O'Rourke looks to upset odds
Published 07/02/2012 | 05:00
ARMAGH manager Paddy O'Rourke would love to upset the bookies who made his team joint-favourites with Laois for relegation from Division 1.
O'Rourke's side -- missing the Crossmaglen players, who face an All-Ireland club semi-final later this month, and Stevie McDonnell, who is not at full fitness yet -- got a home point against Division 1 champions Cork on Sunday.
It doesn't look any easier for Armagh this week, with a trip to Tralee to in-form Kerry -- but O'Rourke won't panic.
"It's still a long road. Whatever the bookies want to do is fine, but we intend to be playing Division 1 football again next year," he said. "We're going to do everything we can to make sure that happens, and we also intend to build a very solid team for the championship.
"Cork coming here for our first game was a tough one. To get something out of it is good."
The Armagh boss watched Kerry defeat Dublin and knows the Kingdom will be looking to build momentum in the league -- but hopes his young players will have taken confidence from the Cork game.
"Kerry looked very impressive. If we grow a bit from this one, and I'm sure we will, we'll go down there and enjoy it. We'll take them on," said O'Rourke.
The Down native knows his newbies -- he gave five players a league debut in the starting line-up -- had a baptism of fire against the Rebels.
"This is a very young team -- we finished with five U-21s in the forward lines and one in the backs, so six U-21s finished that game," he said.
"That's a big percentage of young players. Some of those players are only 19 and 20 and sometimes when you have players that young, the occasion can get to them a wee bit. It didn't get to the likes of Ciaran McKeever or Malachy Mackin, who have been around a while.
"That's what playing at this level means -- and the only way you can turn them into inter-county players is by playing them."