Tuesday, 20 June 2017

ARMAGH defender Paul Hughes has urged team-mates to deliver a performance for their suspended manager Kieran McGeeney, when they face Fermanagh on Sunday.

Armagh face Pete McGrath's Fermanagh at the unusual time of 6.30pm in The Athletic Grounds in round one of All-Ireland Qualifiers. The winner progresses to the next round, whereas the season ends for the loser.

And with all to play for, the Crossmaglen cornerback doesn't want his summer with Armagh to end before it has started.

A relaxed Hughes, sporting an authentic American baseball cap spoke of disappointed his team were over the manner of defeat to Down but feels they a prepared to go into a dogfight on Sunday.

"It is tough, as we sort of built towards that game the whole year and it was probably our worst performance of the year and it came on the biggest game of our year, " said Hughes.

"For the next two or three days I was really down and depressed and it might seem that the year is over but it is not. You have to set yourself to build towards the Qualifiers and Fermanagh. It is just about refocusing ourselves and starting back at square one and try to take it one game at a time and go as far as we can, so that's what we are trying to do.

"We didn't perform, we didn't work hard enough as a team and we weren't clinical enough up front.

"It's simple, Down wanted it more and while that is tough to take and realise that, we have looked back and seen that we weren't aggressive enough or clinical up front.

"We were too slow and boys weren't running inside for the ball. I don't know if the occasion got to us or not but it just wasn't good enough and it was probably our worst performance of the year that came at the wrong time." He feels that some of the criticism levelled at manager Kieran McGeeney is unwarranted and feels that the players need to accept responsibility and has urged his team-mates to deliver a performance the county can be proud of and reflect the good work being undertaken by his boss.

"Kieran gets a lot of slack but it's the players out on the pitch that aren't performing," said Hughes. "So it is nearly like we are letting him down and we really want to put in a performance against Fermanagh to show all the hard work he is doing behind the scenes.


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