Westmeath captain to miss qualifiers13/06/2012 - 12:24:49
Westmeath's long-serving goalkeeper and captain Gary Connaughton is unlikely to feature for the county again this summer, as he plans to work in America.
Connaughton's impending departure to Boston is a huge blow for Westmeath ahead of the first round of the All-Ireland SFC qualifiers later this month.
It is a rare break from inter-county action for the Tubberclair clubman who has been part of the Lake County set-up since making his debut against Antrim back in 1998.
He told the Irish Independent: "It's looking like I'll go early next week. There's not a lot for me here.
"(Westmeath manager) 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."
It is a difficult decision for Connaughton to take, but the 2008 All-Star stopper said that working with the GAA summer camps - as he has done in recent summers - is not enough for him.
"Contacts in Boston have lined up football for me out there but I'm going back to college (Athlone IT) in September. The summer camps only last around four or five weeks and that isn't enough.
"There's not a whole lot else going on, especially since we lost to Louth. 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."
Connaughton is due to play for Tubberclair in an Intermediate Championship game on Friday night.
His decision to go Stateside should see Tyrrellpass' Darren Quinn take over in Westmeath's number 1 jersey.
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