Lucy McCartan fires Westmeath’s second goal in Sunday’s All-Ireland final against Wexford. Photo: Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile

Lucy: ‘We kind of knew there was a big performance in us’

Lucy McCartan was absolutely beaming with delight when she emerged from the Westmeath dressing room after last Sunday’s All-Ireland final victory at Croke Park.

The scorer of Westmeath’s second goal, McCartan was just as effervescent off the pitch as she was on it.

Westmeath’s positive start provided the platform for what proved a very comprehensive win over Wexford, and McCartan said getting off to a good start was something the team had targeted.

“People were saying we had been scraping through matches all the way through, but we kind of knew there was a big performance in us so I’m glad we got it out there on the big day,” said McCartan.

Lucy is a member of a hugely talented sporting family, with her brother Sam having made an impressive impact for the Westmeath senior football team in 2021. It was put to Lucy in light-hearted fashion that she made a better job of finding the net than Sam did with some goal chances for Westmeath this year. In response, she laughed and said: “Poor auld Sam, it’s only his first year on the panel.”

“I don’t really remember much about the goal. We had a couple of goal chances early on. It was a great ball in (from Ciara Blundell), and I was delighted with it. Paul (Aherne) is our sports psychologist and he’s been going through all the scenarios like ‘when you’re one-on-one with the keeper, what do you do’. So, all of those things were going through my head, but I suppose I did hit it sweetly, that was the main thing,” continued the St Loman’s, Mullingar player.

Even though Westmeath were on a different level to Wexford in the final, McCartan described the intermediate championship overall as “so competitive”.

“Every match we were just up against it. Wexford had that edge in that they were already through the first time we played them, so they didn’t need to win that match. We were kind of wary about that coming into this match as we knew they would be a different animal altogether. But it’s just hard to come back from another team having such a good start,” said McCartan, also a soccer star for Peamount United.

Westmeath had a real ace in the pack in the shape of Sarah Dillon and Lucy was delighted for the Milltown player, who has endured a series of serious injury setbacks.

“Sarah is an absolute legend. She’s had four surgeries in the last four or five years and she’s worked so hard to come back. She never lost her ability through all those injuries. I’m delighted she got the recognition of how good she is on the big stage, she’s amazing,” said Lucy, whose first cousin Vicky Carr lined out at midfield for Westmeath last Sunday.