Westmeath’s hard-fought and unlikely win over Galway was a timely and welcome morale booster for our much maligned senior squad. Along with the u21 mid-week success it will go some way toward erasing the negativity surrounding the squad and management team for the time being at least. Let’s face it, few (outside the squad themselves ) gave them a prayer against the Tribesmen. Not to take from the home side’s great win but Galway themselves must surely have expected to win.
Westmeath trailed by two points as the game entered injury time. Two late points levelled matters before Athlone’s Paul Bannon put the icing on the cake with a last minute winner. It was hugely encouraging to witness the ‘never say die’ attitude of the team even if the football at times was scrappy.
The flip side of that win however is that Tyrone (not that they were ever likely to anyway ) will be taking nothing for granted when they entertain the Lake County in Omagh on Saturday evening. Tyrone are on a mission to secure promotion back to the top flight and I expect they will be less than hospitable hosts when the ball is thrown in at 7pm tomorrow evening, Saturday March 10.
John Heslin marked his return to home soil with an impressive seven points against Galway and not surprisingly the Westmeath faithful will be looking for another big performance from the St Loman’s teenager. Along with Ger Egan, the Tyrone clash will be his third big game in a week and that is a big ask for any youngster.
Gary Connaughton was outstanding between the sticks in Cusack Park pulling off one fabulous save before the break. He will once again have to be razor sharp to keep the likes of Martin Penrose and Owen Mulligan at bay. Peter Harte has being racking up the goals and we will have to keep a clean sheet if we are to have any hope of taking something from our trip north.
Westmeath will have to be more clinical in front of goal if they are to cause upset number two this week. Tyrone are sitting on top of the division and are not hiding their ambitions. It looks like a big ask for Flanagan’s men. The bookies have given them no chance but then again they got it badly wrong last week. Anything is possible.