GAA Football

Missing out on promotion will be a setback but Armagh will come again says Conor Turbitt

Conor Turbitt in action for the Armagh U20 side. Picture Margaret McLaughlin.
Andy Watters

MISSING out on promotion to Division One this year will be a setback but Armagh will bounce back from it, says emerging forward Conor Turbitt.

The Clann Eireann attacker, who burst onto the inter-county scene with 1-6 on his first National League debut in January, played his part as the Orchard County laid down the groundwork for promotion with three wins and a draw in five games to move to the top of Division Two with games against Roscommon and Clare remaining.

Since then the GAA has been in lockdown and, although inter-county action may return in October it is now looking increasingly unlikely that the Leagues will be played to a conclusion.

Turbitt says they should be.

“We don’t know if the Leagues are going to be played out,” said the 21-year-old.

“The way I see it is that teams are going to need preparation if they are going to go into a Championship. So why not use the last two League games as preparation? I know the timeframe is going to be hard to work with and it would be tough but it’s worth looking at.”

Whether the Leagues are completed this year or not, Turbitt is confident that Kieran McGeeney’s young Armagh squad will seal the top flight deal next season.

“It’s something we can get over and it’s motivation to work hard,” he said.

“We know that we’re capable of winning the League and getting promoted but is has been taken out of our hands now. It’s motivation for us to work and to play at that (Division One) level and succeed. It’s disappointing obviously if the League doesn’t get finished but I don’t think it’s a real setback.”

Ulster University student Turbitt was called into the Armagh squad after progressing through underage levels with the county and has linked up again with former minor and U20 team-mates like Rian O’Neill and Jason Duffy.

“I settled in very quickly because I knew most of the boys already but the thing that is a shock is the calibre of player that you’re in with,” he said.

“You’re looking around the changing room at the people you have to compete with to try and get a spot thinking: ‘This won’t be easy’.

“So the intensity in training is through the roof because everybody is trying to prove a point to get themselves into the team. The training is tough and physical – I’d never experienced the intensity of it before I came into the squad.”

Turbitt says the Armagh players are “best mates off the pitch” and, like his colleagues, he is concentrating on working hard and improving his skills during the ongoing Covid-19 shutdown.

“We’ve got time to work on the things we need to work on,” he said.

“If you need to get stronger, you can work on that; if you need to sharpen up on the shooting, that’s what you want to do.

“The day the football’s coming back can’t come quick enough really. In terms of our team, there’s no shortage of talent and the team is very young so I don’t think there’s any limit on us and I don’t see why we can’t push on for Division One and then the Championship."

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