Westmeath manager Jack Cooney has confirmed that John Heslin will return to the panel "in the coming week" in a major boost to the Lake County.
Speak to RTÉ Sport's Darren Frehill after the 1-10 to 2-07 draw with Carlow this afternoon in Mullingar, Cooney revealed that Heslin’s break away from the inter-county scene will be short-lived.
The player had said he would be stepping away from Westmeath in early December to concentrate on his completing his PHD.
Cooney said: "John should be joining us in the coming week. He is up to speed in all his studies so we’re looking forward to him coming into the panel in the coming week. "
Reflecting on the draw with Carlow – a game which ebbed and flowed throughout – Cooney said he has some regrets from just taking one point from the match.
"[We were] four points down with 20 minutes to go against a Carlow team that is very well set up and trying to get a bit of traction in the game – but considering how well we turned the game around and created a lot of chances in the last eight or 10 minutes – I’m disappointed we didn’t get the full compliment.
"Carlow are coming in with a bit of momentum as well. They had a good win last week against Sligo.
"For us, we were slow to get out of the blocks which is something we probably to have address, while we are finishing the games very strong but probably leaving ourselves too much to do in the last quarter. We need to work on that."
Ger Egan scored 0-09 of the Westmeath 1-10 score – but it was different side to the game that Cooney was focusing on.
"He seems to be at the end of a lot of scoring alright. I thought we defended very, very well in the last eight to 10 minutes.
"We turned over a lot of ball that we weren't turning over before that.
"It was good to see us coming out with a lot of ball and creating those chances and I thought the lads showed a lot of energy, particularly in the last 15 to 20 minutes.
"We were very determined to get something out of the game. Attempts that we kicked today went inside the post last week- this week they hit the post or went outside it this week."