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Armagh are still a 'work in progress' after Down success, insists McCorry

Jim McCorry
Jim McCorry
Declan Bogue

By Declan Bogue

With Kieran McGeeney not around to speak to the press in the meeting room upstairs in Pairc Esler, the honour fell to selector Jim McCorry, the man who introduced the current Armagh boss to county football in his spell as manager in the mid-90s and one who desperately wanted a win for the Mullaghban man.

"Everybody talks about records, Kieran losing four (Ulster Championship games in a row as Armagh manager), 60 odd years since Down have been beaten here (by Armagh), all these different records," he said.

"Win one game and a lot of people think that's them gone and they're forgotten about, all that talk, 'Would he stay on? Would they keep him on?'

"Within the camp people don't think like that, footballers don't think like that. They don't think about two years ago, 'We must go out and get revenge here'. They go out and think about what their preparation has been and what performance they must put out.

"I'd rather be here talking about the win rather than trying to defend a fifth successive Championship game lost so from that point of view there will be relief that we won the Championship match."

Even so, a little bit of white line fever crept in at the end of normal time when Down rattled off 1-2 unanswered points, before Paul Devlin's shot flew in towards the death of extra-time to give Down just a glimmer.

Ghosts of leads lost, in particular one here early on in Armagh's league campaign when they collapsed against Clare, was to the fore of McCorry's thinking.

"We threw away leads in a couple of league games, we thought we had put that ghost to bed and we didn't expect the same situation to occur. We have to look at ourselves for that, we can't blame opposition. We have to make sure that is corrected. It's a work in progress," he said.

Down manager Paddy Tally was a solemn figure afterwards, having been put through the tumble dryer of emotions.

"It was probably crazier than I expected," said the well-travelled coach. "It was a very hard game. A typical Ulster Championship match, loads of incidents and sendings off, lots of scores, goals, and that's probably what those teams went to play.

"It's just disappointing and the boys will be sore now. To lose a game like that... I suppose you have to look at the positives too.

"They showed great character to come back when the game could have been gone."

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