Armagh delighted to reach minor decider

By Shaun Casey

ARMAGH earned their spot in the All-Ireland Minor final for the first time since 2009 with an impressive victory over Mayo last Sunday and will now face Derry, for the third time this year, in Sunday week’ s decider in Omagh.

There were barely 60 seconds on the clock when Mayo burst through the Armagh rearguard and rattle home a goal that threatened to end their season, but the Orchard youngsters showed a maturity well beyond their years in response.

They dominated the entire second half and played some magnificent football.

But early on, when two goal attempts crashed back off the crossbar, they could have been forgiven for thinking it wasn’t going to be their day.

“That definitely crossed my mind,” said Armagh coach Stefan Forker after the game. “But the boys just go about their business and they’re excellent at it. We were far superior in those last 15 minutes (of the first half).

“We settled down after a nervy first 15. Once we moved the ball, they couldn’t handle us. We got caught a wee bit on their kick-outs, but when we set-up they had no ideas on how to break us down.”

15 years is a long time and Forker, who won an Ulster title as a minor back in 2005, is glad to be back in the final.

“We produce a lot of great footballers, but maybe not at the same time.

“We’re just lucky to be involved with them, and that all of these footballers are here together at the one time. They’re pushing and they’re maximising it, they’re playing to their potential.

“We wish that we had the Ulster cup in our possession, but we don’t, so we would like to have the All-Ireland one. Hopefully we can do that in a couple of weeks’ time.”

Derry have already beaten Armagh twice in the championship. During the group stages, the Oak Leafers eased to a 17-point win while two points was the difference in the Ulster final, with Derry once again emerging victorious once again.

“They won’t have to do too much homework on us either,” Forker added when asked about the prospect of meeting Derry for a third time.

“We’ll enjoy the semi-final win as we should, and we’ll get back to the drawing board this week. There will be a lot of tired bodies for a few days.

“We’ll recover and then take a look at Derry, but we’ll enjoy the semi success for starters.”

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