Westmeath manager Paul Bealin was being realistic about yesterday’s game. There were positives for him and his players, but he didn’t hide from the story told by the scoreboard.
“In the first-half Cork had a lot of wides. We put a lot of pressure on them and made it difficult for them to get scores.
“In that first quarter of the second half, though, Cork took over. Physically they were faster and pacier and once they got seven or eight points up the game was over.”
Bealin tried to deny Cork room up front, he said.
“When you play the Corks, Kerrys and Dublins of this world, those teams like having space in their forward lines. You can make it difficult for them without pulling 12 behind the ball, which we didn’t want to do.
“We caused problems for them and we gave ourselves a chance. It worked for us in the first-half and if we’d gotten hold of the midfield area early in the second-half it might have helped, but they got four or five points very quickly after half-time.
“It wasn’t just one player dominating either, they got really good scores and we were chasing the game.”
Bealin described the game as giving Westmeath the benchmark to follow.
“We wanted to know where we were coming up to Division 1. Despite all the challenge games and O’Byrne Cup games that you play, it’s still hard to know where you are.
“Now we know where we are. Cork have been a big league team, with three or four league titles in the last four or five years.
“They’re strong, and you could see the talent they had in the youngsters they were able to bring off the bench. We’ve a handy one ourselves next week against Dublin, so we’ll have to see what that’s like.”
Bealin was hopeful John Heslin, who went off injured, doesn’t have a serious knock.
“I haven’t spoken to the physio yet. He’s a big player for us and when you see a player limp off like that you’re concerned. He’s a big player for us. We brought him out to the middle to try to get him on the ball, which hadn’t been happening, and that’s when he got injured.”
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