Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 21 August 2014

O’Rourke determined to respond after Armagh defeat

Who would ever want to be a football manager?

Before Armagh boss Paddy O’Rourke had time to gather his thoughts after his team’s crushing 1-18 to 0-9 Championship defeat by Monaghan he was reminded that it was Armagh’s heaviest since losing the 1977 All Ireland final to Dublin.

“We badly needed to get early scores at the start of the second-half, but it was Monaghan who got through for those scores,” said O’Rourke (below).

“It left us with a mountain to climb especially as we were down to 14 men after Brian Mallon's red card in the first-half.

“I’m convinced after this that Monaghan will win the Ulster Championship and I’ve no doubt we’re a far better side than we appeared out there over the 70 minutes.

“I honestly hope Monaghan go on to lift the Anglo Celt trophy for they have a group of players who deserve a provincial title, but I don’t believe we’re as far away as that result would suggest.

“The most important thing is that we learn from the setback and now it’s about how we react.

“In my book Brian Mallon was very unlucky to be sent-off. He’s not that kind of player, but once the referee consulted the linesman he was always going to be in trouble.”

On a desperately disappointing day for Armagh football O’Rourke revealed that Ronan Clarke’s Achilles injury is much worse than initially feared and it now appears that his leg will be put back in plaster — effectively ruling him out of the remainder of the Championship..

Steven McDonnell and Jamie Clarke apart, few Armagh players emerged with any lasting credit from this humiliation at Casement Park.

Half back Paul Duffy was a notable exception, who gave everything for the cause and not once did his head drop.

“To say I’m disappointed is a massive understatement. Everything they tried came off while we could do nothing right,” said Duffy.

“Brian Mallon’s sending off was a massive setback, but I still thought that early in the second-half we might just have edged our way back into it, but with a man less it was always going to be a big ask.

“Brian should never have been red carded. He put his body on the line as he challenged for the ball.

“It was a decision that changed the course of the whole game,” added the Pearse Og stalwart.

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