Westmeath look to the next generation to fulfil thwarted ambitions

It is oftentimes forgotten the Gaelic Athletics Association was founded in 1884 on the twin ambitions of reorganising athletics and reviving hurling as the national game. Whatever was made of Gaelic football after that was considered secondary.
Despite the best will and effort of leading field athletes such as Maurice Davin and Michael Cusack, that first ambition soon failed. In 1885 a rival body, the Irish Amateur Athletic Association (IAAA) was established, less biased towards the “pure athletics” of Davin and Cusack, catering for mostly urban athletics areas.
The GAA’s influence on athletics was wilting, and a new athletics council was established at the 1913 GAA Congress with the intention of refocusing some attention to the sport. It didn’t succeed; by 1922, both the athletics council of the GAA and the IAAA disbanded, paving the way for the establishment of the National Athletic and Cycling Association of Ireland (NACAI), and the rest is Irish athletics history.
As for reviving hurling as the national game, 138 years later there have only …