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O'Brien happy as Westmeath men begin to find their feet in top flight

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Westmeath manager Shane O'Brien. Photo: Sportsfile

Westmeath manager Shane O'Brien. Photo: Sportsfile

SPORTSFILE

Westmeath manager Shane O'Brien. Photo: Sportsfile

It was never going to be easy for Westmeath to adapt to life in Division 1 hurling but Lake County manager Shane O'Brien is confident they are finding their feet having fallen narrowly to Cork on Sunday.

They nearly created a piece of magic in Mullingar before going down by four points and O'Brien is sure that they are going in the right direction despite a raft of injuries.

"We're adjusting to it and we're getting there. We've made massive strides from the first day out against Galway. The spirit is high despite having three losses in the league," O'Brien told Midlands Sport.

"Everybody has faith in what we're doing and we're improving each day. We're going in the right direction. I could be here until tomorrow if we went through all the injuries," O'Brien added when asked of fitness concerns before Sunday's trip to face All-Ireland champions Tipperary.

"We had two men that played with broken fingers, with broken bones in their hands. We had another man who received medical advice not to play so that shows you the calibre of person that we're dealing with it."

Meanwhile, former Dublin hurler Ryan O'Dwyer is frustrated by the possibility of the black card being introduced into hurling at GAA Congress this month and is adamant that "none of the players want this".

"I don't think there are any players who will go out there and purposefully do the cynical things that people are talking about at the highest level," O'Dwyer told OTB AM.

Cynicism "I'm just not a fan of the idea of someone going off for 10 minutes. Some lads might be pulling, there might be a bit of cynicism but, by and large, because it is a quicker game, you don't really get the time to be too cynical."

Elsewhere, Cork boss Kieran Kingston will be without Seán O'Donoghue, Damien Cahalane, and Conor Lehane for Sunday's clash with league champions Limerick.

Lehane limped off against Westmeath with a hamstring strain which will keep him out for at least a fortnight, while Cahalane must serve a one-match suspension having been shown a straight red card in the Cusack Park clash.

Corner-back O'Donoghue missed out on last weekend's victory and looks set to be sidelined until next month with a hamstring injury.

Cork's hurlers and footballers will wear commemorative jerseys honouring Tomás Mac Curtain and Terence MacSwiney in their upcoming home league games. The black shirts will feature images of the two men - who both died in 1920 while holding the role of Lord Mayor of Cork during the War of Independence - to mark the centenary of their deaths.

Irish Independent