Armagh manager Paddy O’Rourke has told his players to ban all thoughts of the possibility of meeting Tyrone in the third round of the All-Ireland football qualifiers and instead warned them to keep their total focus on next Saturday’s second-round replay against Wicklow in Aughrim.
It was a last-gasp Aaron Kernan point in the bowels of extra-time that gave Armagh a 0-19 to 2-13 draw against Mick O’Dwyer’s side at the Morgan Athletic Grounds on Saturday night.
Now O’Rourke is urging a much greater effort in the replay.
“If we play the way we did in the first half last week-end then we will be beaten off the park in Aughrim,” said O’Rourke.
“We need to get into our stride early and maintain our momentum. I was not happy with the two goals we conceded against Wicklow — one of them at least looked very dubious — but these are the kind of things that happen in football and you have to absorb them and move on,” the Down man added.
O’Rourke believes that his side cannot play as badly again as they did in the first-half of the drawn game when a proliferation of handling errors, poor covering and wrong options allowed Wicklow to streak into a 0-9 to 0-2 lead at one stage before points from Michael O’Rourke and Malachy Mackin saw the visitors’ advantage trimmed to 0-9 to 0-4 at half-time.
“We showed great character and spirit in the second-half and I thought we had the game won on a couple of occasions but we let Wicklow back in. They will be very tough opponents on their own ground,” adds O’Rourke.
Midfield ace Kieran Toner, who missed the drawn game, is unlikely to be fit for the replay but O’Rourke has suddenly been presented with two interesting selection options. Malachy Mackin, did particularly well at full-forward and Crossmaglen’s Johnny Hanratty impressed after coming on as a midfield substitute, curbing Wicklow’s James Stafford.