Westmeath hurlers looking to bounce back from disappointing final loss

A dejected Alan Cox ponders what might have been after the Joe McDonagh Cup final loss

A dejected Alan Cox ponders what might have been after the Joe McDonagh Cup final loss

Westmeath manager Michael Ryan is hopeful the midlanders can deliver against Wexford in Saturday evening's All Ireland Senior Hurling Championship preliminary quarter final clash at TEG Cusack Park, Mullingar (7pm throw-in ).

Last Sunday's 2-26 to 1-24 Joe McDonagh Cup Final defeat to Carlow at Croke Park was a blow, but Ryan believes Westmeath can respond.

Carlow bagged goals from Chris Nolan and James Doyle, but a late Niall O'Brien major for Westmeath proved to be a consolation.

Ryan wants Westmeath to test Davy Fitzgerald's outfit this weekend.

'It’s going to be hard to lift the team, but we have to do it, there’s no other way around it,' Ryan says.

'Wexford will come to town smarting after defeat to Kilkenny, and they’ll be looking for a big performance to get their season back on track.

The only consolation is that we’ve always played well in Mullingar against the bigger teams, and hopefully we’ll do it again,' Ryan said.

Ryan was disappointed with how Westmeath fared at GAA headquarters against Carlow, who were primed for the inaugural Joe McDonagh Cup decider.

'Overall from start to finish, we were never really at the pitch of it I thought,' Ryan reflected. 'We missed a few chances early on and it seemed to drain a bit of confidence out of the team.

Let’s be straight about one thing, the best team won. They’re a serious team, and probably a much better team than people give them credit for. Not alone are they big strong men, but they can hurl as well.

From our point of view, we’re disappointed. We just didn’t do ourselves justice on the day. We felt at half-time we still had a good chance, but in the second half we gave away a bad goal at the start.

We were always trying to come back, clutching at straws. We didn’t play at anything like our potential, there can be no doubts about that,' Ryan added.

Westmeath weren't clinical enough initially according to Ryan.

'We had six wides in the first six minutes, and that’s certainly not a recipe to win big matches,' the Westmeath boss remarked.

That’s what it does, you drive the ball wide continuously and it saps a bit of confidence out of the team, and that’s probably what happened us.

The lads tried hard, no faulting them, they are a great bunch of lads and they’ve worked hard all year, and the last couple of years. It’s didn’t happen, but at the end of the day we can look back on it and have no complaints.

When you cross the white lines in Croke Park, you have to perform, and we’re disappointed because we didn’t do ourselves justice,' Ryan concluded.

Roscommon eager to progress to Super 8s

An interesting All Ireland Senior Football Championship Round Four Qualifier between Roscommon and Armagh is scheduled for O'Moore Park, Portlaoise on Saturday (3pm throw-in ).

Having suffered a narrow defeat against Galway in the Connacht decider Roscommon manager Kevin McStay is hoping for an instant response against Armagh, who have generated some momentum this summer. In Ulster, Armagh lost to Fermanagh, but they have subsequently beaten Westmeath, Sligo, and Clare in the qualifiers.

With a place in the Super 8s the prize for the winners, McStay acknowledges the importance of the game for Roscommon and Armagh.

'We know we were close to Galway, but ultimately we weren't good enough to beat them,' McStay told GAA.ie

'We had our moments, it didn't happen, we have to brush ourselves down, to go again. If we are good enough we will react on Saturday, if we aren't good enough that is another day's work. With a minute and a half to go in the Connacht Final it was level pegging, nothing in it.

We had missed some chances, Galway missed some chances, it was going to be the next big play. Unfortunately Galway got it, that is life. If you look at the year previous when we got a jump on Galway, they didn't become a bad team overnight. The following year they recovered, tidied themselves up, they got to a National League Final, they were unbeaten in Division One.

We won't know until the weekend, but everything we have done since we lost to Galway is good. We have trained well, we are healthy, we are fit, we have a good attitude and we have parked Connacht. We have tried to get over the disappointments and frustrations as best we can, McStay pointed out.

The popular Roscommon boss still believes that his promising team can develop further.

'I certainly accept that there is a fork in the road at the weekend. One team is going to win, to carry on. The other team is going to fall back. The hope for us is that we are the team that drives it on. We have been fortunate that we had the longest break, we've had a three week break due to playing a week earlier than the other provincial losers. That was good. The time between losing your province and going out the next day is critically important.

There is a period of mourning or grieving or whatever you want to call it that you just have to get through. Then you have to start building, but if you only have a six or seven day turnaround it can be pretty tough to do that,' McStay concluded.

Provincial loss for Westmeath ladies

Westmeath suffered a 5-11 to 2-8 TG4 Leinster Ladies Final defeat against a brilliant Dublin team at Netwatch Cullen Park on Sunday. The midlanders battled throughout, but they were outclassed by Mick Bohan's excellent Dublin outfit, who led 3-5 to 1-4 at the interval.

Sinead Aherne, Niamh McEvoy (2 ), Noelle Healy, and Lindsey Davey all bagged goals for Dublin, while Aoife Connolly and Leanne Slevin netted for Westmeath. In the All Ireland series Dublin are grouped with Mayo and Cavan, while Westmeath will face Galway and Waterford.


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