Westmeath hurlers proved tougher to shake off than many expected when they welcomed the Tribesmen to Mullingar last Saturday. Galway were the hottest of favourites and while they had a few notable absentees it was expected that they would be well in command throughout.
Yet new manager Brian Hanley can certainly be proud of the performance his side produced which saw them level with his native county with a quarter of an hour remaining. There is no doubt Galway were worried at that stage. John McIntyre’s introduction of a number of big guns had the desired effect as Galway pulled away in the final quarter.
The final score does not truly reflect the gallant effort of the Tribesmen whose 19 wides certainly didn’t help their cause.
Paul Greville and Derek McNicholas bagged the Westmeath goals while Brendan Murtagh weighed in with five frees in what was a spirited team effort.
Galway now face Dublin in the Leinster semi-final while Westmeath face Antrim in the qualifiers. On this performance there is still plenty of reason to be optimistic.