A performance to savour with a positive result to match, the Westmeath senior footballers advanced to the final of the Tailteann Cup with a comprehensive victory over Offaly in Croke Park on Sunday afternoon.
In command of playing proceedings from the throw in, Westmeath exerted their in game authority, tenacity to the fore and moving the ball at pace to the forward sextet caused innumerable problems for Offaly who were unable to cope with the physicality imposed during this semi-final contest.
An opening quarter 1-4 scoring salvo set the tone for the contest with the victor's scoreboard ascendancy rarely challenged during the course of proceedings. One cause for management concern would be a tally of nine first half wides which, if converted, would have extended Westmeath's interval lead of eight points.
A point within 30 seconds of the restart confirmed Westmeath's intent, Lorcan Dolan's beautifully executed goal just reward for the cohesive team display, arguably the Lake County's finest of the season.
Speaking to the Athlone Advertiser on Tuesday morning, team manager, Jack Cooney, noted his team's desire to return to Croke Park in the Tailteann Cup following their exit from the Leinster senior football championship.
"Once we exited the Leinster championship and our entry to the Tailteann Cup was confirmed, it was always the focus of the group to return to Croke Park and savour that winning feeling at GAA HQ.
"It is important that we, as a management and playing squad, taste success in Croke Park as it instils confidence within the group. Having the utmost of respect for Offaly, we prepared extremely well for this semi-final and thankfully we were able to impose our style of play on proceedings from the throw in. Our positive start allowed us to find an early groove in the game and thankfully the end result worked in our favour," Jack stated.
With two weeks to prepare for the inaugural Tailteann Cup final, Jack noted that the time together will further enhance the development of the playing squad as they work towards the final fixture of this competitive season.
"We now have a definite focus on our last game of the season. This is a new experience for the group but one which we are relishing. Training at this time of the year is a welcome bonus and we will embrace our training sessions in the coming weeks as we prepare for the Tailteann Cup final," Jack concluded.