“It was a decent performance against Dublin and we gave ourselves a chance of winning the game. We said that at the very start that we would try and keep the score tight as much as we possibly could and if we got a chance to win it and were good enough to win it, so be it. Listen, I was happy that we performed okay, but I hate losing matches like that, like any manager.”
These were the initial thoughts of Westmeath senior football manager, Paul Bealin, after his side lost their first competitive match under his tutelage against Dublin last Sunday in the O’Byrne Cup.
The former metropolitan star added: “We were missing eight or nine of our likely first team through injuries and playing with the universities. We had a load of lads who never wore a Westmeath jersey before today.
"We started with 71 players in trials and then we whittled that down to 45. Now we are down to 36. The whole idea is to create competition for places. That’s the bar that’s set in terms of where we are right now.”
Wearing his U21 bainisteoir bib last Saturday in St Loman’s Lakepoint Park, Bealin saw his Westmeath troops fade badly after a bright opening when they were well beaten in their Hastings Cup opener by Kildare.
“They [Kildare] were way ahead of us in terms of upper body stuff and their work from underage on the strength and conditioning side of things was obvious," he remarked.
"We were hanging onto to their coat tails as far as we could. We have a very young team who played their best, but we kind of got cleaned out in the second half."