By Shaun Casey
JASON Duffy is one of the few Armagh players that has featured in every single game this season, but bar a four-point first half cameo against Roscommon in the league, the Cullyhanna attacker hasn’t been contributing to the scoreboard.
One of the hardest workers on the team, Duffy covers every blade of grass and last Sunday’s Ulster semi-final against Down was no different. But this time, Duffy converted the hard yards into scores.
He came away with 0-2 to his name and could have been among the goal scorers as two of his efforts crashed off the crossbar. “Hopefully in two weeks they’ll go into the back of the net,” laughed Duffy.
“It doesn’t really matter at the end of the day but from a personal side of things, it does give you confidence and you do get your head up. It is important, but it doesn’t really matter who gets them.
“You have six forwards there and anyone of them can take that scoring burden and you have boys coming off the bench, ‘Soupy’ (Stefan Campbell), Aidan Nugent and Ross McQuillan, those boys.
“It’s positive for us but I’m sure it’s a headache for the managers.”
Goals were a problem area for Kieran McGeeney’s side throughout the league. In fact, last Sunday, Armagh hit the net more times in one game (4) than they have done throughout the entire season (3).
Ultimately, Armagh were relegated to the second division, but despite some results, they knew they weren’t far away.
“I think we were creating chances in the league, and we just weren’t putting them away.
“We had a man over at times and it was just about taking the right option. Maybe we just punished them today whenever we got them chances.
“We were unlucky during the league; a few results didn’t go our way, but it didn’t feel like we were playing overly bad. I suppose after we got relegated, we just put it to the back of our minds, it was championship in two weeks.”
They now face the ultimate test in Derry, the reigning Ulster champions. It’s been 15 years since Armagh were last at this stage, so Duffy insists they are going to enjoy it.
“It’s a long time coming and I’m just glad to be a part of it now, I can’t wait. We haven’t been in an Ulster final in 15 years. It’s absolutely massive for us and it’s something that we were targeting.
“It’s going to be a great day hopefully. I suppose you have to enjoy it too, it’s not often that you get to these occasions, and you definitely have to make the most of it too. But we’ll hopefully keep the head down and not let the noise get to you.
“They’re one of the in-form teams in the country and it’ll be a massive test. I suppose they will be favourites but hopefully we can get a bit of work done on them and execute our game plan and get over the line.”