Jack Cooney satisfied with Westmeath's success
By Cian O’Connell
It has been a most satisfying spring for Westmeath so Jack Cooney cut a content figure at Croke Park on Saturday evening.
The Westmeath manager steered the midlanders to Allianz Football League Division Three glory ensuring they will enter the summer encouraged.
Laois will provide the opposition again in the Leinster Championship, but Cooney was thrilled that his team delivered at GAA headquarters.
“It is great for the lads to get a good experience in Croke Park after the last number of outings here,” Cooney reflected.
“No matter what the occasion it is still good to get a good experience, I'm delighted for them. They have worked very hard over the last number of weeks and months going back before Christmas.
“Our motto has just been taking each game as it comes and after last week this was a quick turnaround. So I'm delighted the lads were able to muster up the energy to go out there to put up a winning performance.”
How Westmeath coped with two black cards supplied another source of optimism for Cooney. “I was delighted with the way the lads managed that, they managed it very well on the pitch,” Cooney remarked.
“We were probably a little bit lucky when James (Dolan) got the first black card, we had time to talk about it and discuss it in the dressing room, to get organised. Then they went about their business, but we conceded the first three points of the second half so that didn't go according to plan.
“I thought the lads responded to get back in front. Overall I'm just delighted for the lads, good reward for all the work they put in. It is great to have a bit of silverware.”
Ger Egan’s major proved to be the decisive score when Westmeath took maximum advantage of an opportunity when Laois custodian Graham Brody had left the goalmouth.
“It is something we have probably been focusing on a little bit over the last few weeks and months is to play with our heads up, to see what is in front,” Cooney admitted.
“If there is an opportunity there to go for it. It has worked well for us during the League. We have got goals in important games in the O'Byrne Cup and in the League up to now. I think that goal there was another good example of that.”
Another match beckons against Laois next month and Cooney feels there is significant scope for improvement.
“There is a lot of work ons from that game when you suit back and analyse it,” Cooney stated. “We are delighted with the win.
“I think there was a lot of fatigue there because the lads have played a lot of games since the turn of the year. That performance going forward I know the lads won't be happy with a lot of elements of it. That is the first thing we will be sitting down analysis preparing for the Championship.
“Both teams are very familiar with each other. We had an important win against Laois in the earlier rounds of the league, it kind of got us back on track after losing to Down up in Newry. A cup was at stake, but both teams will settle down now to review this game and look forward to six or seven weeks down the line.”