Red Hands hold no fear for Armagh

Thursday, 3 August 2017

LAST weekend there were 10 teams left in the 2017 All-Ireland Championship.


By Sunday evening past that number was down to seven and nearly half of the teams are from Ulster - Tyrone, Monaghan and Armagh.

The others, one from each of the other provinces, are Dublin, Kerry, and Mayo and Roscommon, (replay this weekend after draw on Sunday).

On Sunday, also, Kerry are the first team to reach the All-Ireland semi-finals having beaten Galway in their quarter-final.

After those games, the draw was made for the final two quarter-final ties and that draw was as follows: Saturday, August 5, Croke Park, 2017 All-Ireland Quarter finals: Armagh v Tyrone, 4pm; Monaghan v Dublin, 6pm.

It's the game Armagh would have chosen as they'll hold no 'fear' of Tyrone and there is a suspicion abroad that Tyrone are always wary of the Orchard.

On first, in a double header, it'll be a classic feisty Ulster derby without having to deal with pre-match nerves, which a 6pm start might give rise to. 2005 was the last time, at this stage of the All-Ireland, Armagh won the Ulster final but Tyrone won in the All-Ireland semi-final to lift their second All-Ireland title.

Tyrone, deservedly, will be very strong favourites given that they are a Division One side and more importantly are 'back-to-back' Ulster provincial champions. Funnily, by playing Armagh, Tyrone (the last Ulster team to win the All-Ireland) will have only played Ulster teams in the All-Ireland campaign to date, ie Derry, Donegal, Down, plus Armagh by Saturday - that'll be all the other Ulster counties who've won the All-Ireland since 1990.

Armagh have had a more diverse route to the Quarter-finals, viz, Down, Fermanagh (Ulster), Tipperary (Munster), Westmeath and Kildare (Leinster) and have improved each game. They have contrasting game set-ups - one playing on the counter from deep, the other pressing high to play the game as often as possible in their opponent's half. Both now have a strong bench, it might be said they have a 'second' team on the bench.

Tyrone's bench might be a degree stronger than Armagh's but both teams have a raft of quality finishers ie, subs, who can lift the game in the final quarter either defensively or in attack, eg, Stefan Campbell, Ethan Rafferty, Oisin O'Neill, Kieran McKeever and Ciaron O'Hanlon have been Armagh finishers to date. Having 'finishers' now is common place in the elite teams in gaelic football at the moment.

Monaghan manager, Malachy O'Rourke, was able to spring three quality 'finishers' from the bench to beat Down last Saturday - Oisin Duffy, Conor McCarthy and Jack McCarron who managed seven points between them in the final quarter in an eight point win.

Will Armagh win? Bluntly, nobody can answer that. Can Armagh win? Yes, but for me it's about getting their match-up and set-ups and game management correct, as they've been doing which allows them to impose their game on the other team.

A case of 'give them negative'.


Subscribe to read full newspaper »

Send to a friend

Please complete the following form to inform a friend about this page.

In order to process your information we must ask you to enter the letters in the image into the box:

CAPTCHA Image play audio version Reload Image

* Mandatory field - please complete