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Dublin: 5 °C Wednesday 27 March, 2019
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Quinlivan 'one of the best around', Clarke set to shine after travels and the trip to Tipp

Oisin McConville is looking forward to Armagh’s journey to Semple Stadium.

WHEN ARMAGH AND Tipperary last crossed paths, there was no doubt which player commanded the headlines in the aftermath.

Aaron McKay and Michael Quinlivan Source: Presseye/Philip Magowan/INPHO

Michael Quinlivan’s hat-trick of goals was capped off by a late strike that landed the promotion prize for Tipperary and consigned the home fans at the Athletic Grounds to another year of league football in the third tier.

Tomorrow in Semple Stadium is a chance to renew acquaintances in a qualifier.

“I was at the last League game and Armagh were much the better team against Tipperary,” says Armagh All-Ireland winner Oisin McConville.

“Quinlivan got a hat-trick and put paid to us, our promotion hopes, everything.

“But Armagh dominated that game and I think they’ll have a bit of a fire in their belly for that one.

“We probably should have been a little more cynical for that in that regard just to get over the line and get promotion.

“But Quinlivan being back is probably poor timing. I think he had six or seven touches that day and I think he finished with 3-1. He has everything, the lad has everything.

Kevin Fahey celebrates the winning goal Kevin Fahey celebrating Tipperary's last minute goal against Armagh in April. Source: Presseye/Philip Magowan/INPHO

“He’s one of the best around, I think. He’s just got it all. He’s a complete modern-day footballer.

“It’s a pity in a way that Tipperary don’t have a stronger midfield and that he’s being asked to fill that role. It’s almost a (Michael) Murphy-type situation.

“He has everything. He’s quality. I’d definitely rate him in the top four or five forwards in the country.”

Armagh have their own gifted forward in McConville’s clubmate Jamie Clarke. His outing last Saturday against Westmeath was cut short when he was shown a black card after just two minutes.

“He probably could have done with another game, if I’m being honest. Even though we won the last round and he did well against Fermanagh, I would have loved to see him with a little bit more room and he would have got a little bit more room against Westmeath and maybe he could have expressed himself a little bit more.

Jamie Clarke Jamie Clarke leads out his Armagh team-mates against Westmeath. Source: Tom Beary/INPHO

“He should get a little bit more room this weekend and we’ll see the best of him. He’s going in the right direction.

He’s just like every lad, he can’t come back from his travels and just turn it on like a switch. He needs some time. When you’re playing against Ulster teams, they’re not going to leave you alone, they’re not going to give you room.

“I see him getting there every game. He’ll feel frustrated and will feel he’s let himself down. (I’d) expect a big performance from him at the weekend.”

The prospect of a novel trip to Tipperary is enthusing Armagh supporters against a team who achieved a notable result last Saturday in defeating Cavan.

“The only worry is that it’s not going to be full or anywhere near full,” says McConville.

“I genuinely think that Armagh will enjoy that experience, playing on a big pitch like that.

“I think Armagh will bring a huge crowd because people are actually looking for to going to Thurles for a Championship match.

Electric Ireland GAA Minors Oisin McConville at the launch of the Electric Ireland GAA minor star awards. Source: Seb Daly/SPORTSFILE

“People are looking forward to the trip because Thurles is synonymous with the GAA.

“I was surprised by that (Tipp win last Saturday). Cavan had actually done okay. If they’d had any belief in the Monaghan game, they would have won it.

“I couldn’t see Tipperary coming out of that game. They’ve got a bit of fortitude about them. They get stuck in.

“Even going back to last year’s game against Derry, they got stuck in there and got a result. As much as I think it’s a good draw for us, it’ll definitely not be easy.

“The good thing about Armagh is, let’s face it, since the Down game it’s been baby-steps. And I think now, genuinely, there’s bound to be a big performance in that team.”

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Fintan O'Toole

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