Westmeath hurling boss explains why Leinster round-robin outcome isn't as odd as it looks on paper

Michael Ryan chats to Off The Ball as his side look set to play Galway after winning their group

Michael Ryan, Westmeath

Westmeath's Michael Ryan ©INPHO/Lorraine O'Sullivan

So what happens if you win the round-robin stage of this year's Leinster hurling championship?

The reward for the winner of the first stage which features Westmeath, Kerry, Offaly and Carlow is a clash against one of the nation's hurling giants, Galway.

But for the runner-up in the round-robin stage it's the comparatively less daunting task of taking on Laois.

That makes winning the group, as Westmeath have done, a liability on paper at least. 

Westmeath currently top the round-robin stage and their manager Michael Ryan has no issue with the way the draw for advancing has been set out.

"In fairness to the Leinster council, I don't see any other way. People made a lot of this. I don't see any other way of doing this because at the end of the day, when the process was put in place, it was a case of names out of the hat and the teams we could have been playing could have been Wexford, could have been Dublin, could have been anybody else. It wasn't about Galway, it wasn't about Laois. It was an open draw," he told Off The Ball.

"As regards to people talking about an easy draw against Laois. We played Laois a couple of weeks back and they beat us by seven or eight points, so I wouldn't regard that as an easy draw."

Ryan also talked about Westmeath's progression in recent times.