Kevin Dyas hoping Armagh can find a rhythm
Just when he was in need of a pick-me-up, the Ulster GAA Writers Association provided it for Armagh forward Kevin Dyas.
After the exceptional form he had shown against Cavan and in the drawn game against Monaghan, Dyas failed to find his familiar rhythm in Sunday's replay against the Farney county.
But 24 hours later he was handed an additional incentive to retrieve his best form against Tyrone in the All-Ireland qualifiers on Sunday when he took delivery of the latest Writers Association monthly merit award.
It was his imposing performances in June that thrust Dyas ahead of the field for the prize and now he is hoping to scale the heights again against Tyrone.
"It was very disappointing to lose to Monaghan," admits the Drumintee clubman.
"We thought we could match if not improve on our display in the drawn game but it wasn't to be. Now we have the Tyrone game to look forward to and this will give us an opportunity to get that Monaghan defeat out of our system.
"The boys are keen to get going again and are adopting a very positive attitude to the game even though we recognise that Tyrone will be favourites."
His vision, control and accurate kick-passing convinced manager Paul Grimley that he has a lot more to offer Armagh and he looks certain to again get a key role against Mickey Harte's team.
"We know we are getting a big chance to make up for our lapse last Sunday and we want to take it with both hands but Tyrone will be very difficult to handle on their own ground," predicts Dyas.
He will have the task of orchestrating the Armagh attack on Sunday and is conscious that Tyrone will have taken heart from their emphatic first round qualifier win over Louth.
Last night, manager Grimley assessed minor knocks picked up by some players against Monaghan and is already resigned to being without Kieran Toner and Ethan Rafferty for the trip to Omagh.
Dyas, though, offers him considerable hope. In winning the writers award he beat off competition from Donegal player Paddy McGrath, Monaghan goalkeeper Rory Beggan and Antrim hurling custodian Chris O'Connell.
The Antrim management committee will meet in the near future to conduct a review of the year to date with emphasis on the football team's exit from the All-Ireland qualifiers.
A hard-earned victory over Fermanagh in the quarter-finals of the Ulster Championship rekindled the flame of hope which was still flickering brightly at half-time in their semi-final meeting with Donegal when the sides were deadlocked at 0-7 each.
But in the second–half Donegal went on to score 3-9 in a devastating performance that left the Saffrons sagging against the ropes.
And hopes that the team might chart a course through the qualifiers were dashed in the game against Limerick on Saturday when Bradley's side were beaten by 3-11 to 0-15.
County chairman Jim Murray and PRO Brendan Mulgrew are both on vacation and no arrangements for the annual review will be made until their return.