Westmeath camogie manager Pádraic Connaughton.

Connaughton rues missed opportunities by his side

There was big disappointment in the Westmeath camogie camp after last Saturday’s defeat to Offaly and team manager Pádraic Connaughton felt his side had the opportunities to win the game.

“When we had our purple patch, we just didn't convert the chances,” he said.

“We were well on top for 20 minutes. We totally changed the shape to push up in the second half because there was a bit of a breeze there. We had huge numbers there and we didn't convert and it's a numbers game and if you don't convert you get punished. Unfortunately we got punished.”

He felt the team struggled to stamp their authority on the game in the opening half.

“We were lucky to be just a point down at half-time, let's call a spade a spade. But I go back to the converting of chances - we didn't convert and, look, that's pointing fingers at no one. It's a collective issue; it was all over the forward line, midfield. We didn't convert and, you know, you'll have days like that,” he remarked.

Connaughton was happy that a number of young players have been introduced to the set-up on what was a positive year overall, and he’s hopeful there is a bright future.

“We brought in Holly and Áine - at the end of the day they are only kids. They've had a brilliant year. Obviously we brought in Caoimhe and there's a few players there in the minor that maybe could make it. But it is a big step up,” he said.

“There's a great blend of youth there and experience. And I just hope they all keep at it.”

The manager felt the spell after the Westmeath penalty was crucial and that his side failed to make the most of their possession.

“I think it was the five or six minutes after that (penalty); we had some clear-cut opportunities. We didn't put them over for whatever reason. And I think that was the end of it, really.”

It was a game that was stop-start in nature for long spells of the opening half and Westmeath struggled to get into their stride. Connaughton felt his side didn’t win enough primary possession in the first half.

“It suited Offaly but I wouldn't use it as an excuse. We didn't win enough puck-outs and that's the bottom line. We were getting cleaned on puck-outs in the first half where maybe some players weren't brave enough and we addressed that at half-time. And we won so much possession in the second half,” he observed.