Aoibhinn Lally clears the danger for Meath despite pressure from Kilkenny’s Lauren Ronan during Saturday’s All-Ireland Intermediate Camogie clash at Rathmolyon on Saturday.Photo: Gerry

Cole moving on from Kilkenny setback with all focus on Kerry test

Who would be a manager? You plan all week in decent summer weather, get key players back in crucial positions, have everyone flying and raring to go for a massive game - then nothing goes to plan.

Meath are a confidence team. They play well off the platform of a decent start and they generally get that, putting teams to the sword in the opening quarter and laying down a marker.

Being clinical early on is the foundation stone of this Meath camogie side, but that deserted them against Kilkenny in the early stages as the rain fell incessantly on Saturday.

That was joint manager Gary Cole's biggest frustration as he stood on his home sod of Rathmolyon and reflected on a 10-point defeat that harsh on his side who deserved more.

The mis-firing start, the difficult conditions, the lack of experience were all offered as potential fingers of blame and Cole couldn't argue with any of them.

"I'm a bit sickened I suppose. It seems to happen a bit in games that we start well and create a good few goal chances that we put away and we didn't put them away today," lamented the Rathmolyon man who manages the team along with Tom Moloney.

"We do get a bit of confidence from early scores and then kick on in games, but we didn't take our chances today.

"We were just a bit nervous, the ball work didn't just come off for us. The final little touch to put it in the net just wasn't there and we suffered for that.

"There are young girls there who have gelled really well with the older ones, but at the end of the day you can't beat experience and Kilkenny just seemed to find their players a little bit easier and they did the basics right.

"I know it was a wet, slippery surface, but we just didn't do the basics right. You have to do the basics and if you don't do that then you won't win, but we'll drive on from here to take on Kerry next.

"In training they are well able to do it (take control of sliotar first time), it's not that they can't.

"Historically they haven't had a problem playing and beating this team, they have the skillset, but there seems to have been a little bit of nervousness on the day. If you don't do the basics you're in trouble.

"They're good players, well able to produce the skills, but they just need to translate what they are doing in training onto the playing pitch."

Despite the loss, there were still only three scores between the teams and Cole can take plenty of positives from the display, especially with key players returning from injury - including Claire Coffey.

"There are positives, we got a couple of girls on there today and some of them did well. We will be addressing the team for next week. There will more than likely be changes, that's why we have a good panel of 33 there," he said.

"Apart from a couple of injuries we probably have 29 or 30 to pick from. The training is going well, they're doing well and a couple of them will put their hand up on Tuesday night to come into the team.

"Claire (Coffey) is so reliable. It was hard on Aine (McNerney) losing out because she had played all the games before.

"Claire had got injured in the early stages of the Leinster against Dublin, she's just back and you can't argue with the quality of player she is.

"If we had 15 Claire Coffeys you'd go places."

Maybe this journey will take another twist, Cole certainly isn't ruling it out.