Sports

Minnie hails Orchard roar

Tuesday, 3 July 2018

IT'S been a long time since the Athletic Grounds has become a fortress but several of this year's Orchard crop has not tasted defeat in the Cathedral City.
One of those fresh into the panel at the start of the season is Ryan 'Minnie' McShane and he is loving every minute in the orange jersey.
The Armagh Harps man said he was delighted to have answered McGeeney's call and was surprised how he quickly he found himself in the first team but he is being too modest.
McShane has been one of the main driving forces of this year's squad. A player who is always on the front foot. He plays without fear or shackles and is ability to beat players has got the fans on their feet on several occasions this season.
What's more is that his team-mates feeds of McShane's energy and he has improved game by game.
Taking time out from being asked to sign autographs and stand in for selfies, McShane was beaming with joy following Armagh's dramatic win over Clare.
“We were lucky in the end up, but I think we deserved it at the end considering the amount of frees we missed and stuff like that," McShane said.
“We stuck at it and Joe McElroy came on and it was a brilliant goal he took and Andrew Murnin as well."
The half-forward, although wearing number 13 admitted he thought that the game had slipped away from Armagh but he praised the resolve and character of his team-mates.
“Sometimes it is hard not to think it [that the game was lost], but you have to keep fighting throughout the game and hope that the boys will pull through eventually.
“That is what Geezer tells us, to keep fighting right until the end and that is what we did. We stuck at it.
“The boys that came from the bench, that's what is great about having big numbers. We probably had a better bench than Clare and a better selection of quality to bring from the bench."
McShane gave high praise for the large crowd that turned up to the Athletic Grounds and those who have been on the road and he said it reminded him of the atmosphere of the epic clashes against between Joe Kernan's Armagh and Mickey Harte's Tyrone.
“The crowd was unbelievable again, it was great down in Sligo and Mullingar and Armagh supporters always come in numbers and it is class," McShane said.
“You could hear them cheering and roaring us on in the last ten minutes and it gave me the shivers. It takes me back to when we playing in 2005 when the Armagh chant was going and it was just brilliant."
Armagh are one game away from reaching the Super 8 and while McShane isn't looking too far ahead he doesn't see any reason to fear Saturday's opponents.
“We are one step away from the Super 8 and we just have to take it one step at a time and we will prepare for whoever we play," McShane said.
“We will fancy our chances against any of the teams as there is no point in us being here if we don't. "So we will take who we get and prepare."
Players such as Gregory McCabe, Paddy Burns and McShane have added a hard work ethic and a touch of class in equal measures to the team this year and the Harps man insists that he is happy to do his bit for the Orchard cause.
“I was quite surprised that I was going to get into the starting 15 so early but you have to take it and whenever you get the opportunity you have to grab it," McShane said.
“It is hard not to enjoy it as anytime you get the chance to put on an Armagh jersey you have to enjoy it.
At the start of the season my personal target was to get into the first 15 and now that I am here I just have to keeping pulling through for Armagh and I am happy enough as long as I can do that."

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