Relief at the result rather than satisfaction with the performance summed up the reaction of Westmeath minor manager Tom Carr following his side's victory over Wicklow at Aughrim last Saturday.
Carr's charges showed admirable battling qualities to eke out a 0-10 to 0-7 victory at the Wicklow GAA fortress, and the Westmeath boss said: "They did that the last day against Carlow when it looked like doomsday. We didn't play particularly well; the battling qualities was probably the biggest winner out of the day as opposed to the quality of the football. We got the vital scores towards the end of the game that just kept us ahead."
"The quality of football could have been better in terms of our forward play and I think the fellas know that themselves. We played Wicklow in the league earlier in the year and beat them quite well, but that was a much more determined and battling Wicklow team today.
"I've always found it difficult to come down to Aughrim. I think I've come a cropper here nearly every time I've come down, so this is a change to be getting on a bus with a victory," continued the former Dublin and Roscommon manager.
"It looked like at one stage that we would go in at half-time only a point or two up. I knew that wasn't going to be good enough with the strong breeze blowing down the field. I was worried going in at half-time that four points wasn't enough and I knew we would struggle to get scores (in the second half). From our point of view, a strong rearguard action was needed in the second half. I thought there was some great tackling and challenges. Our defenders have been good all year - the likes of Brian O'Donohoe, Rob Gorman, Luke Corless and Eamonn Quigley have been very solid and consistent."
The win over Wicklow has earned Westmeath a semi-final clash with Meath (due to be played on either July 7 or 11).
"No doubt we'll be total underdogs going in against Meath. We played them in a challenge game earlier in the year and they were hugely impressive, and I know they've huge intentions on winning Leinster. It will be a big day for us but I think we've nothing to lose at this stage," said Carr.
The Westmeath minors have been away in all three of their games in this year's championship, losing to Louth in Haggardstown in the opening round, before recording wins over Carlow and Wicklow. And Carr agreed that these trips have helped to create a bond in the panel.
"Even in my own time with Dublin, it was always great to get a win away from home. It seemed to be worth more than the actual win itself; you were proving to yourself that you were capable of winning away from your own ground," said Carr.
"I have to understand these are minor footballers and some of them have never played at this level before in this sort of environment, and maybe a little bit of patience on my behalf is required," he added.
There were three changes to Westmeath's listed starting 15 last Saturday, and three substitutions were made inside the opening half hour, so there is plenty of food for thought in terms of team selection ahead of the semi-final.
"We've opened up the panel as much as possible and fellas who may have felt they were automatic choices on the pitch, we've tried to do away with that notion; counties like Westmeath always suffer from that kind of thing. We've brought in guys and there's one or two more we're going to bring in over the next six weeks," added Carr.