Saturday 20 January 2018

Flanagan eyes promotion after ending drought

Jackie Cahill

Pat Flanagan has urged his Westmeath players to push on for promotion from Division 3 after the Lake County claimed a first Allianz National Football League victory in 34 months last Sunday.

The famine finally ended when a 2-12 to 2-9 victory over Tipperary at Semple Stadium sealed a first league victory since Dublin were defeated in the Division 2 decider in April 2008.

Westmeath's previous 16 league outings had yielded 15 defeats and a draw. In 2009, Westmeath lost all seven of their Division 1 fixtures and suffered a similar whitewash in Division 2 last year.

But under Flanagan, there are signs of fresh optimism and Westmeath dug deep on Sunday to claim victory against Tipp, who led by five points with 14 minutes of normal time remaining.

"It's great to get a win down there and we have three points from two matches now," said Flanagan said. "And if we had Hawk-Eye it would have shown that Cavan's equalising point last week was about a foot wide.

"But we came down to Tipperary, went five points behind at one stage and showed battling spirit. We're doing well in training and all we needed was to get that monkey off our back."

And with home matches against Wexford and Waterford coming up, Flanagan believes that promotion is an achievable target.

He said: "We need to win all our home games and get one away win -- that hasn't changed. We have three more home games and if we can win those, we're on nine points.

"We have one away game against Limerick and we might be in there with a shout yet. It's always tight in this division.

"But hopefully our boys can realise that they're of a standard that can achieve and get out of this division."

Irish Independent

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