Saturday 17 February 2018

Armstrong certain there's another big day in Tribesmen

Galway’s Sean Armstrong commiserates with Armagh’s Jamie Clarke last week
Galway’s Sean Armstrong commiserates with Armagh’s Jamie Clarke last week

John Fallon

Sean Armstrong believes that the confidence and momentum built up by Galway in three qualifier wins will see them have a right crack at Cork in this afternoon's fourth-round qualifier at Croke Park (5.0).

Galway had not won a qualifier match since 2004 until this summer and they had not been victorious in successive back-door games since 2001, when they went on to win the All-Ireland.

The 16-point loss to neighbours and arch rivals Mayo in the opening round of this year's Connacht championship left Galway fans entertaining little hope that they would return to Croke Park for the first time since 2008.

But while they just managed to edge past Division 4 sides Tipperary and Waterford, Galway displayed some of their traditional dash when brushing a fancied Armagh team aside last weekend.

Manager Alan Mulholland admitted to being stung by the level of criticism, but Armstrong, who has been down that road a few times since bursting on the scene as an All-Ireland U-21 medal winner in 2005, wasn't surprised.

"We had been written off beforehand and that kind of rallied us," said the Salthill-Knocknacarra clubman. "The pressure was off us and we really wanted to just have a cut against Armagh.

"We got ridiculed by newspaper and other journalists, but, believe me, we are used to listening to that. If I wasn't, I wouldn't be playing football. There is an inner belief there. We knew we could win against Armagh and that was a big one in us.

"We knew Armagh would be more man-on-man and that they'd give us an opportunity to open up and prove to ourselves what we are capable of."

Armstrong has been in fine form at centre-forward as Galway rescued their season and with Paul Conroy lording it at midfield and U-21s such as Tom Flynn also coming good, the Tribesmen believe they are in with a shout.

"We'll be underdogs again so there is no pressure at all on us. Cork are a fantastic team and we know we have to build on the Armagh performance and push on again.

"But we believe there is another big performance in us," said Armstrong.

"A win like the Armagh one can give you a bit of momentum and confidence that we lacked. To get that monkey off our back was nice. Now we have three victories in a row.

"I don't think we have done that in a couple of years. We have got a huge mountain ahead of us against Cork, so we won't get ahead of ourselves, but we do feel there is an even bigger one in us," he added.

Irish Independent

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