Ronan Wallace and David Lynch celebrate Westmeath’s victory over Down at Croke Park last Saturday night. Photo: John McCauley.

Dessie hails Lynam's goal scoring exploits

Westmeath's two-goal hero Jonathan Lynam is certainly not noted as a prolific scorer, but he produced the goods on Saturday night as the Lake County triumphed over Down at Croke Park.

Westmeath manager Dessie Dolan hailed Lynam’s fine contribution.

"I'm absolutely delighted for Johnny. I actually texted him yesterday, he got on the Sigerson Cup team of the year so it's been a pretty good week for Johnny. Two goals in a Croke Park final is brilliant for him,” said Dolan. “He's a great man for finding space and getting these opportunities and I do recall him scoring a goal in the Sigerson Cup semi-final.”

Despite the absence of regular defenders Kevin Maguire, Jack Smith and Ronan Wallace, Westmeath denied Down any goals in Saturday's decider.

"With a lot of these injuries, lads are close and they are tempted to play. There have been a lot of soft tissue injuries this year. Kevin has a dead leg and it was unfortunate that he wasn't able to play. We gave him until the 11th hour to see if he could make it.

“But the schedule with game after game doesn’t give them much time. To be fair to the players, none of them complain; they just do as they are asked. Certainly, I feel amateur players need a little bit of an opportunity to have a bit of a life. They do have to work and they are trying to recover from matches. When trying to prepare for the next match, they have to do analysis on teams, and it seems very difficult for them.”

Dolan admitted that he was pleased that his side was only one point behind at half-time, considering the pressure Down exerted in the early stages.

"We were soaking up a lot of pressure and taking on a lot of water in the first 15 minutes. It's very difficult to stop a team like Down. Conor Laverty and Down deserve a lot of credit. They have been the form team (in the division); they were unbeaten and they score a lot of goals. We took the goals away from them and it give us a good opportunity. We were down a few regulars but we have a lot of experience in the team, lads that know what to do, and the leaders came to the fore."

Looking ahead to next Sunday's clash versus Wicklow in Portlaoise, Dolan will pit his wits against Oisín McConville, someone he knows well from punditry duty.

“Oisín is a gentleman. Wicklow were in the same division as us this year so it will be a tough proposition. I thought (working in) the media was tough, standing there preaching seemed difficult, but management is a lot tougher!” Dolan said with a smile.

“It will be a tough challenge, but we're looking forward to it. We're not looking past the Wicklow game at this stage,” Dolan added.