Egan delighted with Westmeath's winning habit
By Cian O'Connell
It has been an encouraging start to 2019 for Westmeath so Ger Egan was delighted that further silverware was added to the collection at Croke Park on Saturday evening.
Under Jack Cooney's shrewd stewardship Westmeath have triumphed in the Bord Na Mona O'Byrne Cup and Allianz Football League Division Three.
Egan occupied a central role for the midlanders scoring 3-50 in eight League matches since January, including 1-7 during the weekend's decider against Laois at GAA headquarters.
"It’s nice to finish out the League with a bit of silverware," Egan says. "We’ve come up here a fair few times in finals and came out empty handed. "It’ll mean nothing in the bigger scheme of things, but for today it’s nice to get silverware.
"Getting two trophies in the one year isn't really a thing we're accustomed to in Westmeath GAA. So delighted to get the win and I think it was deserved."
Cooney's arrival has coincided with an improvement in results so Tyrrellspass clubman Egan is enthused ahead of the summer.
"Jack came in, he's a passionate Westmeath man and he doesn't like standards going too low," Egan states.
"Winning is a habit. We just kept winning and we'll see what the Championship holds. We could go and Laois could beat us by the same and it would be like, 'What's going on?'
"So we can't take anything for granted. That's going to be a really tough game and they're not going to want to lose to us three times in the one year. It's all on that day."
Is it significant that Cooney, a Westmeath native, is in charge of the inter-county team following several outside managers.
"Maybe," Egan answers. "He's got a huge likeability factor. His standards are second to none. And you wouldn't want to cross him.
"You can see it on the pitch. We mightn't play top quality stuff all the time, but everyone is dying on their feet out there, giving everything they can and giving it to the man in the best position.
"Look, he's instilling that in us. I think after three games we had only three points, so it shows a lot for the players and the management.
"There was a lot of do-or-die games in there. We knuckled down and it's for days like this that we do it, getting a bit silverware at the end of it."
Triumphing in the Bord Na Mona O'Byrne Cup Final against Dublin in January brought confidence and momentum to the Westmeath camp.
"It was a final, and there's been a lot of changes in the team too," Egan adds.
"Yeah, it instilled a bit of confidence. We genuinely didn't set out to win the O'Byrne Cup, but we went up that night to put a performance in and I thought we played well that night.
"It's kick-started from there. Winning is a habit, if we'd lost that night it could be a different story. As I said, two trophies in the one year - I'm 10 years' playing and this is only my third trophy. So it's great."