Wednesday 21 August 2019

Armagh hunger can propel them to replay victory, says McNulty

Armagh All-Ireland winning defender Justin McNulty. Photo: Sportsfile
Armagh All-Ireland winning defender Justin McNulty. Photo: Sportsfile

Armagh All-Ireland winning defender Justin McNulty wasn't surprised to see his county finish on level terms with Cavan in last Sunday's Ulster SFC semi-final.

And the Mullaghbawn man reckons there will again be little difference between the sides when they meet in Sunday's replay.

McNulty, who along with his brother Enda helped to shore up the Orchard defence in the team's drive to the ultimate glory 17 years ago, is convinced that both teams will have absorbed lessons from last weekend's thriller.

"Armagh need to be very focussed and very ready for the battle this time out," said McNulty. "While it was great for Armagh to get over Down, even though it was only by a point, Cavan showed last weekend that they are a tough, tenacious side who do not give up easily.

"When you think that Armagh's two games in the Championship have both gone to extra-time, this shows you the competitive nature of the Ulster Championship. It is way ahead of the rest."

While both sets of fans remain optimistic, they are acutely aware of how tense the exchanges can become and also recognise that games such as Sunday's can be decided by fine margins.

"While matches are more closely analysed now, you would have to take on board that Armagh have not been performing well in the Ulster Championship for some years now," added McNulty.

"In this context the win over Down was most welcome, but the challenge now is for the team to build on this. I know that there are a lot of optimistic noises being made, and I don't for one second under-estimate what Kieran (McGeeney) has been doing, but anything can happen in the white heat of a Championship match.

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"The team that wants victory more will win and I just hope that Armagh is that team come Sunday."

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