Westmeath face Laois in quarter final

John Heslin. Photo: Eoin Noonan/Sportsfile

John Heslin. Photo: Eoin Noonan/Sportsfile

An interesting Leinster SFC quarter-final between Westmeath and Laois takes place at Bord Na Mona O’Connor Park on Saturday evening, 5pm throw-in.

It promises to be a lively game, with Westmeath eager to build on a solid Allianz Football League Division Three campaign under new manager Colin Kelly.

Laois claimed the Division Four title and followed that up with a stunning recovery mission against Wexford in the Leinster preliminary round. John Sugrue’s team eventually prevailed following a great comeback and they will be anxious to produce a similarly defiant display in Tullamore. Westmeath, though, can take real confidence from their provincial campaigns in 2015 and 2016 especially.

Talisman John Heslin was satisfied with how Westmeath fared during the spring: “I love playing in the League with games week in, week out or every second week,” Heslin said. “Each game is very exciting and each game has a huge bearing on how the League is going to go for you. They all mean something.

“You target your first one or two games to get a good result. If you lost in one of those games it is really an uphill battle then. We lost to Armagh, that was at home, that was really a sucker punch. We would have been targeting to win our home games in order to stay up first of all and getting an away win would set you up for promotion. We still had a chance after that to get promoted, but we went down to Longford and were beaten.

“Unfortunately we didn’t get promoted, we were disappointed, but overall when you take a step back to assess our last say five to eight years you’d have to say it was a positive league campaign, in the sense that it was the first year for a while that we haven’t been promoted or relegated.”

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