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McKeever urges more accuracy as Armagh eye Minor progress

 

Fresh hope: Ciaran McKeever believes Armagh can come good
Fresh hope: Ciaran McKeever believes Armagh can come good
John Campbell

By John Campbell

Armagh manager Ciaran McKeever could have been forgiven for thinking that his team were on the verge of an upset when they led Derry by 0-3 to 0-1 at half-time in last weekend's Ulster Minor Football Championship opening round tie.

But a second-half goal from bustling Oak Leaf full-forward PJ McAleese was to prove a turning point as his side went on to win by 1-5 to 0-4 thereby consigning Armagh to a play-off game against Antrim at the Athletic Grounds tonight (6.00).

"The frustrating thing was that we created chances but maybe did not make the most of them," reflects McKeever.

"If we can show greater accuracy, I think we will be in with a chance of moving on."

Antrim ran current title-holders Monaghan extremely close in their opener last weekend, a late Joe McNally goal taking them to within one point of their visitors - 0-6 to 1-2 - before the final whistle sounded.

Saffrons boss Collie McAllister believes his team have the ability to step up on their performance against an Armagh side that showed a tremendous work-rate against Derry.

"We kept on Monaghan's shoulder and I think we were unfortunate to lose that game," says McAllister. "Now it's up to us to go one better."

Skipper Ruairi Hagan leads a team which he describes as "hugely committed" and believes they can come good on this occasion.

"Obviously Armagh will be difficult at the Athletic Grounds but if we get off to a good start, I think that will stand to us," says Hagan. "The players are hugely committed and keen to do well."

The winners of tonight's game will face Donegal in Round Two of the Qualifiers next Saturday in Ballyshannon and there will also be another game in this phase of the competition on the same evening with Fermanagh hosting Down. The Derry v Cavan and Tyrone v Monaghan Round Two fixtures proper will also be staged next Saturday.

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