By Shaun Casey
BRENDAN Donaghy believes that Armagh can push on next season following their league and championship displays in 2022. Donaghy recently retired from the inter-county scene after 17 years of service and was the last remaining member of the panel to have an Ulster medal.
The Clonmore man was part of the Armagh side that lifted the Anglo Celt in 2008, but the Orchard County haven’t reached the decider since. Armagh finished third in Division One and recorded some notable wins over Dublin and Tyrone during the league this season.
“It’s there or thereabouts (success). There was a kick of a ball between Armagh and Galway this year and Armagh didn’t play to their full potential,” said Donaghy. “Galway then obviously had a very good semi-final, put in a good performance in the final so Armagh are there or thereabouts.
“Whenever you’re competitive in Division One and you’re playing against these top teams all the time, why would anybody there have a fear of playing them?
“At the end of the day, it’s 15 on 15 and the boys are working that hard, I wouldn’t believe for a second that there’s any team out there working harder than these boys are working.
“There’s nobody out there that’s willing to give more than these boys are willing to give. It’s definitely within their grasp. Hopefully next year it’s going to be there.”
Donaghy came into a panel that were winning Ulster titles for fun but ended his career with just one provincial triumph. The recently retired Donaghy admits he didn’t appreciate what an Ulster medal meant back in 2008 and had Armagh got over the line last season, it would have meant a lot more.
“At that time when I went into the panel, you thought it was going to be every year or every other year, it was always going to happen, it was just a matter of time.
“I know a lot of the boys now would give their right hand for it but in my head, if I had have got a chance to win an Ulster medal this year, it would have meant a lot more than it did in 2008.”
Retiring is never easy but with injuries starting to play their part, Donaghy felt the time was right to hang up the boots. “It’s definitely not an easy decision. From I was a child all I wanted to do was play for Armagh and unfortunately, I had a couple of bad injuries, did my cruciate back in March.
“Unfortunately, I had to step away, I couldn’t make the commitments. I would love to, but I just can’t do it. Seventeen years is a long time but, in my head, it was always to be successful and not to be there a long time but unfortunately, I didn’t get the success I was always looking for.
“There’s a great group of lads there now and there’s no doubt in my mind that they’ll be successful where I wasn’t.”