Mick O’Dowd offers no excuses

Mick O’Dowd entered the press room with the glazed expression of a soldier who has just witnessed terrible things at war.

Mick O’Dowd offers no excuses

Naturally enough, the Meath manager struggled to make any sense of how his side scaled the peaks and, ultimately, the troughs of a Leinster championship tie for the ages.

“We came up really focused on reaching a Leinster final,” said O’Dowd. “And in the first-half we played some really good football but we probably weren’t clinical enough.

“Look, full credit to Westmeath, they never gave up. We went up again in the second-half, we were nine up at one stage there but we kept leaving the door open to them.

“We did make changes in there to stem the dominance they had around midfield but we weren’t feeding our full-forward line like we were in the first-half.

“We were losing a grip in the middle of the field and had to change things. And we are disappointed with that. To be in such a commanding position, playing such good football, it’s disappointing.

“I don’t know if it was down to the overall maturity of the team because Meath are a very young team but Westmeath did play with an abandon in the second-half and a couple of guys got key scores for them.”

The most frustrating thing for O’Dowd to take was that even when things were going wrong late on, Meath had opportunities to haul themselves to safety.

But they badly over elaborated with a couple of point opportunities and crucial scores weren’t taken.

“Yeah, that’s probably the most frustrating thing. You expect a team to come back at you and to come strong at you but you should be able to counter and to finish it.

“When you are one up, as we were at one stage, it was the time to tap over the bar and go two up. We didn’t do that. We were a point down then and we had a chance to tap it over the bar, equalise and reset for the kick-out and we didn’t do that either. We can’t have any complaints. I’m not making excuses.”

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