Westmeath’s minor footballers bowed out of this year’s provincial campaign following their six points defeat at the hands of Longford on Wednesday evening.
Both sides had suffered heavy defeats in their opening rounds, Westmeath losing to Dublin and their neighbours losing out to Kildare.
With a stronger hand to pick from this time around Graham O’Connnor and his backroom team travelled with confidence to the lion’s den. However the reigning provincial champions were always going to be a tough nut to crack, especially with six or seven of last year’s winning side still available.
Westmeath enjoyed plenty of possession in the opening half but their difficulty in converting possession into scores was an early warning sign. The home side led 0-5 to 0-3 at the break. Two of Westmeath’s scores in the opening half came from defenders with the third coming from a free, highlighting our lack of teeth up front.
The Lake County battled back to make it 0-6 apiece before disaster struck midway through the second half. A converted penalty gave Longford a valuable cushion. Longford had one hand on the cup at that stage and when Westmeath’s captain Paddy Halloway received his marching orders with ten minutes remaining all that was in doubt was the margin of victory.
In the end six points was the difference but neither side will be overly pleased with their display. It is the end of the road for Westmeath while Longford now enjoy home advantage against Wicklow as they bid for a place in the quarter-final.