Cork and Armagh drew in a dour, physical game in Armagh Town in typically wintry conditions. Short Aidan Walsh, Ciaran Sheehan, Colm O’Neill and Patrick Kelly due to injury and bereft of Paul Kerrigan for most of the game thanks to a soft red card, Cork will presumably be happy to take away a point. Armagh, fielding a very inexperienced team and behind for most of the game, will similarly be happy with the result – neither team will be happy with their team’s overall performances however.
For Cork, there were a few decent performances. Again, Donnacha O’Connor was the only reliable threat up front, Armagh’s inside backs unable to deal with his intelligent movement throughout. Mark Collins had a very decent game, and offered a certain amount of ingenuity and class often missing from our half-forwards. Similarly, Sean Kiely was very lively when he came on, grabbing a very important long range point and showing more then enough to be considered for the Down match. Elsewhere, Cork’s half-back line was strong throughout, although Noel O’Leary’s discipline was again rather suspect whilst inside Eoin Cadogan had a good first half. In truth, the sending off of Kerrigan meant Cork funnelled back more men then usual and took away a lot of Cork’s potency going forward, so its hard to judge the performances of Fintan Goold or Conor O’Driscoll for example. Hopefully though Collins and Kiely showed enough to merit inclusion next weekend, while Denis O’Sullivan, Conor O’Driscoll (at half-back), James Fitzpatrick and Liam Shorten should also be given further game time.
For Armagh, Mackin was instrumental in Armagh’s comeback in the middle of the field, and was at the heart of the few things Armagh did well. McVerry was the stand out performer for Armagh’s attack while Forker was clinical from the dead ball and Campbell offered a bit of energy when he came on – in general though Armagh were pretty toothless going forward. The backs were much better as a unit, McKenna probably the stand out defender on the pitch and McKeever was influential throughout although he was extremely lucky to stay on the pitch for the seventy minutes. Considering Armagh were short much of their first team including the likes of Clarke and McDonnell they can only really be happy with the draw, and to a lesser extent the performance of their defense.