Tuesday, 10 July 2018

ARMAGH put in a great display against Roscommon but came up short in the final ten minutes when you could see the experience on the Roscommon team coming through.
But if these Armagh lads can stay together they will have a tremendous chance of pushing for a Super 8 spot next year. Whatever happens to these lads in Ulster they seem to throw the shackles of them when they enter the backdoor competition and from what I have seen they have played some of the best football in this years Championship and it's a credit to both teams for giving the public a great match on Saturday.
Tyrone had an easy win over Cork and questions really need to be asked of the Rebels after they have suffered hammerings in their last two games. This is the same Cork team that beat Down quite easy in the League this year. I did say at the start of Down's League campaign that it was the worst Division Two that I have seen in a long time that's why I really thought Down would get promoted.
Looking at the eight teams in the Super 8, it's vital that you are now playing in Division One as that's where you get the best games and you are playing at a very high level. And it's no surprise that all but one of last years Division One teams will compete in it.
The now vacant Down managers job is up for grabs and whoever takes it needs to ensure that within three years Down are back playing in Division One of the National League and to do that they have to get the best players in Down playing for them. There are about ten players that have opted out for whatever reason, they can only say but for the good of Down football they must now make themselves available for Down.
For example Gerard McGovern, Dan Gordon, Conaill McGovern, Jerome Johnston, Darryl Brannigan, Ryan Brady, Kevin McClorey, Aaron Brannigan, Danny Savage Barry Og O'Hagen and Jonathan Connelly are all lads I have seen in Division One this year who are good enough for the Down panel and I would urge them all oto make themselves available to whoever comes in to manage Down.
There needs to be a clear plan and an aim for Down to be competing for Ulster titles every year and an aim of getting into the Super 8 but to do that you need to be playing at a high level and the immediate aim for the new manager is to get promoted from Division Three at the first time of asking. And for all that to be achieved Down need the best 35 players in Down football playing for them.
The club championships in Down will kick into gear in the next few weeks and again big favourites for the Senior Championship will be Kilcoo and rightly so but it's far from impossible for another team to win it this year. My own club Mayobridge do not hide the fact that we would love to get back challenging for Championship and with a bit of luck and continuing to work hard that can be achieved, whether it will be this year or another remains to be seen.
In Armagh it has been a few years since Crossmaglen captured the Senior title so you would imagine they will be pushing hard this year but also knocking on the door will be Armagh Harps Maghery and Cullyhanna so it looks like an exciting Championship ahead in Armagh as well as in Down next month.


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