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McCorry admits Armagh must tighten up

AS the Armagh management team sat down to do their video analysis of their Ulster semi-final replay loss to Cavan, hands would have regularly covered the eyes as Orchard players missed goal chance after goal chance.

The steam was escaping Jim McCorry’s ears for another reason though – the 0-23 they conceded in the six-point loss in Clones.

The assistant manager has a reputation for building teams with strong defensive structures, most notably with Down club Kilcoo.

While the general message from Kieran McGeeney ahead of Saturday’s Qualifier with Monaghan in Clones will be ‘take your chances’, McCorry will be demanding that the players tighten up too.

“There were a number of reasons why we lost the game but four goal opportunities and a lot of wides, that’s one of the big ones,” said McCorry.

“If even one of those goals had went in it would have been a different story as we wouldn’t have been chasing the game.

“That certainly has been a pattern all year. We have played some lovely attacking football and I think everyone watching us would agree, but they’re also commenting on how poor our finishing has been.

“I suppose teams go through phases like that but it’s being worked on and the players are working on it themselves too.

“People mightn’t think there is enough work being done when the net result is so many misses and they start apportioning blame to coaches and management, but one thing that the players and the rest of the management have said is that this is a shared responsibility.

“This is not Kieran McGeeney’s fault that we are not putting teams away, we all have to work on it together.

“The other big factor was that we conceded 23 scores. That’s the highest since I’ve come in and I certainly wouldn’t be happy with that.

“Some of their players did very well on our players, others we marked well but they still got scores.

“I think Cavan’s scoring ratio in that first quarter was 71 percent while ours was 19 percent. That shows the difference.”
Brendan Donaghy’s return from suspension is timely as Armagh try to plug the gaps against a Monaghan side that has been operating at a higher level for most of the past decade.

The Oriel county are a bit like Armagh though in that they haven’t hit top form just yet this season, but McCorry is full of respect for their potential to produce.

“Monaghan are a fantastic side and Malachy O’Rourke has done fantastic work with them.

“He has progressed them over those seven years and they are a Division One side.

“Maybe they haven’t been hitting the heights this year in the championship just like we haven’t been, but they are an excellent side.

“It’s a local derby game, it’ll be a bit like the Armagh-Down game and teams up the ante in derby games.

“Attitudes change for these sort of games and this is going to be a real battle. There’ll be no quarter given or taken.”

Meanwhile, Jamie Clarke’s listed club in the match programme should still read ‘Crossmaglen’ rather than ‘Naesden Gaels’ with confusion about whether or not his transfer to the London club has officially been approved.

It had long been rumoured that Clarke was set for London after opting against representing the Rangers this season and it’s still probable that he will join up with his new club after the conclusion of the 2019 season.

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