Scoring 25 points in a competitive contest usually results in a positive outcome but alas, for the Westmeath senior footballers, the achieving of such a scoring feat was to no avail on Saturday in Pairc Ui Chaoimh as hosts, Cork, condemned the visitors to the third tier of national league football.
Beneath a blue sky and on a surface conducive to fast and free flowing football, Westmeath will reflect upon the 70 minutes in Cork as an opportunity most definitely missed to secure their division two status.
Playing front foot football and attacking with zest, Westmeath were to the possession and scoring fore in the opening half reeling off 14 points over the duration, Athlone talisman, Ray Connellan, raising three impressive white flags, while fellow forward, John Heslin, contributed six points as the Lake County held scoreboard sway at the interval.
Westmeath, who had tasted narrow defeat in their three round robin league encounters, were playing with confidence and their half time lead would have been greater if Sam McCartan’s low strike had nestled in the net as opposed to striking the right hand post.
The old adage, ‘goals win games’ was certainly the case in the second period of the contest - the movement of the Cork forwards started to cause issues for the Westmeath defence and within 10 minutes of the restart the home team had netted twice to attain scoring supremacy.
It was a lead which the hosts were not to relinquish despite the valiant efforts of a committed Westmeath team, the impressive Sam McCartan almost raising a green flag at a crucial moment in the second half which would have restored parity to the contest as the final 10 minutes of the game loomed.
A Brian Hurley goal sealed the hard earned win for Cork, defeat by six points as the final whistle sounded an unjust scoreline on a Westmeath team who gave of their maximum for the county cause.
A competitive victory yet to be achieved this campaign, should such levels of playing application be maintained when the Leinster senior football championship throws in on July 4, aspirations remain high that a win will be achieved against Laois who also suffered relegation to division three this past weekend.
O’Connor Park in Tullamore is the venue for this anticipated championship encounter, victory securing a provincial semi-final place with opposition final four opposition to be decided following the quarter final fixtures.