DUBLIN captain Alan Brogan admits that Westmeath will present a very different challenge to that offered by Louth in Croke Park on Sunday when the sides meet in the Leinster semi-final.
Thirteen-point winners over the Wee County two days ago, Paul Caffrey’s side should find space and scores far more difficult against an outfit that has adapted Ulster-like defensive tactics to such rich effect this season.
The Lake men have conceded less than an average of ten points a game in 2008 and one of their victims was Dublin when the counties met in Navan for the Division Two final early last month.
“I watched them against Offaly and it was a different brand of football and something we will have to look at,” said Brogan. “Probably we’ll have to adapt and change our style a little bit to combat that.
“They played very well and to put up a performance like that against Offaly in Tullamore at any stage is no mean feat. They will be full of confidence coming in against us as well.”
That game in Navan saw Dublin operate without a clutch of players suspended for their roles in the Meath Parnell Park controversy, but Westmeath too were without one or two faces, particularly key forward Dessie Dolan.
Regardless of the context, the win was a serious boost to the midland county in their bid to replicate their provincial success of four years ago, even if Dublin defender David Henry sees the game as an irrelevance.
“The league and the championship are two different things altogether. The fact that we were beaten and the fact that we know their style of play probably allows us to plan a little bit better for the game, but I don’t think it gives us any extra motivation.
“They are a good team. They have as good a defence as is around the country and a few quality forwards. We will have to work really hard to get a result against them.”
Though they romped home on Sunday, Dublin were hugely disappointing in the first-half against Louth before ironing out the kinks. Caffrey has already admitted that a repeat would be fatal to their Leinster ambitions but Henry is of the belief that the difficulties can be put down to rustiness.
“Players are anxious starting off in the first game of the championship. It doesn’t matter who you are playing against. We were the very same. We just made a lot of mistakes in the first half and that was probably the difference between the first and the second half.
“We settled down a bit then and had a bit more composure. The first half we kicked away a lot of ball. We took wrong options instead of keeping it simple in front of goal. That was probably the big difference, probably a bit of anxiousness as well.”
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