Long-serving Armagh forward Steven McDonnell admits that his side have an “awful lot of hard work to do” before they open their National Football League Division Two programme against Meath on Sunday week.
They may have won seven Ulster titles in the last decade but Armagh are no longer among the elite — and McDonnell is desperately keen to see the side regain its former status.
“We are very disappointed not to have made the semi-finals of the McKenna Cup and this means that we are denied at least one more game before the League.
“One of our goals this year from the outset was to try and win as many games as possible — we won’t try to hide that fact. Reaching the semi-finals would have been a target but in the end it wasn’t to be,” says McDonnell.
And he believes that profligacy proved Armagh’s undoing against Fermanagh on Sunday.
“We had maybe six or seven scoring chances that we did not take in the first half and we were left to rue those misses at the end of the game,” admits McDonnell.
Even though he scored 1-3 in an inspired nine-minute spell, McDonnell still finished up on the losing side.
“Obviously there is an awful lot of hard work to do between now and the start of the League and indeed while it is in progress. But we have to take encouragement from the fact that players like Joe Feeney and Malachy Mackin have shown up well for us so far and from the fact, too, that younger players who have gained success at under-age level now want to make their mark at senior level,” maintains McDonnell.