Westmeath manager Dessie Dolan.

Dolan rues missed opportunities in Armagh defeat

Westmeath football manager Dessie Dolan felt missed chances in the first half, when wind-assisted, was the main reason behind his team's defeat to Armagh last Saturday night.

Pointing to aspects like shot selection, Dolan said: “Ultimately for me, it came down to the first half where we dropped five balls short and they were good opportunities. I think from five of those shots that went short, they got four points.

“That's a swing of nine points and that's massive at this level. That's the level we're at and we have to judge ourselves against very high standards. Mistakes are made because you're under pressure; it's not because lads can't do it, they are well able to do it," he remarked.

“You could be playing Tailteann Cup or in the All-Ireland series. The build-up to this game, the stadium, the pitch, everything about it is the level you'd want to be at it, and that's where you learn.

“Leaving here, I'm probably disappointed that we had a lot of opportunities that we didn’t take. They would probably say something similar but from my team's perspective, there were decent opportunities that we didn't execute, even down to the last few plays.”

In terms of their effort and application, Dolan expressed pride in his players. "The main thing for us is that we stay together and stay united and know that there is a better performance in us.

“We have an opportunity in eight days again and we look forward to that.”

David Lynch was unable to start last Saturday’s game and Dolan agreed that this was a significant blow.

“David is a great fella; he's one of the leaders in the team,” Dolan said.

“He was just feeling unwell which was unfortunate for him as he has a lot of experience. Even when he was on the pitch, he added a lot to what we were doing.”

Dolan described Armagh as a "very athletic and very fit" outfit.

“I have an awful lot of admiration for Kieran McGeeney; not just his longevity (as an inter-county manager) but also as a person and a coach," he remarked.

"I think if we had executed a few things better, we could have put them under more pressure but they showed what a good team they are."