Focus now on All Ireland qualifiers as Westmeath fall to championship loss

Caulry footballer, Kevin Maguire maintains possession despite the pressure of Evan O'Carroll during Westmeath's loss to Laois in the Leinster senior football championship quarter final in O'Connor Park, Tullamore, on Sunday.  Westmeath now play Waterford in the opening round of the All-Ireland qualifiers. Photo Ray McManus/Sportsfile.

Caulry footballer, Kevin Maguire maintains possession despite the pressure of Evan O'Carroll during Westmeath's loss to Laois in the Leinster senior football championship quarter final in O'Connor Park, Tullamore, on Sunday. Westmeath now play Waterford in the opening round of the All-Ireland qualifiers. Photo Ray McManus/Sportsfile.

Feelings of sporting loss and disappointment amongst the Westmeath senior football squad and management will have to be imminently cast to one side as the championship road to redemption commences with a round one All-Ireland qualifier fixture against Waterford, a game to take place in Cusack Park, Mullingar, on Sunday, June 9.

A two point loss to familiar foes Laois in the Leinster senior football championship in O'Connor Park, Tullamore, on Sunday afternoon will rankle, but Jack Cooney will now need to revive and raise spirits within the camp as the Deise arrive in the Midlands for this must win contest.

Trailing by six points at half time, Westmeath managed to eke their way into winning contention and trailed by the minimum as the final whistle fast approached. However, an injury time Laois point ensured the Lake County tasted defeat against a county whom they had defeated on two competitive occasions previously in the season.

As a collective unit, Westmeath failed to perform, with talismen, Ger Egan (despite scoring seven points - six from placed balls ), John Heslin and team captain, Kieran Martin, failing to reach the heights of their league displays.

Only four points were garnered from play throughout the course of the championship contest and this will also give the management plenty of cause for concern with the qualifying fixture looming.

Westmeath will be mindful of the fact that they have failed to win a 'back door' qualifier since 2013, succumbing to Armagh in the corresponding fixture in June of last year.

This being noted, Sunday's loss was only Westmeath's second defeat in competitive intercounty action since the start of the calendar year and with a division four placed county providing the Cusack Park opposition on Saturday week, Jack Cooney's charges will be expected to return to winning ways with a competent and confident display and ensure their championship campaign extends.

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