Jack Cooney’s tenure as Westmeath manager continues on an upward curve after securing the Allianz Football League Division 3 title following a hard-fought win over Laois this afternoon in Croke Park.
Laois started the brighter of the two teams with Donie Kingston, in particular, looking dangerous throughout the opening exchanges. Early points from Kingston, Evan O’Carroll and Eoin Lowry had them a few points in front.
However, the points scoring soon dried up as Laois started to increase the wide count. Paul Cahillane, in particular, will rue his missed opportunity, shooting wide when it looked as though he had created enough space to squeeze the ball past Eoin Carberry and into the Westmeath goal.
Westmeath started slow but it wasn’t long before they found their groove with Ger Egan proving to be very potent in attack for the Lake County while his corner forward partner, Ronan O’Toole, also looked to be on form kicking a fantastic score to put them in front for the first time.
It was Westmeath who were able to kick-on towards half-time eventually leading by 0-7 to 0-5 at the break.
Laois fought back in the second half with the full back, Mark Timmons releasing himself from the thankless job of having to keep tabs on Ger Egan to kick a monster score before O’Carroll put Laois back in front.
It was clear that whoever scored the games opening goal was more than likely going to come away with the trophy and that turned out to be Jack Cooney’s side.
Ger Egan was the man who popped up to bag the all-important three-pointer with 11 minutes remaining and despite three late points from Laois, it was Westmeath who held on to collect the Allianz Football League Division 3 title.
Here are some key takeaways from today’s battle at Croke Park.
Graham Brody’s Act Never Gets Old
The Laois goalkeeper continued to bomb up the field at every opportunity and it must be said that it never gets old, despite the fact a misplaced pass from him led to the Westmeath goal.
We’ve seen it a lot from the likes of Niall Morgan this year who managed to kick scores, however, Brody is able to roam almost the entirety of the field and is consistently involved in the play receives passes throughout.
Clearly adds so much to Laois going forward, in a new-dawn a ‘fly-keepers’ Brody is arguably the best of the lot.
Final Pass Lacking
Throughout the first half especially both teams had the ability to look impressive in the build-up with some slick movement, however, both teams continually lacked with their final pass in the opening half which made for a frustrating watch at times.
It was thought that Laois’ potent forward line would prove to be the difference between the two sides today, however, their finishing let them down from start to finish. On another day they could well have won this game.
Ger Egan Influence
Egan has really stepped up in 2019. The Tyrrellspass man has been Westmeath’s go-to man all season and proved the difference between the two sides today bagging 1-7 in total.
Despite the defeat, Laois captain Stephen Attride was excellent throughout. It was around a year ago that the Killeshin suffered a horrific injury that forced him out for the season but he has bounced back in 2019 to deliver some excellent performances throughout the league, including today.