Sunday 25 August 2019

Forker insists Armagh will learn from yet another sluggish finish ahead of Cavan replay

Kieran McGeeney. Photo: Sportsfile
Kieran McGeeney. Photo: Sportsfile

Declan Bogue

When the Armagh management sit down to review the game from Sunday, one glaring facet of their play will hurt them like a persistent toothache.

Throughout Kieran McGeeney's time in charge, they have developed a growing issue with losing leads as the end of a game approaches.

Going back to 2017, they had a draw with Sligo in the league in a game they should have closed out.

A last-minute goal by Tipperary denied them promotion from Division 3 later that spring. Go back a year before that and it was a fisted goal by Galway that sent them down in 2016.

It's something that haunted them in their first two league games this year against Kildare and Clare, which left them scrambling in the final games to preserve their Division 2 status.

It's a nasty trait that has followed them into the championship. Five points and a man up against Down, they were taken into extra-time in a Newry thriller. The same thing happened against Cavan as they surrendered a three-point lead.

"We have talked about it. Management have talked about it," said Aidan Forker, who performed brilliantly in almost entirely blotting out Cavan playmaker Martin Reilly.

"Kieran (McGeeney) always talks about how can we score more than other teams, not about how we contain them. I think it's the psychology of players that we just retreat a wee bit, take an extra step off them, invite them on."

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The last time, Armagh clung on for dear life to beat Down in the quarter-final. On Sunday they couldn't quite repeat the trick and it left Forker scratching his head.

He added: "But we can learn from that and improve. That's what we will be looking at this week, there will not be much training done. There will be a lot of recovery done."

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