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Bigger scores on the board is a priority for Armagh, says Forker

By John Campbell

Armagh skipper Aidan Forker has issued a rallying call to his side in advance of the Bank of Ireland Dr McKenna Cup.

The orchard county is included in Section A along with Queen's, Down and Derry and Maghery clubman Forker is urging his players to maintain a sustained emphasis on racking up bigger scores.

"This year we did not record big enough scores and ultimately that cost us," admits Forker, "We have been putting a strong focus on our shooting in training lately and we hope to see the fruits of this in the McKenna Cup. After that we will try and carry this over into the league."

"We have to become more clinical. That's vital if we are to make progress, particularly in the championship."

"When we beat Tyrone last Sunday in the McKenna Cup final we maybe did not get as many scoring chances as they did but the difference was that we took ours. Not getting enough scores has been our downfall over this past couple of years."

While most other counties tend to take each match as it comes, Forker reveals that the orchard county adhere to an even more detailed philosophy in relation to their itinerary.

"We like to take things training session by training session with the emphasis on undertaking our recovery properly," explains Forker, "That's the way we are approaching things and I hope that this mentality stays with us."

"We are delighted that we have had two competitive games under our belt both of which we won this month."

Forker was one of two Armagh players, the other being Conor White, who were sent off in that game by referee Martin McNally but the combative utility player believes this gave the rest of the team the opportunity to show their true spirit and resilience.

"I think the boys discovered they had a lot more to offer than they thought and the fact that we scored 3-10 against Tyrone is very encouraging going forward," states Forker, "I liked the way the lads got back in numbers when we were down to thirteen players. They defended well when Tyrone mounted a strong challenge in the last quarter and they counter-attacked with considerable skill."

"The manner in which Stefan Campbell and Paul Hughes were able to pick off late points showed the team's staying power and I think this bodes well for us. We are competitive and aggressive but we know that we still have some work to do."

Ben Crealey and Stephen Sheridan could form a new Armagh midfield partnership while Ciaran Higgins (Maghery) and Anthony Duffy (Pearse Og) are other players who are pressing to become to become regulars.

Oisin MacIomhair from the Annaghmore club has been knocking on the door for some time now and could feature more strongly in 2017 while Ruairi McCaughley, Joe McElroy and Shea Heffon will be afforded the chance to improve further on the potential they showed this year after having been given their chance by manager Kieran McGeeney.

Skipper Forker insists it is vital that Armagh should take what he describes as "the right attitude" into games.

"When players go into a game it's important that they do so with the right attitude. I think when they do this they can discover that they have a lot more in them than they think. Even though it's early days we are enjoying our football and that's important," adds Forker.

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