Roe confident hard work has been done

OFFALY Senior Football manager Pat Roe is confident that his side are ready to go for this Saturday's Leinster Senior Football Championship quarter-final against Westmeath.

While he says he is wary of the jump in standard from Division 4 to Championship, Pat Roe says the players have worked hard.

"Preparations have been going well. The players have worked hard and we're happy with the work they've done. In fairness they have worked hard since we started training in December. We won't be found wanting in terms of fitness. The team is physically ready and technically ready, we're as good a footballing team as Westmeath and now it's just a case of getting mentally prepared."

Offaly have played a number of challenge games since their victory in the Division 4 League Final over Tipperary and notched up some notable wins over quality teams including Derry and Mayo. However Pat Roe says he is wary of reading too much into the results.

"It's hard to judge how things are going from challenge matches. Those games are more about testing the gameplan and getting structures in place. I don't personally put a lot of store in the results as they can be illusory. However they are of benefit as we got to have a good look at all the players and all the players got a run."

While Offaly were winning Division 4 of the league, Westmeath upset the odds by coming out on top of Division 2. The Offaly manager believes that playing at that level and also the fact that they have a Championship victory under their belt will stand to Tomas O'Flaharta's men.

"The fact that they have a championship game under their belt will certainly be an advantage. They have also been playing at a higher standard in the league. For us it will be a psychological and physical jump. It is something of a journey into the unknown but the players have put in the hard work and are prepared."

He also agrees that it is important for Offaly to start the game strongly.

"It's vitally important we get a good start. We know what Westmeath are like. They had the best defensive record in all four divisions and if they get a jump on us they will get men behind the ball and will be very difficult to break down."

While Westmeath are defensively well organised, they also carry a considerable threat at the other end of the field. While Pat Roe does acknowledge the quality in the Lake County's ranks, he also points out the experience and the quality in Offaly's ranks.

"They (Westmeath's full forward line) are a huge threat and they are exceptionally good players. Westmeath have a lot of quality and experienced players on the field with the likes of Damien Healy, Martin Flanagan, Derek Heavin and others. But we will not be overawed by the occasion. We have our own fair share of quality players who have played at the top level including in Leinster Finals. There are a large core of Offaly players who have been playing intercounty football for at least four or five years. They are seasoned at this level and they will not be phased."

Offaly go into the game as underdogs but that is something that Pat Roe says he is not going to dwell on as it can work both ways.

"Whether your underdogs or favourites, every player puts pressure on themselves. Being favourites or not being favourites can work for or against you but it's not something we look at closely."


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