Westmeath footballers secure Division 4 title

Westmeath earned silverware at Croke Park last Saturday afternoon when defeating Wexford by 2-24 to 2-11 in the Allianz Football League Division Four Final.

The Midlanders were always in control, with John Heslin nailing eight points, while Ger Egan (penalty ) and Shane Dempsey scored Westmeath’s goals.

Kieran Martin was another prominent figure scoring four points for Westmeath, who face Offaly in the Leinster SFC at O’Connor Park, Tullamore, on June 11.

It was a satisfactory end to Westmeath’s league campaign and manager Tom Cribbin expects to make a summer impact now.

“If we’ve got our strategy right, and I think we have, from the point of view of fitness and the conditioning work that we’ve done, then I think we’re still going to be able to perform in the championship this year,” he said. “It doesn’t guarantee you’ll win, but if we play to our full potential then I think we’re still a very good team and that we can compete with the top teams.

“We didn’t approach the league with any disrespect to the teams in Division 4 either, we treated them with serious respect. We were brought down to the very bottom of Waterford for one game, on the Cork border, couldn’t have got more southerly a point in Ireland, and we went down the night before to prepare properly and to make sure we were focused on that game and we left nothing to chance.”

Westmeath generated momentum this spring, offering Cribbin great encouragement.

“Winning matches always breeds confidence,” he said. “Without a doubt, winning matches, as we’ve been doing, is far better for any team than losing them as we had been doing in previous campaigns.”

Cribbin also feels that the depth of the Westmeath panel has improved considerably.

“We have an incredible squad now, any of the lads that came on, and even some of the guys that didn’t get the opportunity to tog out, if any of them had started on my XV, they would have acquitted themselves well. The level of intensity at training this year has been huge. Some of our in-house matches have been more competitive than our league games.”

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