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Armagh boss O’Rourke praises youngsters after Cork display

By John Campbell

Armagh manager Paddy O’Rourke gained considerable satisfaction from seeing his team claim a point at Cork’s expense in the opening round of National Football League fixtures last weekend.

But what pleased the orchard county boss even more was the fact that six Under-21 players were in his line-up when referee Syl Doyle, criticised for his erratic handling of the game, sounded the full-time whistle.

“To my mind, this was a very heartening feature of the game,” reflects O’Rourke.

“I know that some of these boys were a bit uptight and nervous in the first-half but after the break they expressed themselves a bit more and indeed we were unlucky not to have won the game.”

Armagh’s feisty show after the break has given O’Rourke encouragement for next Sunday’s clash with Kerry.

He believes that players like Eugene McVerry, Ryan Forker, John Kingham, Colm Watters, Aidan Forker and Ryan Rafferty will become even better when they get more games under their belts.

“They are being pitched in at the deep end in Division One which is hugely competitive but they have a great appetite for football. We have watched these and other players since the start of the year and it’s important they are given the chance to gain experience,” says O’Rourke.

But he acknowledges that his side will face a very difficult task against the Kingdom.

“We all saw how impressive Kerry were against Dublin last Saturday and how they were able to take their scores,” says O’Rourke.

Obviously they have made an impressive start and they will want to keep things going.”

Malachy Mackin, Ciaran McKeever, Brendan Donaghy and Andy Mallon deployed their experience to good effect against Cork and O’Rourke will again look to this quartet for leadership.

Armagh were not given much chance against Cork and are regarded as no-hopers for their trip to the Kingdom, but this does not bother O’Rourke.

“People are entitled to hold their opinions,” he said. “My business is to try and build a team for the championship and today’s match will be another stepping stone along this route.”

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The Derrytresk female supporter who hit Kerry and Dromid Pearses star Declan O'Sullivan with a handbag during the recent controversial All-Ireland club JFC semi-final has been banned from attending games for a year.

Eight Derrytresk squad members, including Kevin Campbell, Sean Slater, Michael Robinson and Joe McKee will have their appeals against eight-week suspensions heard by the Central Hearings Committee tonight.

The club remains hopeful at least some will be cleared to play in Sunday's All-Ireland final against Galway’s Naomh Padraig.

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