Armagh sticking to the process

By Shaun Casey

LONGFORD perhaps don’t have the same aura around them as maybe a Dublin would, but Armagh are coming up against the current Leinster champions and won’t be taking their Electric Ireland All-Ireland quarter-final challenge lightly.

The Orchard County lost out in their own provincial decider to reigning Ulster and All-Ireland champions Derry, but still qualified for the last eight of the All-Ireland series, which is huge progress for Aidan O’Rourke’s side.

Stefan Forker, a member of the management team, insists Armagh will be treating this game like every other one and won’t be taking their eye off the ball.

“I suppose we go through the same process for every game,” said the Maghery clubman. “We analyse the opposition, look at what they have and obviously, we bring our own game to it, but we alter certain things, match-ups and kick-outs and different things like that.

“It doesn’t matter if it’s Longford on the team sheet or Dublin or Derry. You just go through your due diligence, and try and stand up to play against them and do the best you can.”

Longford will be brimming with confidence after their recent Leinster final win, and Forker was impressed with their performance.

“We watched the match, it was a Monday night before our final.

“It was a really even game and they came out on the right side of it.

“They’ll be confident and they’re a good side and they’re an unknown quantity.

“We’re as much of an unknown quantity as they are, but it’s not as if we’re a big fish either. We’ll bring ourselves to the table and that’s it, we’ll see who comes out on top.”

This year was the first since 2014 that Armagh contested the Ulster Minor Championship final and despite their campaign ending in defeat to the Oakleaf County, they made massive strides from their round-robin tie with Derry.

When the teams met in the final round of the group stages, Derry sauntered to an eye-catching 17-point win but in the Ulster final, only two points separated at the sides at the end and Armagh could have stolen it with a goal chance late on.

“Aidan doesn’t let anyone deviate from the process, between the hard work, getting the training done, getting your skills done, working hard on the game, doing your homework outside of training,” added Forker.

“People were happy that we got close to Derry after their previous 17-point victory, but we knew that gap wasn’t real. We’re probably disappointed that a few decisions didn’t go our way (in the final) in terms of our own decisions, maybe the referee, etc.

“We could have done a few things to get ourselves over the line, but they’re a good outfit and we’re hoping to go on a run here again. That starts with Longford, and we’ll look at the next game after that and hopefully there is one.”

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