Westmeath ’keeper Connaughton retires

Westmeath goalkeeper Gary Connaughton has retired from inter-county football in the wake of the county’s 3-10 to 1-15 qualifier defeat by Fermanagh.

Westmeath ’keeper Connaughton retires

The Tubberclair club man played for the Lake County for 12 years, winning a Leinster title in 2004 under Páidí Ó Sé.

He also collected both an NFL Division 2 medal and an All Star award, having been nominated three times in his career. The big custodian was consistently one of the best shot stoppers in the game, having also had a promising underage soccer career, most notably picking up a European U19 Championship medal in 1998 as reserve keeper in Brian Kerr’s successful Republic of Ireland squad.

Connaughton said an injury last summer encouraged him to give it one more year.

“Last year I broke my ankle and I just wanted to come back and give it one more year. I’m glad I did that, but I think the time is right now to step aside and to let some of the younger goalies in the county have a go,” he told Midlands Radio 3.

Despite Saturday’s Championship exit, Connaughton insists the future is bright for Westmeath football. “We’ve some great young players in the squad, lads like John Heslin, Ger Egan, Kieran Martin, all of these guys have the best of their careers ahead of them. Playing Division 1 football next year is going to be very tough but the only way guys are going to learn about what it takes is to play at that level and hopefully that will lead to success in future years.”

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