Dublin absolutely destroyed hapless Westmeath in Sunday’s Leinster SFC semifinal at Croke Park as they found their scoring boots with a vengeance, but manager Pat Gilroy was keeping his feet on the ground afterwards.
Having been heavily criticized for their failure to turn chances into scores against Meath in the opening round, the Dubs made no such mistake second time around in a 4-26 to 0-11 win.
Speaking about his team’s free scoring form at the after match press conference Gilroy said, “Yeah, it was a hell of a lot better. We still had a few bad misses but the option-taking was better. Particularly in the first when it was still a game.
“We’re much happier today but there are things there that if we do them the next day, it won’t be good enough.
“So, we have to be conscious of that and focus on being as analytical as we are of the good things as the bad. It’s the analysis from within the group that’s the really important thing. And we’d be fairly critical of some of the things we did against Westmeath.”
Dublin captain Paul Griffin was as cautious as his manager afterwards and said, “It was a clinical enough performance. We built up a good lead early on. We kept pushing on and built up a good score.
“We are delighted to be back in the Leinster final. I think Westmeath are always a tough team to play against but everything we kicked went over, Darren and Ross won everything in midfield.
“After 10 minutes we had a seven or eight-point lead. It is hard for a team to come back from that. There was a lot more nerves and anxiousness with the Meath game, lads were maybe too eager to get scores and there was poor option taking.
“We got a lot of nice simple scores today just from quick hands and nice interplay.”
Westmeath captain John Keane was almost distraught after the game and admitted, “We let ourselves down. We’ve let the county down. It’s just embarrassing.
“I haven’t had a feeling like this coming off a football pitch in a long time. Individually and collectively, we let ourselves down.
“We knew they were going to come at us strong. It’s always a case of damage limitation in the first 20 minutes against Dublin.
“We were confident before the game that we could withstand that. We just let them get too far ahead of us and then the first goal was a killer.
“Dublin are after getting stronger and fitter and we slipped back a bit there today. It was just of those bad days. It’s just up to us to make sure we can regroup and go forward. We’ll either roll over and die or we’ll come back twice as strong.”
Keane’s Westmeath manager Tomas O Flatharta claimed after his team’s heavy defeat that Dublin are now serious contenders for the All-Ireland title.
“They just seem to be a new team this year,” he said. “They’re working very hard for each other and they’re going to be there or thereabouts this year, I feel.
“They really have picked it up. They seem very strong physically. They seem to always know what’s going to happen next, and they’re there for each other all the time.
“I suppose the only positive is that Westmeath have always been a good qualifier team but it’s going to be difficult to pick it up from today.”