By Shaun Casey
DEFEATING Donegal was a huge monkey off Armagh’s back according to roaming wing half back Jarly Og Burns.
Burns, son of former Orchard captain Jarlath Burns, kicked three-points from play in Armagh’s ten-point victory over old rivals Donegal.
After suffering a deflating defeat at the hands to the Tir Chonaill men two months ago in Ballybofey, Armagh gained their revenge with a terrific display.
They started the game brilliantly, with Rory Grugan netting inside the first ten seconds. Donegal took control and eventually led by 0-9 to 1-2, but Armagh never panicked and eventually turned it around.
“In other years we might have sat down, and they could have walked all over us and maybe finished it off but thankfully we’ve learned. We really have learned, and we’re just delighted that we showed character and got back to get the win,” said Burns.
“There was big pressure on us to rectify that game in Ballybofey, it wasn’t good enough and it’s a weight lifted off the shoulders now just to get that win and bypass Donegal.
“We needed to get that performance I think, just to get one back-to-back was big for us. Thank God, the second half there we cruised to victory, and we enjoyed the last five or ten minutes.
“Donegal have had our number the past few years and that was a massive win today there for us, for this group and we’re just delighted to get through it.”
After knocking out the All-Ireland champions Tyrone last weekend, there was pressure on Kieran McGeeney’s men to deliver back-to-back performances.
“This team, we’ve struggled to get that back-to-back performance and that’s what been asked of us. We knuckled down today, and we didn’t panic, could have panicked, and thankfully we got, not even a win but a performance.”
The Silverbridge man put the shift in performance compared to the one in the Ulster championship down to good old fashioned hard work.
“It’s hard to put your finger on it. It’s cliched to say hard work but we didn’t work hard enough in Ballybofey.
“We looked at ourselves in the mirror, no one played up to where they could and we just knuckled down, we got it right, we figured out a few things, they happened for us today again and we were just happy to get that.”
Once the final whistle sounded in Clones, an ocean of orange and white flooded on to the field and Burns is delighted that this side has finally given the fans something to shout about.
“Armagh fans have wanted a team to scream for and thankfully now we’re giving them that and they deserve it. They’re such loyal supporters, no matter how bad we’re going or how good we’re going, they’re always on your back.
“It felt like there were two to one Armagh fans to Donegal, it was unbelievable. I know Kieran Donaghy had asked for the Armagh supporters to come out in force and by God they did.”