Westmeath's Ronan O'Toole in action against Antrim last Sunday.

Dolan hails solid Westmeath performance

Gerry Buckley

Despite seeing his team surprisingly annihilate Antrim last Sunday, Westmeath senior football manager Dessie Dolan remained pragmatic and focused after the one-sided game in TEG Cusack Park.

His side now face Fermangh on Saturday week (most likely in Ederney during the afternoon, but not yet confirmed) and must secure an away victory to keep their promotion chances alive. Along with Fermanagh, Down and Offaly, Westmeath remain in contention for second place.

The winning bainisteoir was respectful to the visitors in his opening remarks, stating: “As a young manager, I’m just happy with every win I get! Antrim had played a couple of very good games up to this, but we set the tone early and never dropped off. The motivation was there and the application was there. The lads never let up for the 70 minutes and they were very focused right to the very end. Today certainly was a good performance and we played a nice style of football, but Antrim never got into it. We expected a good battle today. They had scored 2-17 against Down. It’s a very tough division. Andy McEntee is a very good manager and they will be disappointed, but we’ve all been on the receiving end of bad defeats. They will bounce back.”

Reflecting further on the last two games, the Garrycastle man added: “It was a solid performance today. I thought last week we were very good for long periods as well, but we didn’t get anything out of it. When you lose, people just see the result. Today again we used lads from the bench who did well. It was nice to see Tom Molloy get some game time today. He has worked hard. It’s important from my perspective to give lads a bit of game time. It’s very hard to keep everybody happy. We are always trying to improve the squad. The underfoot conditions were good and it suited us that fast ground. Our lads are well able to play ball.”

Looking ahead, Dolan stated: “Our next game is away to Fermanagh on Saturday week. We hear now it is changed from Enniskillen at 6pm to Ederney at 3pm. That will be a tough battle. The welcome we got in Down was hot and heavy, and we’ll expect plenty more of that! We hope that the Down head-to-head will not come back to haunt us, and that’s what makes that result last week so disappointing.”

“At the same time, we have to prepare for bigger days in the Leinster championship and the All-Ireland series,” he concluded.