Westmeath talisman John Heslin says his tweet expressing concern about the return of inter-county action was a case of asking a question about the precautions in place to keep all stakeholders safe in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.

After scoring 0-08 on his return to inter-county action, Heslin said he was the first man at the pitch and is keen to restart the season.

The St Loman's Mullingar clubman took to social media on Wednesday and stated: "At what stage does the 'Inter-county return badly needed in these grim days' commentary end?"

He added: "I am concerned from a health and welfare perspective, both individually and collectively, for those contributing to the inter-county season".

Heslin was involved on Saturday as Westmeath beat Laois at TEG Cusack Park in their first competitive fixture since the months-long hiatus caused by the pandemic. 

Speaking after that Allianz League victory, he told RTÉ's Saturday Sport that the serious nature of current events prompted him to query the viability of going ahead with games from a health and welfare perspective.

"First day straight away I was about to delete it because my phone was vibrating and it was late and I didn't want to be on the phone," he said.

"But all I did was ask the question. I think at this stage I've declined everyone who wanted a further interview because it's not really my place to discuss.

"I just asked the question: Are there precautions put in place for the whole inter-county set-up, not just the players?

"I think it is a serious issue and people need to be cognisant of that but I just asked the question and look, I want to play. I was the first one down ready to play today and that's not what I was talking about.

"I was asking a bigger picture. We have a thing as a country. I'll actually tell you one thing, the first thing I was asked to do the whole pandemic at the very start was put out a message by the HSE to be a leader as an inter-county player and say what we need to do. We need to keep our distance, wash our hands and all the rest.

"So it's gone a little bit different from that and we are facing a little bit of a battle as a nation."

He added that he was "delighted" to be playing football and "if it brings excitement to people, that's great and Westmeath have put in serious precautions for us today".

With Heslin scoring eight points as Westmeath saw off Laois 1-18 to 0-13 in their Division 2 encounter, he expressed satisfaction with the way his side had performed.

"It was brilliant. That was our first competitive game since the fantastic club championship that was played all summer," said the St Loman's clubman.

"We started well and the lads did fantastically well, so we were happy with the performance."