GAA Football

John McEntee urges Armagh fans to calm their jets

John McEntee is enjoying Armagh's Championship adventure but urges caution

JOHN McEntee has tried to quell some of the hype swirling around the Armagh senior footballers following their emphatic Championship victories over Tyrone and Donegal and has urged Orchard supporters “not to get carried away”.

McEntee, who was part of Armagh’s famous All-Ireland winning team in 2002 and a team-mate of current boss Kieran McGeeney, is enjoying the thrill of standing on the terraces these days watching the rise of his county.

While trying to be measured about Armagh’s impressive trajectory this year, McEntee did acknowledge drawing Galway in next weekend’s All-Ireland quarter-finals was a very winnable fixture.

“I think we need to look at Armagh in a measured way,” cautioned McEntee.

“We got beaten by Donegal early on in the Ulster Championship. We beat a bad Tyrone team [in the All-Ireland Qualifiers]. They looked heavy-legged, they looked jaded, and were ill-disciplined all year.

“In the Ulster final between Derry and Donegal game, we knew Donegal’s limit. They played well against Derry but they had a limit, they became tired.

“So going into the second game against them, I think Armagh knew Donegal could only go so far. It was testament to Armagh because Donegal broke very early. They were a tired team.”

The rampant Orchard men appeared to have Donegal’s number before half-time of last Sunday’s Championship sequel in Clones and romped home by 10 points.

“We have to be very careful here that we don’t get carried away,” said the Crossmaglen man.

“Now, we’ve got a really good draw because Galway are as inconsistent as you could possibly get. They are absolutely brilliant when they’re on top and they rely on number of players.

“They’ve a couple of good forwards who are really classy but they are so hot and cold. When they’re good they’re very impressive but when they’re bad they are decidedly average.”

Clones is a significantly bigger pitch than Ballybofey which was perhaps another reason why Armagh triumphed over Donegal at the weekend, but McEntee also feels the fast surface of Croke Park will be in his county’s favour come Sunday week.

The winners of Armagh and Galway will face either Derry or Clare in the All-Ireland semi-finals.

“I think the style of football Armagh play, they can do well in Croke Park. I think the space will suit them because they are really, really fit.

“I just think we need to give this Armagh team the chance they deserve to play well. We beat a team on the down [Donegal] and a team who never bounced back from winning an All-Ireland last year [Tyrone].

“Let’s see if we can beat Galway and then see what’s possible. But until that stage we need to give them the chance to play and enjoy themselves.”

McEntee also noted how well Armagh had absorbed the losses of some key personnel through injury during their Championship campaign, which didn’t appear to affect their level of performance.

“Niall Grimley got injured and Tiernan Kelly as well. Kelly is a huge loss because he breaks lines. They’ve got this far and they’re missing three or four key men, so they’re doing really well.”

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GAA Football