Westmeath set Dubs template - Kieran Martin
KIERAN MARTIN reckons Westmeath have "set a guideline" for how to nullify Dublin's attacking arsenal that other counties must now follow if they are to stop Jim Gavin's men lifting the Sam Maguire.
Despite losing last Sunday's Leinster final by 13 points, Westmeath limited Dublin to just eight points in the first half, employing a packed defence which forced their opposition into shooting from distances and angles they were, at times, uncomfortable from.
"They were getting frustrated and you could see it by them," said Martin.
"The game-plan was working for us. We knew exactly where to be and what to do.
"We were trying to maintain that. But the attacking side just didn't work for us. Probably because of the short time (to implement the system).
"But we had a good few opportunities as well. We kicked seven balls short. We had one or two wides. And you have to take those chances against Dublin.
"Had we taken them, we would have been ahead at half-time and you never know what could have happened from there."
The trade-off from such an astute first half defensive performance was a fairly toothless Westmeath attacking effort, with the Midlanders scoring just four points themselves in that period.
"You could see the defensive side worked," Martin pointed out.
"But we just couldn't ... lads didn't trust other lads to go attack. That they wouldn't be there to cover them.
"We were running in ones and twos and against Dublin, you can't do that. You have to have as many people running at them as you can.
"But still, only two weeks to work on that. I think we did a pretty good job on it. We set a guideline for other teams to beat them.
"They have everything but the thing I noticed is how strong they are in the tackle," Martin added.
"Just, they can tackle properly.
"They go straight for the ball and you can't run by them as easy. They're just so physically strong, fit and mobile," concluded Martin. "They have everything."