‘We know what we’re up against’
“I think the experience of playing Clanmaurice will stand to us because we now know what we’re up against, it was always about the unknown” he told the Westmeath Examiner after Sunday’s drawn game.
“We were looking at them in Croke Park, we were looking at them on paper, but until you physically play a team, you don’t get used to their nuances and habits. Now we know what they are and we’ll plan for that” he said after the game.
“We didn’t perform in the first half but we regrouped at half time and made a few positional changes and it worked. I probably thought we had it, to be honest, but we’re glad to be still there. I’m sure Clanmaurice are as well, so we’ll look forward to the week” he continued.
It felt to a lot of observers that Raharney got the rub of the green in extra time, when Claunmaurice captain Liz Houlihan was penalised for what looked like a very innocuous challenge, and Pamela Greville was given (and took) her chance to fire over a lead point with just two minutes of extra time remaining.
Connaughton took a different view.
“We were disappointed with the free count against us. We went a point up but we could have been four up because a lot of decisions went against us. But look, that’s the referee’s prerogative. We just have to regroup now, that’s all water under the bridge so we need to look forward to the next day”.
One thing that they will certainly look to address is their dismal first half performance, one that Connaughton conceded, could have been much more costly.
“We could have been well down at half time. We didn’t perform in the first half but we regrouped at half time and made a few positional changes and it worked” he recalled.
“Well, I probably thought we had it in the end, to be honest, but we’re glad to be still there. I’m sure Clanmaurice are as well, so we’ll look forward to the week ahead.
“They were more physical than us, I think they brought the game to us and we were reacting to a lot of ball” he explained.
“They won midfield, but they didn’t win midfield in the second half. They’re a big, physical, mobile team but we played into their hands as well with a lot of high ball. We looked at that at half time and I think when we ran at them in the second half we squeezed them a lot, and they suffered because of that.
“We’re delighted with the second half but we’ll have to improve on the first half performance”.
If they do, anything is possible.