Westmeath chalked up a crucial Allianz Football League Division Three 0-16 to 1-10 win over Wexford at Innovate Wexford Park on Sunday afternoon.
The midlanders, inspired by John Heslin, have now accumulated four points from a possible six in the opening weeks of the competition, which is encouraging new manager Colin Kelly.
“It isn’t an easy place to come, it never has been,” Kelly stated in an interview with Midlands Sport 103. “The quality the lads have in the dressing room is high and the standards the lads have are pretty high, it is a nice venue to play in. Probably we weren’t at our best, we haven’t been at our best last Sunday or here, but again the quality showed. The lads I think won convincingly enough in the end.”
Though Westmeath were not at their best, Kelly is satisfied that two league victories have been recorded so far.
“In the first 35 minutes it was pedestrian paced, we seemed to be able to get forward and we were breaking down a lot in the final third,” Kelly reflected. “It wasn’t ideal, we were playing in difficult conditions, we spoke about the need to be more clinical with our skillset and to use the ball better. We probably did that, but it was lacklustre. That is the reality of it, but we know this week and last week hasn’t been our best, but can you still get it done when you are having bad days, and this was one.
“They are a good set of lads. They don’t need telling it isn’t what it needs to be, but we are back in the mix. We have four points from six, we have two away games, we have Derry and Armagh played, so all in all it is going in the right direction.”
Kelly wasn’t happy with the concession of a soft goal, but he remains adamant that Westmeath can launch a serious bid for promotion.
“One of our game goals is not to concede goals and the way we are conceding them is silly,” Kelly added. “It is always in your own hands and I would have a high expectation of the group. They have a high expectation of themselves and we were very disappointed with our performance last Sunday. Armagh aren’t nine, 10 points better than us, so it is in our hands. How we approach the next couple of weeks will be vital.
“All these games are difficult. It is not easy winning inter-county games. We have three games played in the league. Our goal was to have four points, if we had six it would be brilliant, but definitely not to have any less than four at this phase of the competition. We have that achieved. It is about pushing and planning going forward for the next four games to see where it takes us.”
The Bord Na Mona O’Byrne Cup final has been rescheduled for Sunday, March 11, when Westmeath will face Meath at TEG Cusack Park.