Laois manager, Mike Quirke
There was no hiding from the result on Saturday as Laois were comprehensively picked apart by a more clinical and cohesive Westmeath outfit.
Laois manager Mike Quirke cut a frustrated figure throughout the game and was even sent to the stand by referee Patrick Maguire in the second half.
It was easy to get frustrated. Things were not going their way, preparations had been light on the ground and to be fair to the Laois manager, some of the refereeing calls were dreadful.
But where there is another day, there is hope and speaking after the game, Mike Quirke made no qualms about the defeat and admitted that they hadn't had ideal preparations.
“It was really disappointing. We were hoping for better but it probably wasn’t that unexpected. The fact that we have so little done.
“We just didn’t play. We really struggled with our kick outs and that was the platform that they needed. They were very clinical.
“Westmeath are after having three or four games and we only had our first challenge game last Friday. This is only our fifth time being together since lockdown. We were very much undercooked but you would have been hoping that we would have given a better account of ourselves.”
They were also dealt two massive blows leading up to the game.
Mark Timmons picked up an injury in training days before the game while the defensive spine was further weakened with Colm Begley picking up an injury in the warm up leaving them without their first choice full and centre back.
”We lost Mark (Timmons) the last night in training and Colm went down in the warm up.
“I don’t know what it is to be honest, some sort of a leg injury. That didn’t help obviously. It is disappointing to lose anybody before throw in never mind your centre back.
“We kept going, there were a couple of bright spots but kick outs were a big problem and the general cohesion wasn’t there.”
John Heslin starred for Westmeath with eight points and to lose both defensive anchors, both of which would have been the men to mark him at different stages, was cruel as Quirke agreed that Heslin was a man in form.
“He was in great form and kicked some super scores. They were very clinical and I think they only kicked something like three wides in the first half. They were far the better team and we have no complaints.”
It was a real trial and error game. Not knowing how they were going until they met a competitive test, the Laois management will have plenty to decipher during the week as they get ready for Fermanagh.
“Guys like Alan Farrell and Gareth Dillon weren’t even with us at the start of the year and it is a big ask to put all that together in four or five sessions. It is what it is, we won’t be making excuses. We are delighted to be back playing and training and we just didn’t perform today. Hopefully we can do something about it next week,” explained the Laois boss.