Westmeath may have gone down to another loss in this year’s Allianz FL Division 1 – but manager Paul Bealin believes they can take some positives from their loss to Dublin.
Of course Bealin will hope that the learning exercise his squad are on will reap benefits in the weeks ahead in terms of gaining points.
Against the Dubs, Dessie Dolan’s goal drew the sides level in Mullingar shortly after the interval and the score was still level with 15 minutes to go.
However, Westmeath could not sustain their effort in the closing stages and the All-Ireland champions pulled clear to win 0-14 to 1-07.
Reflecting on the game to RTÉ Sport, Bealin said: "We gave ourselves a chance with 10 minutes to go. However, we don’t have the strength in depth that Dublin have and we couldn’t push it home.
"They brought on some good players and were able to close it out.
"In the first half we had the breeze and if we had got a few more scores on the board then things could have been closer.
"We tried to stop Dublin running with the ball and for stages of the game we achieved that. Last year Dublin beat us by 19 points in the championship – it was four today – so it is an improvement of sorts.
“The Cork game was a benchmark in where we need to be. We didn’t perform in the second half last week, but the lads corrected that today. We must take on board the positives from today and use them to good effect in the forthcoming games."
Bealin also had words of praise for his goalkeeper Darren Quinn. “He had an excellent game in his first regular season as ‘keeper after Gary (Connaughton) retiring last year. They are big shoes to fill. He pulled off some great saves and his kick-outs were clever.”
"We tried to stop Dublin running with the ball and for stages of the game we achieved that" - Paul Bealin
Bealin’s counterpart Jim Gavin was disappointed with his side’s tally of 14 wides at Cusack Park.
Also speaking to RTÉ Sport, he said: “We did create a lot of opportunities and we didn’t take them, so we have much to work on in the next few weeks. I know we’re only back a couple of weeks, but that’s no excuse and the players need to understand that.”
“Okay, it’s good that chances are being created – we just require that bit of polish to improve our conversion rate.”
Gavin was full of praise for the Westmeath effort and added: “They certainly battled today and Paul Bealin deserves a lot of credit. We saw the tape against Cork and they were in that game for long stages.
“Mullingar will be a difficult place to get points in the league. The game could have gone either way with 10 to go.”