Westmeath blow as skipper Connaughton heads to USA
WESTMEATH have suffered another blow with the news that captain Gary Connaughton is set to spend the summer in Boston.
Lake County boss Pat Flanagan is already without the services of Dessie Dolan, who has yet to return to the county set-up after Garrycastle's run to the All-Ireland club final -- and it now looks like Westmeath will also have to do without key man Connaughton for the qualifiers.
"It's looking like I'll go early next week," confirmed the 2008 All Star.
"There's not a lot for me here. Pat Flanagan and my club manager Martin McCabe have been trying to sort something for me and so have the county board and the GPA, but there is nothing out there at the minute -- it looks like I'll be going very shortly."
Connaughton, who will line out for his club Tubberclair in the Intermediate championship on Friday night, will return to Athlone IT in September to finish a degree in business and has spent previous summers working as a coach in the GAA's summer camps.
However, the lure of the US looks set to rob Westmeath of their captain as they prepare for the back door.
"Contacts in Boston have lined up football for me out there but I'm going back to college in September. The summer camps only last around four or five weeks and that isn't enough and there's not a whole lot else going on, especially since we lost to Louth," added Connaughton.
"At the moment I'm getting up in the morning and you'd be in despair because there is nothing to do. At the same time, I'm captain of Westmeath and I don't want to be jumping ship so it's very difficult. There's only about 12 weeks until I go back in September."
With no confirmation regarding Dolan's possible return, Connaughton's departure would leave Michael Ennis and Denis Glennon as the only survivors from the team that won the county's only Leinster title in 2004.
Darren Quinn from Tyrrellspass has been acting as Connaughton's understudy this season and looks set to be promoted to the No 1 shirt.