Anna Jones was the top Westmeath scorer from their Division One LIDL Ireland League loss to the Dubs, but she doesn’t believe the lacking facilities in St Clare’s affected her team’s performance.
“We just went up there and we were focused on the game that’s what we wanted to do,” said Jones.
“You don’t get to play the All-Ireland champions very often,”
“We just looked at that as a very good opportunity to put down a marker and show what Westmeath football is all about,” she added.
Jones made the comment following her manger Sean Finnegan’s frustration of the lack of dugout or stand facilities for the Westmeath subs and supporters in the DCU venue.
“Obviously the facilities weren’t ideal for our subs or our supporters,” she said.
“Being split up into three dressing rooms is not ideal when you’re trying to get ready for a match as a team,”
“It’s a team sport after all and you want to be getting ready as a team,” she added.
Jones had no complaints about the result of the match as they lost out to the two in-a-row All-Ireland champions with their best foot forward.
“After that we switched off to what was around us and put our sole focus on the performance,” she said.
Jones lamented not getting the opportunity to get to play the Dubs in Croker, as Mayo and Donegal had in the earlier rounds of the League as part of double headers.
“Obviously we would have loved the opportunity but we understand that that’s not always going to be possible we just have to go out and play the game where scheduled,” she said.
“We’re not really too concerned about the logistics that’s not our role our role is to go out and play football for our county,” she added.
Jones was aware that Westmeath are a relatively new team to the top division of the League, earning promotion in 2014 and stressed that they need to prove themselves against the big teams.
“There are girls on that team who have worked for countless years to get up to division one,” she said.
“Were still trying to earn respect among the big teams but I think we’re definitely putting down markers that nobody is taking Westmeath football for granted,” she added.
Jones argued her charges are sometimes treated differently to other more traditional footballing counties.
“There does seem to be some sort of difference in the way we are viewed by other teams but we just have to focus on ourselves,” said Jones.
“We’re trying to be the best team we can be and were trying to get results again,” she added.
Jones said that she is a massive supporter of the 20×20 initiative and highlighted its’ potential benefit to Westmeath football.
“I’d be a key follower of the 20×20 movement, were always looking to get equal coverage for women’s sport,” she said.
“We’re trying to raise the profile of the game and were trying to encourage supporters and friends and family and anyone who can to come out to support the team,”
“We want as much support as possible and we want people to come out and see the great sport that is ladies Gaelic football,”
“It’s not ideal if there’s not a stand but at the end of the day the players can’t do much about that,” she added.
Jones was confident that the incident at the weekend was an isolated incident on the inter-county scene, as County’s want to facilitate their own team and the away team.
“At this level county’s want to put their best foot forward, they want to support the game as much as possible too,” she said.
“Counties do generally give good facilities and dressing rooms and pitches,” she added.
Image Credit: SPORTSFILE