Westmeath suffered a disappointing Leinster Senior Football Championship quarter-final 4-13 to 1-12 defeat against Laois at Bord Na Mona O'Connor Park on Saturday evening.
Paul Kingston was the star of the show for the winners, notching a hat-trick of goals as a depleted Westmeath outfit were unable to cope. An injury to Darragh Daly early in the second half proved to be a key moment according to manager Colin Kelly.
"It was very disappointing, you can't concede the goals we conceded and expect to get anything from the game," manager Colin Kelly remarked in an interview with Midlands Sport 103. "We lost a foothold at midfield when Darragh went off, he was a huge loss. Three, four, or five scores we conceded unanswered at the second half meant we were pressing the game and from there it is going to be very difficult. Ultimately it proved that way, but at the end of the day lads gave all they had and that is all you can ask."
Trailing 0-10 to 0-6 at the break, Kelly still felt that Westmeath were primed to make a significant impact after the restart.
"We felt we were in a decent position, our shot selection wasn't great in the first half and probably lost a foothold in the last five or 10 minutes," Kelly said. "For long periods in the first half we were dominant, we just gave away a couple of silly, silly goals in the second half. That is going to happen when you are pressing the game. At the minute it is just a deflated feeling, I'm very disappointed for the lads because they have given a lot of commitment."
Westmeath will face Armagh in a demanding Round 1 Qualifier on June 9 in Mullingar following a tough spell with injuries and player unavailability.
"It is documented the experience and talent we have lost within the group," Kelly admitted. "It was testament to the lads they pushed it on and tried to make it the best they can. I just felt we didn't get the luck or whatever, but in terms of effort I can't thank the lads enough for what they did."