Having suffered in their first four Allianz Football League Division Three matches, Westmeath delivered a much improved performance at the Gaelic Grounds to hammer Limerick by 3-14 to 0-7.
Tom Cribbin’s charges controlled the match from start to finish with Limerick struggling to cope against the Midlanders. John Heslin was influential throughout for Westmeath, while the two opening period goals grabbed by James Dolan captured just how fluid the visitors were.
Westmeath did most of the damage in the first half as Dolan (2 ) and the excellent Heslin struck goals which pleased Cribbin: “We started very well, we kept the pace and intensity up throughout,” he said. “Lads in every sector seemed to click which was brilliant.
“We played very well in the middle of the park, Daragh [Daly] and Denis [Corroon] really seemed to click. They were an unbelievable unit. John Heslin was brilliant at centre forward. The quality of the ball going in was exceptional; he was a good target.
The one slight worry was a hamstring injury suffered by John Connellan, while Paul Sharry is not expected to be available for the remainder of the league. An excellent performance from Callum McCormack, who contributed five points, was another encouraging factor according to Cribbin. “Callum was fantastic, he likes being in near the goals,” he said. “I thought him and Shane (Dempsey ) were making great runs early on.
“You have power as well as pace in there. We’ve had them in there before, but it is down to the quality of ball going into them. If the quality of ball is good no matter who is in there they will do damage. It has to be quality ball, though. The quality of the ball that was going in told us everything about the game.”
Retaining Division Three status remains Westmeath’s mission: “The lads have been working extremely hard. People were doubting were we doing the work because the results just weren’t coming,” Cribbin said. “It showed we could play at a tempo and a pace which proved we were doing the work all along. I’m delighted for the players, they really needed it, and we got it.
“We want to stay in Division Three minimum, that is what we have to concentrate on. We need to get performances like that to keep going in the right direction. It is important to carry it on until the next stage.”