Tom Cribbin was delighted that Westmeath made an encouraging start to their Allianz Football League Division Two campaign at Cusack Park on Sunday.
James Dolan’s fine goal on the stroke of half-time was crucial as Westmeath were able to hold off a second period Laois rally.
Ger Egan crafted the opportunity for Dolan and Cribben acknowledged the significance of that moment.
“The goal is Jimmy’s trademark by now,” Cribbin said. “He always seems to turn up in that position. You’d say it was luck only for the fact the man keeps doing it. He is great at taking those chances when he gets them.”
Then Dolan was fouled which enabled Ray Connellan kick a free as Westmeath departed 1-6 to 0-5 ahead at the break.
Laois rallied after the restart to draw level and Cribbin admitted his team did well to survive. “We were a bit lucky. Laois got back into it and were playing very well when we we struggling a bit in the middle. We didn’t have a terrible amount of options. We just knew if we could get a score to settle us we could show a bit of composure because we had a bit of a lead built up.
“Laois’s were really on top in the middle at that stage. We were probably lucky to be still with them. Ger got a point which settled it. Maybe some of our first time touch up front wasn’t brilliant.”
Laois cause wasn’t helped by the dismissals of Padraig McMahon and Brendan Quigley as Westmeath finished strongly.
Substitute David Lynch and Egan landed vital scores and Cribbin paid tribute to the ‘leaders’ in his panel. “We had an awful lot of leaders out there. Ger was brilliant, Paul Sharry, Kieran Martin was unbelievable in the centre there.”
Westmeath: D Quinn; M McCallon, K Maguire, J Gilligan; K Daly, K Martin, J Dolan (1-0 ); P Holloway, D McCormack; C McCormack (0-1 ), G Egan (0-4, 2fs ), J Egan; R Connellan (0-5, 5fs ), J Heslin (0-1, f ), D Glennon.
Subs: P Sharry for C McCormack (15 mins, bc ), L Smyth for Heslin (35 mins, bc ), J Gonoud for Holloway (36 mins ), D Daly for D McCormack (52 mins ), J Connellan for J Egan (56 mins ), D Lynch (0-1 ) for Glennon (65 mins ).
Laois: G Brody; P McMahon, M Timmons, R Kehoe; D Strong (0-1 ), G Hanrahan, C Boyle; B Quigley, J O’Loughlin (0-1 ), J Finn (0-1 ), N Donoher (0-1 ), B Sheehan; R Munnelly (0-1,f ), D Kingston (0-3, 2fs ), E O’Carroll (0-2, 1f ). Subs: C Kelly for Finn (50 mins ), K Meaney for Sheehan (62 mins ), E Keane for O’Carroll (70 mins ).
Referee: D Gough (Meath ).