Westmeath skipper Ger Egan: We want to go and win Leinster final now
WESTMEATH skipper Ger Egan (right) isn't worried if outsiders think they are "naive" to believe they can win the Leinster SFC final.
As Egan sees it, Tom Cribbin's men have already beaten three of the four leading teams in the province - Laois and Kildare in the league, and now Meath in the championship courtesy of Sunday's comeback from beyond the grave.
Trouble is, their next heavyweight happens to be Dublin who are in a different galaxy to all the rest.
"We want to go and win," Egan professed. "You might think that's naive, or how would we stand a chance? But we've nearly beaten every team in Leinster this year. We beat Kildare, Laois and Meath, they're in the top four teams.
"So we're going into the final to win ... but we're going to have to really up our level. We can't start the way we did (against Meath) when it comes to the Leinster final to have any chance at all - we can't keep bringing that back.
"A more rounded performance and you never know."
Sunday's 14-point turnaround - from ten down to four up - was even more remarkable in the context of Westmeath's dire form through the second half of the Allianz League.
They lost their last four fixtures by a cumulative 36 points, prompting demotion to Division Three and a local radio broadside from their frustrated year-one manager, Tom Cribbin. It begs the question what has changed in the interim?
"I suppose there's no comparison between league and championship," Egan surmised. "Look at Armagh last year - they got relegated to Division Three but they were probably the surprise team of the championship. And that's the way we looked at it.
"We were probably training that bit harder during the league.
"I don't know. The wheels probably fell off a little bit after a great start.
"But I'll tell ya - I'll give anything to be in a Leinster final over dropping to Division Three."
While John Heslin and Kieran Martin have shared most of the individual plaudits after Sunday, Egan insisted others had stood up against Louth and Wexford; that they are "not relying on one or two players."
"Everyone stood up in the second half," he went on.
"It was disappointing in the first half but anyone who looked at the first two games knew what we were capable of - and thank God we produced it when we had to.
"And it shows the character, the belief and the desire that Tom Cribbin and the backroom team are after putting into us.
"We're going to a Leinster final and we're going there to win, it's as simple as that," he concluded.