GAA Football

Jamie Clarke hopes to deliver against Fermanagh after Down disappointment

Jamie Clarke could be the match-winner for Armagh
Andy Watters

MAN OF THE MOMENT

Jamie Clarke (Armagh)

CLARKE is a match-winner on his day and, after a disappointing return against Down (he scored one pointed free late on), he will be determined to show his real worth tomorrow evening.

The Crossmaglen Rangers star was roughed up by Down defender Darren O’Hagan in Newry and became increasingly frustrated as the game progressed.

Even so, he provided the pass for Armagh’s first goal and his scything first half run would have led to another ‘major’ but for a fingertip save by a Down defender. He’s likely to have Mickey Jones for company tomorrow and will need to be switched on from the start. An early score would help him, and Armagh, settle.

TACTICAL TAKE

Armagh

TO win tomorrow Armagh will need to commit numbers to attack and swamp a Fermanagh defence that likes to defend en masse but lacks the legs to cope with real pace.

The Orchardmen look likely to start with six forwards with Rory Grugan operating as playmaker and Paul Hughes and Mark Shields given licence to push into space between the Fermanagh lines with well-timed runs.

Meanwhile, Brendan Donaghy will marshal the defence from centre half-back in front of Charlie Vernon with James Morgan doing a man-marking job on Fermanagh dangerman Tomas Corrigan who can be deadly from placed balls.

The Orchardmen failed to find a way through Down’s blanket defence in Newry and they will need to move the ball with more purpose if they are to do better against Fermanagh.

Fermanagh

THE Ernemen will look to soak up space in the first half and give nothing away.

Without possession, Pete McGrath’s side defends in numbers in a well-organised defensive system orchestrated by sweeper Ryan McCluskey and full-back Che Cullen.

When in possession, Fermanagh hold the ball up patiently around midfield where Eoin Donnelly and Lee Cullen have formed a formidable partnership and look to feed runners who break from deep with pace. The selfless running of full-forward Corrigan provides an attacking outlet while Seamus Quigley is a threat on the edge of the square.

TEAM TALK

Armagh

THE Orchardmen made three personnel changes to the team that lost to Down.

Most notable is Stefan Campbell’s omission. The Clan na Gael forward has fallen out of form and now favour and drops to the bench. He is replaced by the talented, but unproven, Gavin McParland while Anto Duffy replaces Oisin O’Neill and Niall Grimley comes in at midfield to partner Steven Sheridan.

Elsewhere, Aidan Forker is listed to start in the half-back line with Whitecross clubman Mark Shields moving up to half-forward.

Armagh: B Hughes; J Morgan, C Vernon, A McKay; A Forker, B Donaghy, P Hughes; S Sheridan, N Grimley; M Shields, A Duffy, R Grugan; J Clarke, A Murnin, G McParland

Fermanagh

PETE McGrath has made one change - Ederney goalkeeper Chris Snow replaces Thomas Treacy. Elsewhere he has named the same team that lost to Monaghan in Clones in the Ulster opener.

Ruairi Corrigan is fit again and makes the bench and so too does Declan McCusker – both will see some game-time. Ryan Jones is still carrying an injury but may play some part tomorrow.

Fermanagh: C Snow; M Jones, C Cullen, C McManus; A Breen, R McCluskey, C Murphy; E Donnelly, L Cullen; B Mulrone, R Lyons, P McCusker; K Connor, S Quigley, T Corrigan

KEY BATTLE

Charlie Vernon (Armagh) v Sean Quigley (Fermanagh)

ARMAGH full-back Vernon had a torrid time against Down’s Connaire Harrison in Newry and was moved out to midfield before being substituted.

Meanwhile, Quigley looked short of fitness and form against Monaghan and was called ashore in the second half.

The outcome of this battle could decide the issue tomorrow because if Quigley is marked out of the game, Fermanagh won’t post a total good enough to win. Vernon will match the mercurial Roslea man for pace but he will also have to cope with route one delivery.

There’s no doubt that Quigley will fancy his chances in this duel, so it’s up to Vernon to make sure he doesn’t prove to be the match-winner.

LAST CHAMPIONSHIP MEETING

July 11, 2010 All-Ireland Qualifying Round 2, Brewster Park: Armagh 0-11 Fermanagh 0-7

MONAGHAN had dumped both counties out of the Ulster Championship – Armagh at the quarter-final stage and Fermanagh in the semis.

Six points from Stevie McDonnell saw Armagh over the line and the Orchardmen have four survivors from the game – Brendan Donaghy, Ciaran McKeever, Charlie Vernon (who scored two points from midfield) and Jamie Clarke.

Fermanagh have three – Barry Mulrone, Ryan McCluskey and Seamus Quigley, who scored five points (four from frees) in a losing cause.

LAST 10 CHAMPIONSHIP MEETINGS

July 11, 2010, All-Ireland SFC Qualifying: Armagh 0-11 Fermanagh 0-7

July 27, 2008, Ulster Championship final replay: Armagh 1-11 Fermanagh 0-8

July 20, 2008, Ulster SFC final: Armagh 2-8 Fermanagh 1-11

June 25, 2006, Ulster SFC: Armagh 0-16 Fermanagh 1-8

June 11, 2006, Ulster SFC: Armagh 0-11 Fermanagh 2-5

May 15, 2005, Ulster SFC: Armagh 2-12 Fermanagh 1-7

August 7, 2004 All-Ireland SFC quarter-final: Armagh 0-11 Fermanagh 0-12

June 9, 2002, Ulster SFC: Armagh 0-16 Fermanagh 1-5

June 25, 2000, Ulster SFC: Armagh 0-13 Fermanagh 0-12

May 15, 1994, Ulster SFC: Armagh 1-6 Fermanagh 0-6

WHO'S THE REF?

Cormac Reilly (Meath)

REILLY was the whistler in a bad-tempered League game between these counties last year which led to a mass brawl in the tunnel at the Athletic Grounds when the sides when in at half-time.

The Meath native has returned to the Championship roster this year and took charge of the Limerick versus Clare Munster quarter-final at Cusack Park last month.

WEATHER WATCH

BRING a jacket, but not an umbrella. The forecast is for light cloud but no rain at the Athletic Grounds tomorrow evening. The temperature will be a reasonable 15°C.

BETTING BOX

Armagh 2/5 v Fermanagh 5/2; Draw 15/2

HAVE A PUNT

Andy Murnin, first goalscorer 13/2

 

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