Selector Michael Walsh admits that relegation to the Christy Ring Cup would have hit Westmeath hurling hard.
The 14-man midlanders delivered a stunning display to defeat Meath at Mullingar on Sunday, beating the drop and also sealing a Leinster SHC quarter-final date with Offaly.
"The pressure was on. This is our third year here now - Michael Ryan asked me to come up here - and we've put in savage work so to go back to the Christy Ring Cup, no disrespect to the competition or counties in it, it would have been a killer for us," former Kilkenny goalkeeper Walsh told The Irish Independent.
"It's not so much about style and skill which you want all the time but this was all about responding to adversity again: we were under pressure coming in, we lost a man who was playing very well and we still responded in the second half.
"We'll be big underdogs going in the next day, they're a higher division team and they'd a really good end to the league so we'll prepare really well and have a real crack at it. We're guaranteed two more matches so we'll see how it goes."