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Armagh are ready to ramp up the pressure, warns McKeever

 

By John Campbell

One word is certain to dominate Armagh's philosophy for Saturday's titanic confrontation with Tyrone - and that is pressure.

Team selector Paddy McKeever believes that the manner in which the Orchard County players imposed themselves on their Kildare counterparts, particularly when they were attempting to line up shots, proved crucial to their stunning qualifier victory last Saturday.

Now McKeever is urging his side to step up their efforts even further as they attempt to combat what he feels will be a trigger-happy Red Hands outfit.

It was in the closing moments of last year's Ulster final that Tyrone duo Peter Harte and Sean Cavanagh boomed over points from outrageous distances that confirmed their team's re-acquaintance with the provincial title, which they had not taken delivery of for six years.

McKeever, aware that Tyrone's firepower is not necessarily limited to their attack, concedes that Armagh's defensive strategy will have to be razor-sharp if Mickey Harte's sharpshooters are to be kept in check.

"I think it was the fact that we were able to exert pressure on Kildare players when they were about to pull the trigger that helped to take us through last Saturday," reflected McKeever.

"It helped us to put their players off a bit. But we will need to step up even further on this aspect of our game on Saturday if we are to contain the huge scoring threat that Tyrone will undoubtedly bring to the table."

And he is conscious that the reigning Ulster champions have players on the bench who are more than capable of posing problems for his side.

"When you look at the way Ronan O'Neill came on the last day and scored two goals within a short while and then the way Declan McClure bolstered the midfield, you see that Tyrone have real quality," insisted McKeever.

"We know what's ahead of us and it's important that we apply pressure relentlessly.

"This calls for a lot of hard work indeed but I think we can deliver on this. I think it is vital that we do so in this particular game."

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