Maguire confident Westmeath will give Tailteann Cup a good rattle
By John Harrington
The Tailteann Cup was launched the day after Westmeath lost the Leinster SFC semi-final to Kildare, so, not surprisingly, Westmeath captain Kevin Maguire admitted to feeling “low enough”.
He had no doubt either though that once he and his team-mates were given time to lick their wounds they’d be ready to give the Tailteann Cup “a good rattle”.
Westmeath performed very creditably in that three-point loss to Kildare, and he feels if they can build on that performance they can be in the reckoning to go all the way in the Tailteann Cup.
“We would think we have a good chance to win this competition," he said. "We play football because we love it but we also play because we want silverware, we want to win.
“It's no fun going out and losing, we're not here to do that, this really does give us a platform, something that we can get some silverware at the end of the day, which is what it's all about.
“Definitely I feel like...the lads have been working hard all year, now they have something that's right there, just within arm's reach, a few big teams to get through along the way I'm sure but yeah, I think we'll give it a good rattle, yeah.”
Sunday’s first-round opponents, Laois, are very familiar ones for Lake County.
They’ve played each other regularly in both League and championship in recent years, with Maguire having some great duels with the man he’s likely to be marking again this weekend, Evan O’Carroll, along the way.
“We've had some great battles with Laois over the last number of years,” he said. “We always find they bring out the best in us.
“We find out that we bring out the best in them too. Evan is here today...I think I've marked Evan probably five or six times in the last two or three years, between league games and Championship. For us, it feels like a local derby game for us.
“That will bring a good bit of excitement. We got the better of them in the league this year so I'm sure they'll be coming ready for action. But yeah, they'll be a tough team to beat.”
Laois will have home advantage in MW Hire O’Moore Park on Sunday, and Maguire hopes a good contingent of Westmeath supporters make the trip to give their team every chance of coming away with the win.
“I'd love to see the people in Westmeath roll in behind us,” he said.
“If we pick up momentum, if we do beat Laois and move forward into the next stage, I think the semi-finals are in Croker and then the final is in Croker as well so there's great opportunity there for it to build up that momentum.
“It's all about what the GAA do with it now and how it's marketed and whether people take it on as the good competition that it could be. I'd love to see that and we'd love to see that.”
Sunday, May 29
Tailteann Cup Round 1
Laois v Westmeath, MW HIre O'Moore Park, 2pm