Oisin Column

Tuesday, 26 June 2018

AFTER what happened with Tyrone, Armagh U20 were a team who were in a tricky situation coming into the Ulster final against Derry on Sunday. It was a stalemate right up until Saturday, until they realised that they were getting players back.
Preparation is then difficult, and they looked like a team who were ill-prepared to be honest. They weren't given the opportunity to show their real ability. So that was disappointing, but if we can keep a lot of those boys together, a lot of them have serious futures for Armagh.
Armagh seniors had a pretty comfortable win against Sligo. It was routine, and professional. And actually the score of 1-19 to 1-13 doesn't really do Armagh justice. They were much the better team for basically all of the game and they have improved incrementally. They were obviously poor against Fermanagh, a bit better against Westmeath, and a bit better again against Sligo.
Clare at home, in the next round of the Qualifiers is a good draw for us. The only other one that you could have wished for was Leitrim. But apart from that, Clare at home is as good as we could have hoped for. It is a very, very winnable game and then you're only one step away from the Super 8.
But I still think Armagh need to improve on the Sligo performance to beat Clare because Clare were operating in Division Two, and actually did quite well in it. I think they will be hugely disappointed at how they got on against Kerry. Clare were absolutely trounced against Kerry, who scored 32 points against them.
And Offaly, at the weekend got 2-14 against them. Clare will let you play football against them, and it will be a shoot-out, so Armagh's forwards will need to start converting a lot more of their chances. I still think though, that if Armagh got 1-19 against Clare, that we would be there or thereabouts in terms of winning the game.
The only draw that I didn't want was Tyrone because there is still a bit of scar tissue there from getting trounced in the All-Ireland quarter-final last year. And Tyrone are starting to build up a nice little bit of momentum.
Looking at the Down game, if Eamonn Burns had been thinking about what could possibly go wrong against Cavan - the answer was absolutely everything that he could imagine. And do you know what?
They still should have won the game comfortably. It's unfortunate for Shane Harrison, but if that ball hadn't gone in over his head, I think Down would have won the game by six or seven points.
They would have had Connaire Harrison back and Kevin McKernan back for the next day, and with the possibility of Donal O'Hare back too - although I don't know how bad his injury is. So they could have come out of that game with a lot of positives. Ryan Johnston was sent off too, and that's the sort of stuff that drives managers absolutely daft.


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