Seamus Nugent with his Hall of Fame award.

Seamus Nugent honoured with Hall of Fame award

Seamus Nugent was inducted into the Hall of Fame as part of the 2020 Westmeath Independent Sports Awards last Friday night.

A hugely popular figure, Seamus has made a huge contribution to sport in the Athlone area, both on and off the playing field.

Seamus was a key player on the famed Athlone football team which won six Westmeath senior championships in a row from 1955 to 1960. Lining out at midfield, Seamus captained the victorious Athlone team of 1958.

He missed out on playing in the final wins of 1959 and 1960, after sustaining serious injuries in a motor accident while working as a lorry driver. The impact of the crash meant his kneecap had to be replaced.

Seamus was held in the highest esteem by his colleagues. Indeed, after winning the 1959 final, the Athlone team made a detour to Tullamore hospital so they could share their victory with Seamus and they presented him with the ball used in the final. In the absence of Seamus, Athlone were captained by the late Michael Scanlon, a close friend of Seamus as well as a playing colleague.

Seamus recovered from the aforementioned accident to win further honours with Athlone in 1963 (junior hurling) and 1965 (senior football).

A stylish footballer known for his sportsmanship, Seamus also represented Westmeath with distinction at all levels. During his time as a Westmeath senior footballer, he was selected on the North Leinster team to play their South Leinster counterparts, a big honour at the time.

Seamus also played both minor hurling for Westmeath and indeed his first championship medal was won in hurling, a minor county title with Athlone back in 1953.

Off the pitch, Seamus has also made a very significant contribution to Gaelic games in the local area. Back in 1981, Seamus (affectionately known to many as Seamie) was a founder member of Garrycastle GAA club.

He was part of a group which saw the need for a new GAA club to cater for a growing population on the east side of Athlone. From its humble beginnings, the club has since gone from strength to strength, winning eight Westmeath senior championships and a Leinster title to boot.

To this day Seamus has the honour of holding the role of Garrycastle GAA President, along with Jack Veale.

Seamus and his wife Bridie (a native of Bealnamulla) have seven children, Audrey, Enda, Fergal, Denise, Brenda, Michael and Dermot. All of the lads played for Garrycastle and the extended family are carrying on the sporting tradition. Enda has been appointed Roscommon minor manager for 2021, while Enda's son Bobby, who plays for St Brigid's, won a Connacht minor medal with Roscommon last year.

Seamus and the Nugent family are also well known for running a shop in Garrycastle for many years, a shop first opened by his parents Mick and Annie. When Seamie and Bridie retired from the business, their daughter Denise and her husband Joe Donegan ran the shop for many years.

The Westmeath Independent Sports Awards were broadcast online (due to ongoing Covid-19 restrictions) last Friday night. The event was supported by the sponsorship of Action Physio, Byrne Carolan Cunningham Solicitors, Baysports and the Shamrock Lodge Hotel.

See more about the Westmeath Independent Sports Awards in this week's print edition.

WATCH - Click below to watch the awards ceremony, including an interview with Seamus Nugent:

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