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Westmeath chiefs move to try curb common problem after forty sliotars were lost at League game vs Limerick

Lake officials will significantly raise ball stoppers in Cusack Park in an effort to save money after taking hefty hit

Trying to keep your hands on valuable sliotars is a problem for county boards and club executives all around the country and it’s a costly business.

Many teams have a designated person to keep on top of it and while training sessions are usually controllable, sliotars often go missing like there’s no tomorrow when the adrenaline of a match-day starts flowing.

You’ll always lose some but Westmeath are trying to minimise the damage having watched more than three dozen’s worth of sliotars disappear into the distance during their round four Division 1 HL clash against John Kiely’s Limerick earlier this month.

It has gone to the stage that Westmeath GAA plan to significantly raise the height of their ball stoppers in Cusack Park in order to remedy the issue.

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The project will start in mid-April and it should dramatically reduce the number of sliotars and footballs that are lost at the Mullingar venue, which has a Dunnes Stores outlet and an apartment complex at either end.

The nets are also to be moved forward closer to the pitch and while there will be a significant cost involved, Westmeath GAA chairperson Frank Mescall hopes that it will save them in the long term.

“We finally got the go-ahead for it and that will begin our upgrading of Cusack Park. So that’s a bit of good news,” Mescall told delegates at last week’s county board meeting (as reported by the Westmeath Independent).

“It’s badly needed. The Referees Co-ordinator informed me that, at the Limerick game, they lost 40 sliotars. So, it’s (the raising of the ball stoppers) very badly needed.”

With a 12-pack of O’Neills championship sliotars costing €100 and one O’Neills football being sold for €50 each, Mescall expressed hope that players might be more considerate when shooting at goal but he knows that is probably unrealistic.

“I’m sure no matter how high up we put them, they’ll probably aim to go over it,” Mescall quipped.

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