Jamie Clarke set to opt out of Crossmaglen set-up again
CROSSMAGLEN’S hopes of regaining the Armagh crown have been dealt a blow with the news that Jamie Clarke is set to opt out once more.
The mercurial forward enjoyed his best summer ever for the county side, playing a starring role as they reached the last eight of the All-Ireland series.
His late goal in the Qualifier win over Tipperary was one of the highlights of the summer and he was almost unmarkable in their Croke Park victory over a fancied Kildare side.
Clarke had returned to the Orchard fold after coming back from his international travels last December, having taken the previous year out of GAA at home.
He travelled to New York where he signed for Cosmopolitan Soccer League outfit Shamrocks and played GAA for the Longford club in the city.
The 27-year-old had featured throughout this year for his club and played in their SFC defeat by Maghery at the end of last month.
But The Irish News has learned that he has not trained with the club since last week and is unlikely to feature in Sunday evening’s SFC qualifier against Wolfe Tones.
Clarke missed his club’s run to the Armagh title in 2015, but returned late on in the year to help them across the line in Ulster and kicked four points in February’s All-Ireland semi-final defeat by Castlebar before embarking on his travels.
The 11-time Ulster club champions were downed by Maghery in their second round tie having led for most of the first three-quarters of the game, only to be hit by a late three-goal blitz.
They will be expected to get back on track against the Derrymacash outfit this weekend but if Clarke is unavailable it would be a significant blow to their hopes of success in Armagh and possibly Ulster.