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"There's A Narrative That Armagh Are An Unlucky Team - I'm Not Sure"

"There's A Narrative That Armagh Are An Unlucky Team - I'm Not Sure"
Eoin Harrington
By Eoin Harrington
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For Armagh, it was championship heartbreak yet again on Saturday evening, as they were defeated on penalties in the football championship for the third time in just over 12 months.

Armagh looked to have the All-Ireland quarter-final won in the dying moments of extra-time, before a last-gasp free from Conor McManus drew Monaghan level.

The penalties that followed were to see Monaghan win 9-8, after an outstanding shootout from both teams, but Armagh were left to rue leaving yet another game behind them.

READ HERE: GAA Says Arrests Made After Brawl Between Armagh And Monaghan Fans On Hill 16

Though there has been sympathy in many quarters for Armagh, after yet another near miss, Colm Cooper and Peter Canavan were not so sure when speaking on The Sunday Game.

Messrs Canavan and Cooper suggested that Armagh's approach had been too conservative yet again, with Cooper attempting to dispel the narrative that they had been an "unlucky" team.

READ HERE: Leitrim GAA Match Abandoned After Fan In Jeans Defends Club's Goal In Second Half


GAA: RTÉ panel criticise Armagh approach v Monaghan


After last year's quarter-final exit to Galway, and this year's Ulster final defeat to Derry, Saturday evening marked the third time in two seasons that Armagh have lost a championship game on penalties.

Armagh Monaghan

1 July 2023; Monaghan goalkeeper Rory Beggan, second from right, celebrates with teammates after saving two seperate penalties from a dejected Callum Cumiskey of Armagh, left, in the penalty shoot out during the GAA Football All-Ireland Senior Championship quarter-final match between Armagh and Monaghan at Croke Park in Dublin. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

They will be bitterly disappointed to have missed out on the All-Ireland semi-finals yet again, having emerged top of a group containing Galway and Tyrone.

However, analysing the clash on The Sunday Game, Tyrone legend Peter Canavan said that Armagh only had themselves to blame for taking such a cautious approach against Monaghan.

Canavan pointed out numerous examples of Armagh sitting off Monaghan and allowing them into scoring positions, before saying their inability to get Rían O'Neill into the game had also cost them:


I thought they were too cautious, right from the word go. I know there's times when you have to do that, but...by playing such a passive game...it really suited Monaghan, because they have more ageing bodies. This was their third tough game in three weeks.

Despite [Armagh] having so many players back, there wasn't a hand laid on them [Monaghan]. Compare that to what Kerry were doing. By playing a more orthodox game as well, they would have benefitted going forward because they could have kept a couple of their bigger players up.

Rían O'Neill didn't score from play, he was being marked a lot of the time by either Gary Mohan or Lavelle - they're two midfielders. If he had been playing inside, they wouldn't have been going back into the full-back line to mark him.

If they had played more orthodox, more of a helter-skelter game at a higher tempo, it would have suited Armagh and it wouldn't have gone down to the lottery that is a penalty kick competition.

READ HERE: Tomás Ó Sé Cracked Up Lee Keegan With Dig At Tyrone After Kerry Loss

Another perceived injustice against this Armagh team came from their own manager, Kieran McGeeney, who claimed that the timekeeping from the match officials had not been a fair reflection of the on-field action.


Armagh Kieran McGeeney

1 July 2023; Armagh manager Kieran McGeeney talks to referee Conor Lane at the end of normal time during the GAA Football All-Ireland Senior Championship quarter-final match between Armagh and Monaghan at Croke Park in Dublin. Photo by Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile

Those claims were resoundingly rebuked by the GAAGO panel covering Saturday's game live, and Colm Cooper agreed while speaking on RTÉ on Sunday.


Cooper questioned McGeeney's claims, while also saying that he did not believe it was accurate to define this Armagh team as "unlucky," echoing Canavan's sense that they had been the cause of their own downfall:

It was my favourite part of the game, when all this madness kicked off!

Kieran McGeeney is obviously very frustrated, he feels some of the calls have gone against him - I'm not sure about that - maybe the time as well.

There's a little bit of a narrative that 'Armagh are an unlucky team' - I'm not sure. I just don't think they show enough bravery going forward to chase games when they have the initiative and they have the players to do it.

They left Monaghan hanging around too long, and they made them pay in the end.

SEE ALSO: McStay Stays Positive For Mayo Team In It For The 'Long Haul' Despite Heavy Dublin Defeat

dublin mayo all-ireland football championship



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