Cooney looking forward to first championship game

May 22, 2019

Laois manager John Sugrue shakes hands with Westmeath manager Jack Cooney. ©INPHO/Oisin Keniry.

Westmeath manager Jack Cooney will lead his side into championship action for the first time this weekend and he eagerly awaits the clash against Laois.

Cooney has worked wonders since taking over his native county with the O’Byrne Cup and FL3 title adorning the county’s silverware cabinet already this year.

They face a Laois side, who they have beaten twice this year including the FL3 final at Croke Park, in the Leinster SFC quarter-final at O’Connor Park on Sunday.

The former Westmeath footballer is excited ahead of his first championship game in charge and he told the Westmeath Independent that the players are looking forward to the tie.

“This is the type of game both players and management want to be involved in. It’s been over seven weeks since we won the league title so our focus has now completely turned towards summer football,” said Cooney.

“Setting out at the start of the year, we broke the year down into sections. It was important at the beginning to create an environment within the camp that all the players would buy into.

“We wanted to raise our standards and being promoted to Division 2 gives us an opportunity to pit ourselves against higher quality teams next year.”

Cooney is expecting a tough clash against a Laois side that will be gunning for revenge for the two earlier defeats.

“John Sugrue is a very astute manager and he has a proven record with Laois and with other teams he managed previously. I’ve no doubt they will have their homework done on us. The fact that we have played them twice already this year will make the game more intriguing. We beat them in both games, but that will count for nothing. The only impact it will have on the day is that the players will be familiar with one another.”

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