Monday 5 December 2016

Blow for Armagh as Jamie Clarke is ruled out for 2016

Published 05/01/2016 | 02:30

Jamie Clarke has indicated he will be returning to the USA. Photo: Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile
Jamie Clarke has indicated he will be returning to the USA. Photo: Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile

Jamie Clarke is unlikely to be involved with Armagh this season, his manager Kieran McGeeney has confirmed.

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McGeeney, speaking after Sunday's McKenna Cup defeat to Cavan, said he had been talking with Clarke and the indications he was given was that the player would be returning to the USA.

Clarke went to the States after Armagh's All-Ireland Championship exit to Galway, missed Crossmaglen's Armagh Championship campaign but returned for the latter stages of the Ulster Club Championship.

McGeeney is hopeful that there will be other Crossmaglen players linking up with his squad once their interest in the All-Ireland club series is at an end.

"At all times we just let Crossmaglen batter away," he said. "Obviously there are good players in the team and Jamie is one of these.

"He has indicated that he is gone for the year. He will probably go back to the United States after the team's involvement in the All-Ireland Club series is finished.

"I was chatting with him and this is what he indicated to me.

"Tony Kernan has just got married so we have to let him settle into that. James Morgan will be playing with the club but he will be back with us when their run is ended," added McGeeney.

Beyond that, there may be opportunities for two of Crossmaglen's defenders.

"Young Aidan Rush is playing very well, as is Paul McKeown, and it will depend on the players themselves. When you ask a player you have to be sure that they want to play for the county," said McGeeney.

"But, touch wood, Crossmaglen will go on and win the All-Ireland club championship because it would be good for us to have winners in our county team. If these boys can go on and win another medal or two that would be great."

Meanwhile Mayo midfielder Tom Parsons feels he can build on what was personally a resurgent 2015.

The Charlestown man's performances at midfield were one of Mayo's highlights as he finally delivered on the potential he had showed throughout his career.

Parsons puts it down to maturity and a better way of dealing with injury.

"When a lot of guys mature what you do away from the field is always improving, it is getting more and more professional," he said.

"There were years there where I picked up injuries. How players handle injuries is a big part of the game.

"For me last year, I still picked up injuries. But how you manage those injuries, how you train when you are injured, you train smartly. That is something that you pick up down the line. We are not in a controlled environment. If you look at any big-hitting games, injuries are a big part of it.

"Maybe in years gone by people might ignore injuries, and they might get through a season being partially injured, whereas that's not what we do now.

"It is a short window but the only way to succeed is to fail and you learn from all these times that you fail.

"With my Mayo career I have had huge ups and huge downs but that is hopefully what the character of this Mayo team needs - to know that when you are knocked down you get back up.

"I have had a few times in my career when things did not go (for me) but if you have a belief and a goal and you stick to it, you keep working on that on a daily and weekly basis you get there."

Parsons doesn't believe there is any added pressure on Mayo following their expression of no confidence in the outgoing management, Pat Holmes and Noel Connelly, after the All-Ireland semi-final replay defeat to Dublin.

"There is pressure every year. We are a proud county. Regardless of what has happened any year previously there is always huge pressure when you put on that Mayo jersey, to play with pride," he said.

Irish Independent

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