Armagh Harps happy with progress

By Shaun Casey

ARMAGH Harps qualified for the quarter-finals of the Armagh SFC and they’ll take on reigning champions Crossmaglen. The Harps convincingly saw off St Peter’s in the playoff, although star man Joe McElroy believes they still have areas to improve on.

“A good performance in parts I suppose, we wouldn’t have been happy with the last ten minutes of either half because we leaked a lot of scores,” said McElroy after their six-point win at the weekend.

“We’re a team in transition at the minute, we have a lot of young players coming forward so we’re just enjoying being in the next round and being in the quarter-final, just building every game.

“Those young boys are only 18 or 19 and sometimes you forget how young they actually are. Big Tadgh Grimley was running through, and you forget these boys are only 18 and you have a lot of expectation.

“They put a big shift in and it’s a good sign that those boys are pushing and they’re keeping some of the older boys on their toes.”

That was the first do-or-die game of the season for Pascal Canavan’s side, who have suffered at the hands of the knockout championship in Armagh in recent years.

“We’ve played relatively well the last couple of years but have ultimately been dumped out of the championship by Maghery two years in a row (2021 and 2022),” added McElroy. “We’re happy to just get a bit of a run and we’ll see where it takes us.”

In the group stages, the Harps suffered a surprising 15-point defeat at the hands of Silverbridge but have bounced back in recent weeks to earn a draw with Madden and overcame St Peter’s.

“We had to come up with an answer for the heavy defeat to Silverbridge and Silverbridge are a good side,” explained McElroy, an Armagh SFC winner with the Harps back in 2017.

“We weren’t on it that day and they punished us severely and they could have maybe beat us by more to be honest on the night.

“The performance last week against Madden, again we only played in parts for 15 or 20 minutes so we’re just trying to get a full half together or maybe a full game of 60 minutes of good football.

“We’re building nicely, and we’ll see where that takes us.

“There’s a lot of good teams left in the competition, so we’ll see what happens in the quarter-finals.”

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