Cooney pleased with passage to final but concerned by hectic fixture list
Westmeath senior football manager Jack Cooney’s post-match assertion that “our two goals came at the right time, particularly the one in the second half (scored by Callum McCormack) which gave us that cushion” neatly summed up his side’s surprisingly facile win against neighbours Longford in last Saturday’s O’Byrne Cup semi-final in The Downs.
However, the Coralstown/Kinnegad man was not getting carried away, calmly stating: “Even though we were playing with a strong breeze in the first half, it is not easy to play with it. When we were playing against it, we got bodies back and controlled the game coming out of defence.
“We are pleased with the win and it’s good to get another competitive game under our belt. We brought a little bit of momentum into training this week having beaten a Division 2 team in Kildare. We wanted to get to the final. We wanted to win today.
“We’re in the final now and it will be another good game against a team a division or two above us (Dublin as it transpired after their dramatic penalty shoot-out win against Meath later that evening). It will give us an opportunity to look at Westmeath lads in that situation.”
The first home-grown Lake County manager in 26 years concluded on a cautionary note. “You analyse each game afterwards and you try and improve on a few things each time,” he said. “We are trying to progress every week ahead of the National League, but there could be a fatigue factor now playing so many games back-to-back.”
“It is something we are going to need to address and look at, but we’re in the O’Byrne Cup final now and we’re looking forward to it.”
While the Lake County lads are highly unlikely to be facing the Cluxtons, Rocks, Fentons and O’Callaghans of this world, such is the Metropolitans’ current lofty standing in Gaelic football that any team in sky blue and navy will undoubtedly be formidable opposition in Parnell Park.
Westmeath take on Dublin in Parnell Park on Friday night at 8pm in the O’Byrne Cup decider.