The quest for Tailteann Cup silverware continues for the Westmeath senior footballers, a hard earned three point victory over perennial championship rivals, Laois, securing a quarter final berth in a competition which is gaining further traction as it progresses towards the latter stages.
The aspirational route towards Tailteann Cup success remains as the Lake County journey to Carlow on Sunday afternoon (throw in, 2pm ), a place in the semi-final firmly within the sights of players and management.
A large Westmeath crowd is expected to travel and their support will be equally matched by a vociferous Carlow following who will be hopeful of witnessing successive championship victories in Dr Cullen Park.
The Division 4 team shocked Tipperary this past weekend and Westmeath will have to play at full tilt with in game sharpness and focus to the fore if they are to advance to the final four of the Tailteann Cup.
Reflecting upon the victory on Sunday, Westmeath opted to play into the wind in the opening half and were gaining a foothold in the contest when team captain, Kevin Maguire, received a red card on 19 minutes, an incident which interrupted the flow of play towards the Laois goal.
Management rejigged, Sam Wallace reverting to the full back line and James Dolan stepping into the centre half back berth, but the home team were to the fore on the scoreboard at half time.
Laois added to their lead in the infancy of the second half and when Westmeath trailed by three points, an early exit from the Tailteann Cup appeared ominous for the visitors.
However, Sam McCartan, arguably the Lake County’s player of the championship to date, pounced on a Laois error and drilled a goal to restore parity to the contest. This boost, coupled with Laois being reduced to 14 players moments later turned momentum in Westmeath’s favour, further scores from Heslin, O’Loughlin and Moate All Whites clubman, Robbie Forde, ensuring the Lake County were victorious come the shrill of the final whistle.
A relieved Jack Cooney, noted the character displayed by the players during the contest, particularly following the dismissal of Maguire.
“Westmeath have not had a great record playing in O’Moore Park and today was always about earning that victory. As expected, following a championship defeat, we were nervous in the early stages of the game but the players displayed great grit and character to seal the win.
“Sam’s goal was a massive boost when it was needed most and I would be pleased with the manner in which we closed out the game,” Cooney asserted.