Why the Doom and Gloom?

April 21, 2014

The reaction of some Armagh supporters to relegation to Division Three of the league has been one of total doom and gloom without facing the reality that the current position is not a false one. Having dined at the top table for a sustained number of years, the fall from grace, as they see it, to Division Three is a catastrophe but the stats from that Division are very encouraging. The current Ulster Champions Monaghan won their title from Division Three and are contesting the Division Two league title next week against Donegal after both of these teams had beaten Armagh during the course of the league.

Armagh just escaped relegation last year with a last match win over Galway so this year a little bit better was expected but no one could have foreseen the amount of injuries Armagh management would have to cope with throughout the league campaign. The outcry from supporters prompted me to have a detailed look at the league campaign so here are some of my findings.

Armagh management used a total of 33 different players over the course of the 7 league games played. The Orchard County won none of their 3 games played on a Sunday, were only ahead of Laois and Down at half-time and were behind at the interval in the other five, rallying to beat Meath and draw with Louth in  wind assisted second halves. Goalkeeper Philip McEvoy, Andy Mallon, Tony Kernan and Jamie Clarke are the only players to start in all 7 league games. Jamie Clarke finished as top scorer in the league with 1-21 and scored in all 7 games but in three of those games his contribution was just a single point. Tony Kernan was the team’s second highest scorer with 1-16 in 6 games with a single point contribution in two and a no score in one. Stefan Campbell played 6 games scored 1-10 in 4 of those games with his lowest return 1 point in one game.

So the 3 highest scorers in the League contributed 3-47 out of a total of 7-86 which is quite impressive until you look at their game by game stats which portrays a different story. No score and one point contributions from your main marksmen smacks of two things, a lack of quality ball plus a malfunctioning forward unit that fails to get these players on the ball often enough in the right places. Armagh had 20 different players who scored in the League campaign, 11 of whom with no more than 2 scores to their name. At the end of the day the scoreboard counts as to why  games are won and lost and in this department Armagh are found wanting. For long spell in some of those League games Armagh failed to raise a flag and then they hit purple patches where they can score at will. The lack of consistency in the forward division is for me where Armagh are faltering.

Defensively it was very hard to judge Armagh in the League as an awful lot of makeshift defenders were used to fill the spaces because of injury. Management though had a bonus from the injury crisis as it gave fringe players an awful lot of game time they might not have got and a lot of players shaped up quite well.



P McEvoy; 7 7

A Mallon, 7 7 (0-1)

T Kernan 7 7 1-16   (6 GAMES) 0-1, 0-1, 0-2, 0-3, 1-3, 0-6

J Clarke 7 7 1-21 (7 GAMES) 0-1, 0-1, 0-1, 0-3, 0-3, 1-1, 0-11

S Harold 6 S Harold 7 1-4 (4 GAMES) 0-1, 0-1, 0-2, 1-0

M Murray 6 6

M Shields 6 6

S Campbell 6 6 1-10 (4 GAMES) 0-1, 0-2, 0-3, 1-4

A Findon 4 A Findon 2 6

B Mallon 1 B Mallon 5 6 (0-1)

P Hughes 5 5 (0-1)

C Rafferty 5 5 0-6 (4 GAMES) 0-2, 0-1, 0-2, 0-1

K Dyas 5 5 1-03 (2 GAMES) 0-3, 1-0

S Forker 2 S Forker 3 5 1-1 (2 GAMES) 0-1, 1-0

E Mc Verry 2 E Mc Verry3 5 0-6 (4 GAMES) 0-1, 0-1, 0-2, 0-2

P O Neill 4 4

R Tasker 2 R Tasker 2 4 0-2 (2 GAMES) 0-1, 0-1

E Rafferty 2 E Rafferty 2 4 1-3 (2 GAMES) 1-1, 0-2

R Grugan 2 R Grugan 2 4 0-3 (2 GAMES) 0-2, 0-1

C Vernon, 3 3

K Carragher 3 3 (0-1)

O MacIomhair 1   O MacIomhair 2 3 0-2 (2 GAMES) 0-1, 0-1

E Rafferty 2 2

K Toner 2 2

C McKeever 1 C McKeever 2 (0-1)

G McCooey 1 G McCooey 2 (0-1)

F Moriarty 1 F Moriarty 2 (0-1)

A  Kernan 1 A  Kernan 2 0 2 (2 GAMES) 0-1, 0-1

K O Rourke  2 2

J Hanratty 1 1

J Lavery 1 1

A Forker 1

N McConville 1

With all the doom and gloom expressed following relegation those said same people must be confident ahead of the championship, after all Armagh are only facing a team fresh out of Division Three ,Cavan who will contest the league final with Roscommon next week. Roscommon are in the All-Ireland u-21 final and Cavan after a fourth Ulster at this grade were unlucky losers against Dublin in the All-Ireland semi-final.

When doing my bit of research after listening to the gripes of Armagh supporters this last fortnight I took a look at how Armagh have fared at Senior, U-21 and Minor since 1994 and I wonder if these people are as hard done by as they believe.


TYRONE 7 5 9

ARMAGH 7 3 3


DERRY 1 1 3

DOWN 1 3 1

CAVAN 1 4 1




Armagh management and players will be judged on their 2014 championship campaign not on their League campaign that is done and dusted. Armagh are where they are in the League because they did not play well enough. The Down match sticks out as the one that got away over the course of the campaign but there can be few quibbles with the other results. Cavan is the benchmark and the acid test. That same test was miserably failed twelve months ago. Cavan have their well- known style of play so it’s what Armagh are going to come up with is what is important.

Manager Paul Grimley has brought five new players into the squad in the run-up to the Cavan encounter on 8th June at 4pm in the Armagh Athletic Grounds.

David O’Hagan (Grange) and Tim Harney (Pearse Og’s) join the ranks of the goalkeepers in the squad. Meanwhile, Seamus Kelly from Silverbridge, John McGill from Carrickcruppen and Míceál McKenna from Grange complete the new additions.

Paul Grimley outlined that “bringing in these players is in line with our policy programme of new younger players for the future. The players have put the recent NFL campaign behind them and we are starting our championship training. Myself, the Management team and the players want to thank our supporters for their great backing throughout the NFL and we are determined to extend the summer season as far as possible.”