Lake County on a winner with Coyne’s
Denis Coyne, Kinnegad
NO amount of persuasion would have worked on the Old Commando this past week. He had his heart set on visiting the Lake County ahead of their historic Leinster final appearance against the Dubs.
Despite his undying love for all things Dublin, the Old Commando is a GAA romantic at heart and he loves nothing better than to see an underdog have its day.
Not for one moment does he believe that it will happen today but earlier this week he was genuinely excited when we agreed to take him on a trip to Kinnegad in Co Westmeath.
“I’d say they’re still celebrating down there,” the Old Commando said as we left HQ.
“Regardless of the result this Sunday, them lads will go down in history as the first Westmeath team to ever beat Meath in a championship match,” he added.
We last visited this town in 2011 and, as we exited junction 10 on the M4, we had to decide which pub we would check out this time. Once again the Old Commando made the decision for us — without consultation of course.
“We’re going to Denis Coyne’s pub and that’s that,” he said. He proceeded to inform the rest of the troops that Denis had passed away some months ago but that he was a highly influential member of the Westmeath County Board over the years and was one of the men responsible for bringing the late, great Paidi Ó Sé to the county all those years ago.
Unsurprisingly, the Westmeath and Kinnegad GAA flags were flying proudly outside Coyne’s pub and we were impressed by the lovely exterior. We were greeted by an attractive barmaid and she served us without delay. It was pints of plain all round and at just €4.20 they went down a treat with the troops.
There was a very good atmosphere in the front bar and needless to say — and much to the Old Commando’s delight — there was only one topic of conversation, GAA.
There were representatives from Kildare, Meath, Westmeath and Dublin all involved in conversations and the banter was top drawer. There is just one TV in the front bar but nobody was paying it any attention.
We really liked the fully polished railway sleeper sitting directly above the stone-faced fireplace opposite the bar and there were two small timber bench seats and tables on either side of it.
The Old Commando was quick to mention that there was a lovely photo of the 1995 All-Ireland Minor-winning side from Westmeath hanging above the fireplace. There was also a bookcase beside the fireplace with plenty of Westmeath GAA yearbooks to read if you planned to call in for a quiet pint.
“Have ye any hope at all next Sunday?” the Old Commando asked an elderly gentleman sitting beside him at the bar.
“Well, it’s like this,” he said. “We’ve a better chance than the 10 other counties in Leinster.”
The Young Commando was dispatched to give the toilets the once over and he reported back that they were clean with a pleasant odour.
One of the cubicles was out of order, although that seemed temporary, and he said the walls and floors looked quite old.
He was very complimentary of the spacious lounge which he said had at least two TVs, a jukebox and a pool table. There were a vast number of GAA photos to check out and he said there was a framed and signed picture belonging to Celtic FC captain Scott Brown.
We really enjoyed this trip to Denis Coyne’s pub and we’d be more than happy to return again soon — perhaps when Westmeath next win a Leinster final.