Sunday 18 November 2018

Kieran McGeeney hits out at critics after Armagh send qualifier warning

Armagh 1-19 Sligo 1-13

Nathan Rooney of Sligo in action against Charlie Vernon and Joe McElroy of Armagh. Photo by Oliver McVeigh/Sportsfile
Nathan Rooney of Sligo in action against Charlie Vernon and Joe McElroy of Armagh. Photo by Oliver McVeigh/Sportsfile

Independent.ie Sportsdesk

They have scored 4-35 in two games and have prime finishers in Rory Grugan and Niall Grimley, so Armagh should be one of the feared teams in the third round of the qualifiers.

Admittedly, their backdoor wins have come against Westmeath and Sligo - sides they defeated in the spring en route to winning the Division 3 title - but Armagh have certainly reinvented themselves after a disappointing Ulster loss to Fermanagh last month.

Kyle Cawley of Sligo in action against Patrick Burns of Armagh. Photo by Oliver McVeigh/Sportsfile
Kyle Cawley of Sligo in action against Patrick Burns of Armagh. Photo by Oliver McVeigh/Sportsfile

Manager Kieran McGeeney believes his side were overly criticised for that defeat to Fermanagh but there was nothing but plaudits following this victory at Markievicz Park.

McGeeney said: "It was a tough game against Fermanagh and we seem to get more criticism than most… we were down a man from half-time in that game.

"Playing against a breeze with a team like Fermanagh, we struggled, yeah, but I don't think we were as bad as people made out.

"We played them three times (this year), we won once, they won once and the other game was a draw so for the fellas to get some of the criticism that they got… but that is past," added the former Kildare manager.

Neil Ewing of Sligo in action against Ryan McShane of Armagh. Photo by Oliver McVeigh/Sportsfile
Neil Ewing of Sligo in action against Ryan McShane of Armagh. Photo by Oliver McVeigh/Sportsfile

"Now we've had two good wins away from home (in the qualifiers) but we'll be up against some serious teams (in round three)."

Grugan, with 1-5, and first-half substitute Grimley, who shot 0-6, orchestrated Armagh's win, although Sligo gifted them a 39th-minute goal when netminder Aidan Devaney's gaffe was ruthlessly punished by Grugan.

Armagh, who regained the lead with three unanswered points at the end of the first half to lead 0-8 to 0-7 at the break, never trailed in the second-half although their impressive lead was diluted when Sligo scored 1-1 in stoppage-time.

Cian Breheny netted a consolation goal from close range for a Sligo team that finished with 13 players due to red cards in the closing minutes for corner-forward Adrian Marren and veteran defender Charlie Harrison.

Aidan Forker of Armagh in action against Charles Harrison of Sligo. Photo by Oliver McVeigh/Sportsfile
Aidan Forker of Armagh in action against Charles Harrison of Sligo. Photo by Oliver McVeigh/Sportsfile

Sligo were unable to maintain the leads they twice established in the first-half as Liam Gaughan (20) emerged as their most potent attacker with seven points.

Sligo manager Cathal Corey was frustrated by how his charges let slip favourable positions on the scoreboard although they at least made up for that crushing loss to Galway in the Connacht semi-final.

"We were going well and then we conceded three points just before half-time and a goal just after the restart," he lamented.

"That left a few scores in it and they (Armagh) were strong in defence and well-organised. That made it hard for us to get in for the major scores that we needed to turn the game."

Sean Carrabine of Sligo in action against Aidan Forker of Armagh. Photo by Oliver McVeigh/Sportsfile
Sean Carrabine of Sligo in action against Aidan Forker of Armagh. Photo by Oliver McVeigh/Sportsfile

 

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