Sports

Onwards and upwards

Thursday, 29 June 2017

Onwards and upwards thumbnailStand in manager John Toal admitted his side deserved to progress to the next round of the qualifiers.

ARMAGH'S reward for defeating Fermanagh in Sunday's qualifier is a trip to Westmeath.

The Orchard County were 0-20 to 0-11 winners at the Athletic Grounds on Sunday evening and they now move into the second round of the qualifiers.

The Leinster side were defeated by 31 points by Dublin at Croke Park on Sunday and they will now welcome Armagh to Cusack Park in 2B of the qualifiers on the weekend of July 8-9.

The Orchard County secured only their second Championship win under the stewardship of Kieran McGeeney on Sunday evening as the hosts ran riot in the second half against a Fermanagh side who lost inspirational captain Eoin Donnelly to two yellow cards.

McGeeney, who was forced once again to watch the game from the Main Stand, was left to leave John Toal to patrol the touchline

Toal admitted that Armagh had been hurt following the Down game and said that they needed to bounce back and show their character.

"Our character was questioned after the Down game and we said all along it was down to how we responded.

"The boys were disappointed because we had prepared so well and we were going into the game in good form.

"We had chances in the game and we didn't take it."

Fermanagh trailed by just two points at the interval and Toal said that they made sure that the players knew just how important it was to take control early on in the second half.

"We said to the boys that this could be out last 35 minutes of Championship football this year and we knew we had to push on.

"They have trained too hard and worked too hard for this to be the end and we had a good second half all over the field.

"The final five scores were all by us and maybe it was because Fermanagh had lost a man and couldn't pack the defence as much as they would have wanted.

"They had to come out and we always knew that if we stick to our gameplan and kept pushing on thaty the chances will come and we would get the result."

Toal refused to make any predictions about how far Armagh could progress in the competition, but said that they will examine what went right and wrong against Fermanagh and try to address that before the Westmeath clash.

"We had a really good attacking mindset tonight, but we knew that we needed to find the right balance.

"There are plenty of things we need to work on and improvement is needed throughout the field.

"We will get back to training on Tuesday and see what we need to readdress and look ahead to the next game.

"This is a young team and they are still building and whoever we face we will look at them and prepare ourselves and go from there."

Ballymacnab native and Armagh captain Rory Grugan said it was a morale boosting win for the Orchard County.

"We went into this game with the idea that any win at all is good enough, to get over the line with one win and try and turn that corner and to do it with the style we did tonight, kicking 20-points is a nice to do it."

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