We failed to compete: Mac
Published 07/04/2008 | 08:30
Armagh manager Peter McDonnell, normally the essence of diplomacy and tact, clearly encountered difficulty in reining his frustration, annoyance - even anger - after his side's insipid display against Meath that has brought the unwanted vision of relegation onto the radar.
"If you are involved in a team effort, you have to get involved, you have to show for the ball - we did not do that in this match," admitted McDonnell.
"These boys are much better footballers than they showed here against Meath - whatever was going on in their heads, I don't know what it was. If I did, I would be a genius."
The Armagh boss revealed that he had told his players before the match that the 4-20 score they racked up against Roscommon could prove "a difficult legacy" for them.
"Obviously we have players who know how to score but first we have to compete. We didn't do that this time. We didn't create much and we paid the penalty," he declared.
Yet McDonnell felt his team, for all their failings, pushed Meath most of the way.
"Meath would not have felt safe until they got that late goal from a penalty. We had managed to keep in touch but we only scored two points in the second-half and that's not good enough.
"Right up until 15 minutes to go, the game was never away from us.
"But once that penalty went in, the heads dropped and that was the real disappointing aspect. When heads drop, things can go much worse for you," said McDonnell.
"If any player in the team does not realise that he has a load of hard work ahead of him then he is not living in the real world. We went into this game on the back of a 20-point win over Roscommon which proved to be a load of nonsense at the end of the day."
Rival boss Colm Coyle, an ex-Meath All Ireland winner, suggested that maybe Armagh were "looking towards a bigger picture" - a reference to their championship aspirations.