Rian O’Neill purpose in beautiful Armagh win over Dublin provided throwback to 2002 All-Eire profitable workforce, says McDonnell

IT WAS the kind of move Stevie McDonnell thrived on when he received the All-Eire with Armagh 20 years in the past.

An extended, diagonal ball in from the midfield, performed to his exterior, permitting for a pointy flip and, 9 instances out of 10, some extent or a pot-shot at purpose.

Rian O'Neill scored the decisive goal in Armagh's stunning win over Dublin in Croke Park


Rian O’Neill scored the decisive purpose in Armagh’s beautiful win over Dublin in Croke ParkCredit score: Sportsfile
Stevie McDonnell, right, considers Armagh's goal to be a throwback


Stevie McDonnell, proper, considers Armagh’s purpose to be a throwbackCredit score: Sportsfile

The Killeavy man smiled to himself when he noticed Aidan Nugent ship that actual killer move to Rian O’Neill in final weekend’s massive Division 1 win at Croke Park, slicing Dublin’s defence asunder.

Rory Grugan intercepted a stray Brian Howard move on the Armagh half-back line earlier than feeding Nugent on the suitable who thundered a diagonal kick-pass 40 metres by way of the air to O’Neill on the left.

It helped that Davy Byrne misplaced his bearings badly beneath the move however O’Neill nonetheless had heaps to do earlier than sticking his shot past Evan Comerford.

This might very properly be the way forward for Armagh soccer underneath coach Kieran Donaghy, the best targetman of all of them in his Kerry days — however it’s also the Orchard’s previous.

McDonnell advised SunSport: “I actually, actually appreciated the look of that Aidan Nugent move, I used to utterly love these balls in. It’s the kind of supply {that a} ahead thrives on, as soon as it’s coming quick and direct. Quick is the important thing phrase actually.

“It provides the participant inside an excellent likelihood of getting on the ball and getting a shot away at purpose. It helps when it’s inch excellent like that ball from Nugent was. He’s acquired that kind of high quality in his locker.”

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For Armagh supervisor Kieran McGeeney, it will need to have been like rewinding the clock again to the Orchard’s All-Eire triumph in 2002.

He was the person within the Nugent function again then, pumping in early deliveries to McDonnell and Ronan Clarke that defences had no reply for.

McDonnell mentioned: “I knew after I was with Armagh, it was nearly assured, that when we had the ball in our half-back line, whoever it was that had it, McGeeney, Aidan O’Rourke, Andy McCann, Paul McGrane, John McEntee, whoever, I knew they’d lookup and right away learn the scenario and let the early ball in.

“It’s actually tough for any defence to deal with that.”


The factor is, McGeeney is firstly of 12 months eight as Armagh supervisor.

How come now we have not seen extra of this kind of soccer from his workforce prior to now? Did it take Donaghy to carry the county again to fundamentals?

McDonnell maintained: “Kieran (McGeeney) has been taking part in direct soccer previously variety of years, in equity. I believe the distinction this time is having a participant within the inside line who can end it off like Rian O’Neill did.

“However look, I wouldn’t get too carried away with one purpose, or with one good efficiency both, they might fall flat on their faces in opposition to Tyrone and we’ll all be asking questions on them.

“The large factor for me is that Armagh should preserve taking part in that kind of quick soccer.

“You’ll be able to speak about defensive techniques and sweepers and all of that however there isn’t a workforce going to defend a transfer like that which begins up the sector and lasts seven or eight seconds earlier than the ball is within the web.

“If a workforce is taking part in at that velocity, making a purpose likelihood with simply two kick-passes, then they’re all the time going to trigger havoc.

“I imagine there has all the time been the chance to play lengthy, direct soccer like that however for no matter purpose groups have been tending to gradual the ball down and to play it out slowly and naturally the opposition defence resets itself in a short time then.”


McGeeney’s hope, and the hope amongst all Armagh followers, is that they might simply be on to one thing particular once more with the quantity of thrilling forwards at their disposal.

The category of O’Neill and Grugan was clear in opposition to the Dubs and Jason Duffy pinched a cheeky lobbed purpose. Former AFL participant Ross McQuillan got here off the bench whereas Ciarán Turbitt from county champions Clann Éireann has been lighting it up for Queen’s within the Sigerson Cup.

McDonnell mentioned: “You hearken to folks in the course of the week speaking about how poor Dublin have been and the gamers Dublin have been lacking.

“However Armagh have been with out Turbitt, who was the best scorer within the Armagh championship, he’s simply an out-and-out footballer and scorer and there was no Oisín O’Neill, no Conor O’Neill. But they have been capable of put up that kind of efficiency. It was encouraging.”


The burning query is whether or not the great instances actually are again. Is that this Armagh workforce able to rejoice the twentieth anniversary of the county’s one and solely All-Eire win by pushing onerous for an additional?

McDonnell shrugged: “I believe it’s unfair to check this present workforce with our workforce of the noughties. We’d all love in a super world to see one other period of Armagh and Tyrone going face to face in Ulster and All-Eire finals and hopefully that would be the case.

“The best way I’d have a look at it’s that I believe Tyrone’s All-Eire win final 12 months goes to provide Armagh large confidence.

“In case you return to 2002, we received the All-Eire and the very subsequent 12 months Tyrone received it. They have been undoubtedly us and pondering, ‘If they will do it . . . ’ So I’d wish to suppose the identical factor is happening now in reverse.

“It’s important to put one foot in entrance of the opposite first although and after we haven’t received an Ulster title in 14 years, I’d in all probability wish to see them difficult for that after which serious about pushing on.”


At the moment’s league encounter will provide extra perception into the place Armagh are at.

They host the Pink Hand County on the Athletic Grounds and McDonnell is properly positioned to touch upon the problem having managed Tyrone membership Clonoe final 12 months.

He added: “From seeing the standard of membership soccer in Tyrone, you’ll be able to see why it’s coming collectively so properly for the county workforce.

“I’ve little question that Tyrone shall be there after we get to the All-Eire semis. Who is aware of the place they’re going to be in early February once they play us, however they’ll be within the All-Eire shake-up once more.”

https://www.thesun.ie/sport/gaa-football/8323197/armagh-win-over-dublin-throwback-all-ireland-winning-team/ Rian O’Neill purpose in beautiful Armagh win over Dublin provided throwback to 2002 All-Eire profitable workforce, says McDonnell

Fry Electronics Team

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