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Armagh have to raise bar, says McGeeney

Sligo 1-13 Armagh 1-19

Winning feeling: Armagh’s Jemar Hall celebrates with fan
Winning feeling: Armagh’s Jemar Hall celebrates with fan

By Steve Malone

Armagh manager Kieran McGeeney has declared himself happy with his side's win over Sligo on Saturday, but expects them to rise to the challenge of round three of the qualifiers.

The Orchard side led 0-8 to 0-7 at the break but Ryan McShane's gifted goal only three minutes into the second half set them on their way as they comfortably pulled away.

They led 1-19 to 0-12 with the announced injury-time played but conceded 1-1 at the death, which is a cause for concern.

And McGeeney admitted he wasn't too concerned with how close the contest was in the first half.

"We were playing against a very strong breeze, we were happy enough although we were a bit annoyed when they got three or four points in a row as we couldn't seem to get our hands on the ball," McGeeney said.

"Against a considerable breeze we dropped a lot short and we could have scored two goals in the first half, so we weren't annoyed, we just expected more from ourselves.

"There is plenty of pace in Sligo, they scored 1-12 against Galway and after losing Aidan (Forker) to a black card, it was a big thing, but still to put 20 scores on the board was good and it is good in anybody's book.

"We probably should have had a lot more. I'd be a wee bit disappointed with the last couple of minutes because we conceded a goal and two points for nothing, but that is me probably being a bit harsh on them."

Sligo finished the game with 14 men after talisman Adrian Marren received a second yellow late on. The introduction of Niall Grimley made a massive impact, as it not only gave Armagh a right-sided free-taker but he helped kick-start the attack, with McShane, Rory Grugan and Andrew Murnin all impressing and finding the target.

Midfielder Stephen Sheridan looked in excellent shape too after coming off the bench to play in his first game since the National League final.

It was Armagh's second win on the trot since. Orchard boss McGeeney feels they are still answering critics from their Ulster Championship defeat to Fermanagh but feels there is more to come from his men.

"It was a tough game against Fermanagh and we tend to get more criticism than most, we were down a man from half-time and while we struggled we weren't as bad as people made us out to be. We played them three times, we won once, they won once and the other time it was a draw," said McGeeney.

"But that is in the past, we since have had two good wins away from home, which is good for us, but there are some serious teams ahead."

Sligo scorers: L Gaughan (0-7, 5f), C Breheny (1-0), N Murphy (0-3), S Carrabine (0-1), A Marren (0-2, 2f).

Armagh scorers: R Grugan (0-6, 4f), N Grimley (0-5, 3f), R McShane (1-1), A Murnin (0-2), J Hall (0-1,) B Hughes (0-1), C Mackin (0-1), S Sheridan (0-1), J McElroy (0-1).

Belfast Telegraph


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