Westmeath travel to Ennis for a crucial Allianz Football League Division Three clash with Clare on Sunday.
Having suffered defeats to Kildare and Sligo in their opening two encounters, Westmeath drew a tight match with Tipperary at Cusack Park, Mullingar, last weekend.
Considering how competitive Division Three is, a string of Westmeath victories could put them back into promotion contention. Four fixtures remain for Westmeath, who know that a positive result needs to be secured against a well-organised Clare outfit. “None of the games are going to be easy,” is manager Tom Cribbin's verdict about the upcoming clashes with Clare, Limerick, Offaly, and Longford.
“With the teams we have left to play, if we win those matches who knows. The next game is crucial, same as the Tipperary one was. Hopefully we will get a bit more composure. If we can convert the chances we are creating we will be there or thereabouts in every game. You’d imagine Tipp with all of the Clonmel lads back will be very strong. They should take points during the remainder of the games.”
Cribbin felt Westmeath were unfortunate not to secure the full complement of spoils against Tipperary. “It was disappointing that we didn’t get two points, but the lads worked incredibly hard. We are working on a new game system so that if we do get a run in the Championship that we are able to compete against the top teams.
"Tipp scored two scores up until the 34th minute, one of which we gifted them, the goal. That was the difference in the end to let them get a drawn match. We worked our socks off. You could see in the last 10 minutes that lads had worked hard when they got tired. The system we are trying to develop and put in place requires a savage amount of work rate. We created lots of chances, but they had some very good and experienced players to bring on there.
“I was very proud of the lads and the way they played. The work rate that is required with the system is incredible. It will give the lads an idea of what they need to get up to if they are to keep going with that game plan.”
Meanwhile in Division 2A of the Allianz Hurling League, Michael Ryan's charges host Antrim in an important clash at Cusack Park on Sunday. Westmeath have already triumphed over London and Derry so the tussle with the improving Saffrons will be revealing.