DR MCKENNA CUP ORANGE MEN ON THE MARCH
Mcgeeney’s men on rise as they reach Mckenna final
FOUR days after taking out All-ireland semi-finalists Monaghan, Armagh beat Ulster champions Donegal to continue their upward curve under Kieran Mcgeeney and reach the Mckenna Cup final.
After being level nine times with the outgoing Mckenna Cup holders at Healy Park, a point from Rory Grugan in the 69th minute put Armagh through to Saturday’s decider against Tyrone.
Boss Mcgeeney played down the significance of beating two Ulster heavyweights in the one week.
“We’d understand that Donegal and Monaghan wouldn’t be at full strength and they would probably be looking to learn more from that game than we were in terms of the League,” said Mcgeeney (right).
“But it was still good for us. It gives us another game next week to see where we are and give other people game time.”
Mcgeeney, who was playing for Armagh when they last won the Mckenna Cup in
1994, fielded a much stronger line-up.
His team played with a focus lacking in
Donegal, who were very much looking down the road towards the League and the Championship.
They were strangely off-key but Declan Bonner insisted Donegal got everything they wanted out of the competition.
“Armagh put a strong team out there and from our point of view using those young lads was the plan and it definitely served a purpose. “Everything we wanted to do in terms of the Mckenna Cup I think we got out of it in terms of preparation for the League.
“We won the first three games really at ease but we knew today would be a good test and a good challenge and we got that. “It’s ideal preparation for us as we head on to Clare in two weeks’ time.
“It would have been nice to win the match, yeah, but I thought the first half we just weren’t at it. In the second half I thought we controlled the match and it was a really good workout.”
Donegal were casual in possession and paid the price as Armagh came from three points down to lead 0-9 to 1-5 at the break, Jason Mcgee palming home the Donegal goal after 23 minutes. Jamie Brennan aside, Donegal lacked penetration while Grugan, Stefan Campbell and Jemar Hall scored 0-8 between them for Armagh.
IT’S ROR EMOTION Armagh’s Rory Grugan keeps the ball ahead of Brendan Mccole and Conor Morrison of Donegal