily focused on the Waterford and Cork game, another game was played beforehand in Semple Stadium as the curtain-raiser.
In the Senior Division 2A Allianz Hurling League Final, Westmeath defeated Down on a score-line of 5-19 to 1-17.
Notably, two Wexford natives were involved in the Westmeath victory.
Joe Fortune led the team to victory as the manager, while another Wexford native, Richie Flynn, is the side’s Strenght and Conditioning coach.
Speaking after the Down game and the promotion to Division 1 of the National League, Fortune said:
“We spoke about it all week. The narrative all week was about how special it would be for other teams to be up in Division 1. It means an awful lot for the people of the Midlands for people to be coming up there too. There’s a massive sense of pride in that group. We’ve saved the best performance of the League to the final, which is probably no harm. Very proud of them. Very proud to be the Westmeath manager,” Fortune said to MidWest radio.
Fortune is an Enniscorthy native and a former member of the Shamrocks GAA Club in Enniscorthy. The duo had previously worked with each other last year, with the 2021 Wexford u-21 panel.
Fortune was only announced as Westmeath Senior Hurling manager in 2021, and thus, this is his first year in charge of the Senior hurling team. Winning a national title in his first year in charge is a fair achievement.
For many, this win will not come as a surprise, given his recent managerial success and his respect in GAA circles as a top manager.
Fortune has received some success already as a manager. He helped to guide both the Dublin minors (2007) and Dublin u-21 hurlers (2016) to provincial titles, while he also steered Dublin club team Ballyboden St Endas to a county title in 2018.
Now, Fortune can add a National Hurling League title to that list.
Featured Image: Noel Reddy
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