Kevin Maguire, third from left, and Kieran Martin, third from right, at the launch at O’Brien’s Renault Showroom of this year’s Club Iarmhí Golf Classic. Also in the photo are, from left, Andrew Maslin, Tommy ‘Jogger’ Doyle, Cormac Boyle and Sheila Cassidy.

We have to go for it – Kevin Maguire

Westmeath will have to create more chances if they are to progress to the knock-out phase of the All Ireland Championship by getting a positive result against Derry in Newry on Saturday, according to captain Kevin Maguire and his fellow stalwart Kieran Martin.

Both sides go into the match in Pairc Esler (throw-in 7pm) winless after the first two matches.

Whoever comes out on top at the end of the 70 minutes will be through to the knockout phase of the championship. Westmeath will also progress if the game ends in a draw, due to having a better points difference.

Speaking at the launch of this year’s Club Iarmhí Golf Classic, at O’Brien’s Renault showroom in Mullingar last week, Westmeath captain Kevin Maguire said that while his side can take plenty of positives from their recent defeat against Galway, they will have to up their performance if they are to remain in the competition.

“I’m feeling really confident. We put in a decent performance the last day… but we’ve got a lot to do. Derry, they’ll do their best and will be very, very difficult to beat.”

Although Westmeath only recorded three wides against Galway and none in what was an impressively disciplined first half performance, captain Maguire says that their final tally of 11 points will have to be significantly improved on Saturday evening.

Possession is king in modern football, but fortune also favours the brave, he says.

“It’s a game of chess in many respects. You have to get the measure of each other, try to control the opposition and reduce their impact on the game. Then when the opportunity arises, go for it.

“That’s the way it has developed. Most of the top teams are extremely careful with the ball.

“That’s probably the biggest lesson we’ve had to learn as a team over the last number of years. We have to be careful with the ball. We have to wait for the right times.”

Maguire’s long-time teammate Kieran Martin, who also attended the launch along with Westmeath senior hurlers Tommy Doyle and Cormac Boyle, says that “to beat the top teams, you need to be getting a goal or two”.

“We probably had one or two goal chances [against Galway] that we could have taken. Against the top teams, when you get them, you have to take them.

“Galway had one chance, they took the goal. That was probably a bit of a mistake from us, but he took the goal and that was the difference in the end.”

The current group format may have its critics, but Martin says that he and his teammates are relishing going toe to toe with the best teams in the country.

“This is where we want to be and it’s about trying to progress Westmeath to be able to be in that situation every year and to be able to compete.

“We showed last year and we are showing again this year that when we are against the top teams, we’re not too far off them.”