Monday 18 December 2017

Galway game a chance to make 'statement' - Clarke

Clarke: Expecting tough game
Clarke: Expecting tough game
Donnchadh Boyle

Donnchadh Boyle

Armagh ace Jamie Clarke believes whoever emerges for the Orchard's clash with Galway on Sunday will have made a big championship statement.

The Crossmaglen sharpshooter was happy to draw Kevin Walsh's side, insisting it will be a "good marker" of their progress of late.

"I suppose when the draw was made I would say both teams were happy," Clarke said. "Ourselves and Galway are in the similar situation of being almost there.

"So it'll be a good marker to see where we're actually at. It's going to be a tough game. Galway have some of the top footballers in the country."

Clarke wasn't sure that playing at home is the most beneficial thing for this Armagh side.

"The Athletic Grounds is a tight pitch and doesn't suit us to a certain extent because we've worked a lot on our fitness and we like to open up and play football and keep it wide.

"It'll be a good game, it's one of the better draws of the championship.

"For us, it's an exciting game, because Galway do like to play football.

"And it's a chance for us because if we win this match we'll be right back on track."

Armagh are out to atone for their no-show against Donegal in the Ulster championship where the game was effectively decided by half-time. And Clarke admits that defeat stung for a while afterwards.

"For about two weeks after the game I think everyone was disappointed. We trained hard and we did everything we were told.

"Getting over that was tough. But, again, beating Wicklow got us back on track. We put that behind us and now our focus is just getting back to Croke Park in August."

And Clarke believes they righted a lot of the wrongs from the Donegal defeat against Wicklow.

"Against Wicklow it was about taking our chances and being as ruthless as possible. That's something that we've been working on because against Donegal we gave away 11 hand-passes in the first half.

"We had the same amount of shots as them, but missed far more. Their scoring ratio was a lot greater than ours.

"Again, they are further down the line than most teams and I suppose that's where we want to get to."

"I think we see Galway as a big team.

"If you take away Dublin, Donegal, Kerry, and Mayo, we'd like to think ourselves and Galway would be close to being next.

"So I think it will be a big statement for whoever wins that they have a great chance of making the quarter-finals."

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