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Kieran Martin captained Westmeath to Allianz Football League Division Three glory at Croke Park.
Kieran Martin captained Westmeath to Allianz Football League Division Three glory at Croke Park.

Kieran Martin thrilled with Westmeath's winning run


By Cian O'Connell

Kieran Martin’s smile told the tale about a successful stint for Westmeath. Saturday’s Allianz Football League Division Three success brought joy and further 2019 silverware.

The Bord Na Mona O’Byrne Cup triumph brought a degree of confidence for Westmeath, who are developing nicely under Jack Cooney’s guidance.

How the midlanders’ are faring with Cooney supplies encouragement ahead of the summer with Martin acknowledging the importance of a Westmeath native being in charge for the first time since the early 90s.

“A manager is a manager at the end of the day, they are all going to bring something different, Jack is something else,” Martin remarks.

“He is a players man, he would do anything possible for the players. All of the management would do that. If we were stuck anywhere he would be the first man to come to collect you.

“The lads know that and they are willing to go that extra mile for him. He is just after bringing a bond here, which people can see, and we haven't had in years. That helps, you are that bit stronger and groups aren't getting through you as easy.”

Cooney’s mixture of passion and purpose ensures Westmeath have acquired a valuable winning habit in the early months of the year.

Kieran Martin during the Allianz Football League Division Three Final at Croke Park.
Kieran Martin during the Allianz Football League Division Three Final at Croke Park.

“You want to win, we are going to make the most of it because it doesn't happen too often,” Martin states.

“I've played in every Division and didn't win too many of them so we should make the most of it. So is everyone else. It has been a long five months training and I'm delighted it has paid off in the end.”

Westmeath stayed cool to secure victory over Laois at Croke Park which added to the feel good factor a week after earning promotion to Division Two.

“Winning is a habit, I say it the whole time,” Martin remarks. “When we were on that slope we were in contention to win games, but we probably just didn't know how. Even there we were probably under pressure, but we still stayed in control.

“That comes with winning and closing out games which we just weren't doing. The more we do that the better we will get at it. You can see when we got the confidence up and how to do it by working hard anything can happen.”

Westmeath now approach the Leinster Championship armed with some hope and expectation following a splendid start to the campaign.

“It is good, it has been better than we expected,” Martin admits. “Two competitions, two trophies, you can't do more than that. We have two more to go so hopefully we can push on to see, you never know, you have to live big and just hope for the best.”

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