Meath camogie manager Brendan Skehan.

Skehan frustrated by the failure to rediscover form

Management can be a mysterious business for those who engage in it. You work hard to prepare your team the best you can, think and hope everything is in order then BANG - it all goes awry on the day.

Meath manager Brendan Skehan seemed more than a little bemused and bewildered as to why his team didn't get going against Down on Saturday. Apart from spells here and there they certainly didn't hit the heights they managed in the second-half against Derry the previous week.

That left that most aggravating, most irritating question hanging in the crisp air at Clones. Why?

"We had little purple patches, but purple patches are not quite good enough against a team like Down. If you want to get through to the finishing line at this level you've got to hit the ground running and keep your consistency for 60 minutes and unfortunately we are not consistent enough at the moment - and the girls know that," said Skehan.

"The long break during the summer hit us hard because we were a lot more consistent earlier in the year. I can't put my finger on why that was to be honest because the players looked in good shape during the week at training, everything was going well, we were happy.

"We were confident coming here but you could tell we were in trouble from early on. We just didn't seem to be switched on or sharp enough for some reason."

The Meath manager didn't have any issue with the physicality of the Down side, he felt his team were well able to match them in that department, it was other issues that concerned him.

Why were Meath players not moving onto breaking ball fast enough? Why weren't they clinical enough in finishing some of the chances created?

Meath hit five wides over the hour, Down managed six, but the Royals did have a sizeable number of shots fall short, a habit that must have been demoralising.

Reflecting on his first year as Meath camogie manager Skehan looked back at a start of the year and reflected on how his side won a series of league games.

That clearly gave him a real buzz and a sense that he was on the right path. After the lockdown his side seemed to lose some of their old momentum.

Yet he'll take a lot from his first season at the helm of a young Meath side- and right up there was the opportunity to work with what he regards as brilliant panel.

"They are a fantastic bunch of girls to work with they really are, it has been a real privilege for me, it's not hard work at all.

“That long break in the summer certainly didn't help, we came back and we were into the championship very quickly before we had a chance to have a game or two under our belts."

Which brought the manager back to that question of why? Why didn't the team play as well as he knows they can? Questions with no obvious answers. "When it came to the championship we were a little tentative. In all of the games we played we didn't play a full game together, we didn't play as well as we are capable of playing."

The manager confirmed that he and his management team would be happy to continue to guide the fortunes of the team but before Saturday he understandably hadn't thought too much about that issue.

"We'll all sit down have a chat with the people involved. From what I can tell the girls are happy with us and that, of course, is vital. You have to have that team-work all the way through; the players and management working together."

As he prepared to leave Clones Skehan was left to ponder that bewildering question as to why his team didn't perform on the day.

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