Armagh saw off a well set up Antrim in their Ulster opener last weekend. 13 points didn’t do the Saffron’s justice but highlighted the Orchard County’s improved second half display.
Two points was the margin when the half time whistle sounded, 1-6 to 0-7 in favour of the home side.
Rory Grugan’s first half major saw Kieran McGeeney’s teams nudge ahead. It was one of the only bright sparks in an otherwise below-par first half performance.
The goal was the Ballymacnab stars first in the Ulster Championship, and he spoke of Armagh’s “frustrating” first half showing.
“I suppose that’s not a bad way to be coming out go a game, frustrated winning. I think it was 13 points in the end, but still unhappy with a lot of elements of our performance.
We were pretty ponderous in the first half. Giving silly balls away and not enough pace in our transition” Grugan told The Sideline Eye Podcast.
The 2009 All-Ireland winning minor praised Antrim for their efforts. He also described how the Orchardmen changed their tune for the second period.
“It was just a bit frustrating. Antrim were staying with us; they were controlling the game very well to be fair to them and picking off their points.
There were a few choice words at half time to get us going again. To be honest we were a lot better then in the second half. The goals gave us that wee bit of a cushion”.
“I just think we were giving the ball away and then starting to chase. Then Antrim were keeping it for so long.
I think their first attack, they kept the ball for three and a half minutes before working a free for a score. It can suck the life out of you.
Then you’re trying things and giving it away, trying things and giving it away, it all kind of snowballed a wee bit in the first half”.
Armagh were much better after the restart and hit a further 3-9 to book their semi-final slot.
Grugan, who top scored for his team during their Division One campaign, explained the shift after the half time break.
“It’s just about trying to settle it down, get an easy score and build from there, we just weren’t really doing that in the first half.
We were a wee bit more measured in our play in the second half, up the slight hill and a bit of a breeze.
We kept the ball a wee bit better, worked the ball into the right areas, got the right men on the ball for the shots. Then when the goal chances came, we were more clinical”.