GAA Football

Armagh ready to 'go to war' against Monaghan says Stephen Sheridan

Armagh’s Stephen Sheridan (left) and Monaghan’s Vinny Corey during a media event yesterday ahead of this Saturday’s All-Ireland Senior Football Championship Qualifying clash in St Tiernach’s Park, Clones. Picture by Sportsfile 

ARMAGH are ready to “go to war” with Monaghan in the All-Ireland qualifiers this Saturday evening – and Jarlath Og Burns should be available for duty.

So says fellow Orchard County midfielder Stephen Sheridan. Although the Forkhill remains out with a knee injury sustained in their Ulster SFC opener against Down, he is keenly anticipating the Clones clash with the Farneymen.

Burns has been a revelation for Armagh in their three games so far, but has also been in the wars, taken off in a precautionary move in their drawn semi-final against Cavan after receiving a knock to the head, then suffering from dehydration in the replay a week later.

Sheridan said of that the son of the former county captain is ready for action again: “He is back training and hopefully ready to go this weekend.

“After that second Cavan game there probably was a bit of worry in the Armagh camp about him.

“But he was discharged from hospital that evening, before we even got home. The news travelled through the squad that he was OK, that it was the dehydration that caused it and everything is OK with him.

“Our medical team is second-to-none and they really are top-class. They keep a lot of that information in between themselves and Jarlath Óg, rightly so, and all we know is that he is back, playing and out on the field.

“As far as we are concerned there is no issue there. He is out and competing for his spot for the team.”

The tables have turned in the Armagh-Monaghan rivalry over the past decade, with the Orchardmen’s last Championship victory coming 13 years ago, although they did take Monaghan to an Ulster semi-final replay in 2014.

Sheridan accepts that Malachy O’Rourke’s men are favourites after almost reaching the All-Ireland Final last year, but insists that Armagh believe they can keep their season alive:

“We know what Monaghan is going to bring. They are a rough and ready team. They bring experience to it, they know how to get there, they know how to get the job done. So we are under no illusions about what Monaghan are going to bring this weekend.

“We are focussed in. We believe we have the ability to take one off them. We feel we are ready to go to war with them and see how we stack up against one of the big boys of the All-Ireland series.”

Indeed, he’s hopeful of playing inter-county Championship again this year after only lasting a few minutes as a substitute against Down:

“I ended up tearing my MCL [medial collateral ligament]. Nothing in it, the challenge. Gerdie Collins landed on me awkwardly.

“If you had have spoken to me then I was doom and gloom for two days after it. It could have been a lot worse, I suppose I was thinking it could have been my cruciate but then the scans came back and I became pretty optimistic.

Unfortunately I am not fit for this weekend, but I like to think that if we can get through this weekend, I will play a part at some stage in the Championship with Armagh.

“We have a great medical team there within Armagh. Shay McAleer is the physio and he has been brilliant with me. I probably couldn’t put a time-frame on it, but I would like to think I can play a part in the Championship before the end of the year”.

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