GAA Football

Jamie Clarke has been welcomed back to Armagh fold says Ciaran McKeever

Crossmaglen star Jamie Clarke has been back at pre-season training with Armagh
Neil Loughran

THE Armagh players have welcomed Jamie Clarke back into the county fold with open arms, according to Ciaran McKeever.

Talented Crossmaglen forward Clarke has been in and out of the panel in recent years, and last featured for the Orchardmen in their 2015 All-Ireland Qualifier defeat to Galway.

Clarke didn’t feature at all in 2016 but signalled earlier this month that he was returning from his travels, and has since joined up with the Armagh panel’s pre-Christmas preparations.

Yet, while some supporters have become frustrated by Clarke’s coming and going, McKeever insists the Orchard players are “delighted” to have him back.

“Jamie’s back involved and we as players have a huge amount of time for Jamie,” said the Cullyhanna man.

“Myself and Jamie would be close enough - his brother’s married to my sister, and I remember meeting him for a coffee one day and I said to him ‘go to America, do what you want to do for as long as you want, football will always be there when you come back’.

“The players understood that he wanted to do other things with his life this last year or two, but he’s back, he seems very focused and we’re delighted to have him back in the squad.

“He’s got that out of his system, he’s enjoying training at the minute and he’s pushing things on as much as anybody else.

“He can only add to this journey that Armagh want to go on. It’s a positive for Jamie and it’s a positive from Armagh’s perspective.”

 Irish News Sport's 2016 GAA review

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