Charlie Vernon loving it when Armagh keep it simple
CHARLIE Vernon hailed one virtue above all others following Armagh’s dominant win over Louth that puts them in the promotion hunt: simplicity.
Guilty of “over-complicating” their play in recent times, the experienced full-back believes the penny is finally dropping among Kieran McGeeney’s new-look side.
The Orchard men have erased their early League slip-ups against Sligo and Laois to win three games in a row – against Longford, Offaly and Louth – and if they win their remaining two Division Three ties, at home to Antrim and Tipperary, they will be back in Division Two next season.
Indeed, if last Sunday’s performance is anything to go by, this Armagh squad have it in their gift to make a quick return to the higher division.
They posted probably their best performance under ‘Geezer’ – and that was without key defender Mark Shields and twin attackers Stefan Campell and Andy Murnin, injured in the build-up to last Sunday’s derby encounter.
“We didn’t over-complicate things against Louth,” said Vernon.
“We kept things simple and effective. That’s the most important thing. Sometimes in the past, especially at the start of the League, we were trying very hard but we were maybe complicating things.
“And that’s a message Kieran has preached to us: keep the game simple and do what’s effective. I’m glad it worked and it made an impact.”
Vernon maintains the current Armagh team are of Division Two standard but insists they won’t be taking an improving Antrim or promotion rivals Tipperary for granted in their last two games.
“[Gaining] promotion is very important because the higher the level you’re playing at the more the boys will improve.
“I suppose Kieran has brought a lot of youth into the team and it’s good for them to get confidence and get victories.
“Sometimes if you’re playing at a higher level and you get defeats it can deflate younger fellas.
“I think Division Two would be a fair enough reflection of where we’d be at.
“I think we were unfortunate enough to go down last year, the way results fell. But when we do our job I feel we can compete with most teams at that level.
“We play Antrim and Tipperary and if we win both of them that would guarantee a spot in the League final. But we’ll not be taking anybody for granted. We need to keep doing the simple things well.”
Armagh looked fitter and stronger all over the field against Louth, but Vernon cautioned of an optical illusion among the victors and the vanquished.
“It can appear that you’re fitter when you’re in front - and when you’re three or four points down you can appear less fit. We’ll keep working hard.
“But summer is where we want to be and compete there and hopefully we can keep picking up points. It would be nice to reach a League final though.”
Vernon had a masterful game on the edge of the defensive square for Armagh last weekend – but it was his team-mate, Ciaran McKeever, at the other end of the field that the Armagh Harps man keenly lauded.
“We were confident ahead of the Louth game and we felt we’d give them a lot of trouble especially with Jamie [Clarke] back. Funnily enough, we were missing ‘Soupy’ [Stefan Campbell] and Andy [Murnin] so it was pleasing for the guys that came in who did really well.”
With a mischievous grin, Vernon added: “The old-timer Ciaran McKeever on the edge of the square – literally, the bear in the square, had a great game!”