AFTER a man of the match performance, where he bagged a goal and seven points, Shane Lennon put the game behind him and looked ahead to Tipperary next Sunday.
Lennon along with forward partners Derek Maguire and Adrian Reid tore apart Westmeath’s backline in the first half, despite the fact that they were up against a powerful surging wind. However, against the wind, Louth scored 2-4 compared to Westmeath’s 0-2 that they mustered up in the second half, something Lennon credits for the win.
“That wind was serious”, said the Kilkerley and Louth front man.
“It was going straight up the field. We held them to two points in the second half whereas we got 2-4.
“I think the first half display gritted out the win for us tonight. I would take any weather conditions, once we get the two points at the end.”
When asked about how he felt playing in such difficult conditions, Lennon said the two points made it irrelevant.
“I don’t care if it’s snowing in Drogheda next week, once we get the two points. The league is a matter of getting two points each game and moving on.”
For weeks, Louth manager Peter Fitzpatrick and the squad have looked at the Westmeath game as their first big game of the new year, one they passed with flying colours. Now Lennon is looking at the next game, as is the rest of the lads.
“We set a target out at the start of the year for the Westmeath game and we knew we had to hit the ground running.
“Fitzer and them were saying we have won nothing, we have two points on the board and we have to keep our heads down now and look to next Sunday and get two more points against Tipperary.
“They had a great win last weekend so it’s going to be tough. We know it’s a tough league to get out of so we have to keep our heads down and keep battling.”
Lennon’s goal on 11 minutes, followed by one from Maguire on 13 minutes gave Louth a stronghold on the game, but it was Brian Donnelly’s point seconds after the restart in the second half that kick-started Louth’s dominance once again.
“The two goals gave us a nice base as they were always going to come back into the game with that wind. I think the goals were vital in the first half.
“We said at half time, we had to come out and get the ball rolling and within ten seconds, Brian Donnelly, who was only on the field had it over the bar. I don’t even think the change was announced over the intercom and he had it over the bar.
“That settled the nerves in the second half. They got a lot of points just before half time and that was a seriously vital point in the second half.”
Along with the front line, Lennon said that from one to 15, every man had to fight for the win on Saturday night, especially in defence.
“When you have a lead there, we were trying to drop men behind the ball and the space between our midfield and forward line was a long way.
“But the boys battled from 15 to one. The lads defended like lions. They kept at it to the end and that’s what won it in the end, pure grit.”
For him and Maguire, they had a tricky time navigating around Westmeath’s cluttered back line at times.
“The way Westmeath play is with an extra defender or two coming from the forward line. That makes it hard to play against. Myself and Derek talked about it at half time and last Thursday night. You just have to adapt to whatever way teams line out against you.”
Now though, the focus is on Tipperary, another team that came down from Division Two last year, alongside Westmeath.
“They (Tipperary) are coming down from Division Two last year with Westmeath, it’s tough up there in Division Two, they were competing against better teams last year then we were.
“It’s going to be tough, but if we keep all shoulders to the wheel, we will get two points again.”