Meath manager Nick Weir (left) discusses tactics with selectors David O’Reilly and Graham Dillon at Pairc Tailteann on Saturday.

Weir left to rue what might have been against Westmeath

Meath manager Nick Weir adopted a positive demeanour in his post-match assessment of yet another defeat for the Royal County in the Joe McDonagh Cup and heaped praise on the achievement of Damien Healy.

The Longwood clubman played his 100th game for Meath on Saturday when he was introduced as a second-half substitute.

Weir, a Westmeath man, was full of praise for his players who gave a valiant display in defeat after playing the last 20 minutes with 14 men following Jack Regan's red card.

"Every game in the Joe McDonagh Cup is tough, but I know the Meath players have the right attitude and we have another chance next Saturday," he told the Meath Chronicle.

"We have a great servant to Meath hurling in Damien Healy who played his 100th game for the county today, I couldn't talk highly enough about him.

"It's a tremendous achievement, to play 100 times for your county, it's some milestone for any player to achieve and he deserves huge congratulations and respect.

"I hope Meath Co Board and the hurling fraternity acknowledge his achievement, Damien is a wonderful role model for any young player," he added.

However, Weir was also disappointed with the result as he looked ahead to the next outing.

Meath opened their Joe McDonagh Cup campaign in 2018 with the first game in the new-look second tier championship against Antrim at Pairc Tailteann and the Ulster side will visit Navan this Saturday to complete the group phase of the competition where a victory will earn them a final ticket, but it there were some aspects of the game against Westmeath that were of concern.

"I'm totally disappointed, when you take on a job and you have a game against your own county, well, I only wanted one result here and that was win for Meath," said Weir.

"Westmeath battled it out to the very end, in added time they won it and there's not much more can be said I suppose.

"I mentioned it in Carlow after the last round and it was the same again here, we missed a few goal chances in the first-half, we made mistakes, you can't afford to do that at this level.

"It's crucial, when you get the opportunity you have to put the ball away, it's as simple as that.

"Playing with a man down for the last 20 minutes, it's a killer, the players worked so hard up to that point and then we lost Jack (Regan), a Division One team like Westmeath know how to capitalise on that.

"In fairness to our lads they worked so hard when we went down to 14, we got the lead again, but the extra man did tell in added time.

"We have to learn from today, we have to go again next Saturday, I can't talk highly enough about the players, we have 35 of them and they come to training, they do what they are asked to do, they give it everything.

"Today they gave it the best they could, but we have a chance to put it right next Saturday in what will be another tough one," he concluded.

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