The score line says it all. Wexford were simply in a different class to a Westmeath side which had no answer to the movement and scoring power of their opponents. With a few notable exceptions Westmeath were outclassed in almost every sector of the field.
Not surprisingly given the timing and distance involved it was a relatively small Westmeath following who witnessed the most inept championship performance by a Westmeath team in recent years.
But for the outstanding performances of Dessie Dolan and Denis Glennon who kicked 11 points between them, the result would have been more embarrassing. John Heslin won a sizable amount of possession after being introduced at the break and also fired over the best point of the afternoon following a great run. Why he wasn’t on from the start or at least introduced earlier I’d love to know.
There is no doubt that Wexford were out to impress on home soil in front of a large home support many of whom were there for the hurling clash against Kilkenny which followed. As it turned out, Jason Ryan’s men outscored their hurling counterparts by nine points and are sure to bring a big support when they take on Luke Dempsey’s Carlow in the Leinster semi-final.
Westmeath are certainly in transition but judging on this performance it will be some time before we will be competing for silverware. Outside of Denis and Dessie we were toothless up front. Midfield played second fiddle for much of the game while the defence were left chasing shadows.
Flanagan’s men got off to the worst possible start when Redmond Barry goaled after only 26 seconds. Midway through the opening half only a point separated the sides but with Ciaran Lyng and Ben Brosnan on fire, the home side extended their lead to six points by half time.
Wexford picked up where they left off and controlled much of the proceedings in the second half. At one stage they led by a whopping 14 points.
On this form Wexford should have little difficulty in accounting for Carlow in the semi-final and will give either Dublin or Kildare a run for their money in the decider.
Westmeath have been drawn away to Antrim in the first round of the qualifiers on Saturday week. There will have to be huge improvement throughout the field if we are to make the journey to Casement Park a winning one.
I don’t believe Westmeath are as poor as they appeared in Wexford and hopefully with their pride dented they will come out fighting in Belfast and put in a much improved performance.