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Jamie Clarke on being Armagh's 'kid' captain

Jamie Clarke has large boots to fill as Armagh captain for 2014.

Jamie Clarke gazes in to the McKenna Cup at the start of his captaincy.
Jamie Clarke gazes in to the McKenna Cup at the start of his captaincy.
Image: William Cherry

THE BAR HAS been set high for Jamie Clarke as Armagh captain, but who better to show him the ropes then his predecessors.

Clarke follows Ciaran McKeever, Steven McDonnell, Paul McGrane and Kieran McGeeney to become the fifth man to captain Armagh in this millennium.

“I wouldn’t be the most outspoken person,” says Clarke, “when Kieran came in I got a
lot of advice out of Geezer and I spoke to Stevie McDonnell and Oisin
about it as well.”

“I have noticed developments over the last couple of weeks that I have got mature and grown as a leader in the team.”

At 24 Clarke is a far younger captain then a 29-year-old Kieran McGeeney and 30-year-old Steven McDonnell were when they were first named as Armagh captains in 2000 and 2010 respectively.

“I am 24 now and I felt like a kid at times as part of that team but it’s important that we continue to produce more leaders and grow as the year goes one. I think I benefited greatly from it and it will stand by me.

Jamie Clarke with Padraig Donaghy Jamie Clarke in action during the league. Source: Presseye/William Cherry/INPHO

“From a personal point of view It’s allowed me to put pressure on myself. Gone are the days I can go out and have a bad day.

“I feel that I have to perform now and again it’s the kind of thing I relish and look forward to. Individually as a team our focus is really on the Cavan game and we are not looking beyond that.”

Last year Clarke played at full forward against Cavan and was held scoreless in a four point loss.

“It was difficult.  When we look back on it you I suppose could put a lot of things to blame for that. You could look at our preparation and our personnel that day.  The mood wasn’t right in camp.”

“I suppose it’s a new year and even looking at the national league last year we had a lot of injured players and I suppose when the Championship draws near it was one of the first things we noticed, that we were going to get another crack at Cavan.

“More importantly for us I think the fact that the game is at home gives us an edge.”

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Paul Grimley Paul Grimley has been under pressure. Source: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

After the disappointment of last summer’s championship, and relegation from this year’s Division 2 league, Armagh manager Paul Grimley has been under pressure from all angles.

Source: Alan David/YouTube

“Well, I don’t think you can blame Paul Grimley for that.  Again, personally, and as a team, the players will take responsibility for our preparation and how we took to the pitch that day.

“We know what Cavan are going to bring to the table. We know what system they have, again that defensive system we saw against Roscommon, it will only take you so far. Terry will have a well drilled outfit, he will have Gearoid McKiernan back as well – we know what they will bring to the Athletic Grounds but we’ll be prepared.”

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