“I thought we defended very well in the first 20-25 minutes” said Rainbow. “We seemed to frustrate Westmeath a small bit in that period and they were finding it hard to penetrate us in certain areas.
“Unfortunately we gave away two goals in quick succession and that put us on the back foot for the rest of the first half.
“We had a good start to the second half, but Westmeath are very clinical in front of goals and put up a big score again.
“I thought our players put up a very spirited performance. They fought right up to the last minute and I’m very proud of them.”
Brendan Murphy played the most of the game at full-forward and caused Westmeath captain Kieran Gavin some discomfort. Sadly for Carlow though, they couldn’t win enough ball at midfield to enable the Rathvilly man to prosper.
Rainbow defended the decision to leave him inside so long.
“Brendan scored five points today. Four (three from play, one 45) from the full-forward line, one from midfield and he set up the goal from the full-forward line as well. I’d love to have 15 Brendan Murphys on the field all at once but unfortunately we don’t have that luxury.
"It’s hard playing a team that’s coming from Division 2 to Division 1 when you’re in Division 4. The pace of the game is completely different and Westmeath were certainly up to championship pace."