Ross McQuillan started just one of Armagh’s games last season, but was back in the first 15 for Friday evenings challenge game.
The result may not have gone his sides way, but Kieran McGeeney got to see some of the emerging talent within his squad.
The Cullyhanna man has been around the panel before but has yet to reach his full potential in the orange and white jersey.
The 22-year-old made his Armagh debut in 2018 but spent a few years down under. He was one of the bright sparks on Friday night, scoring 0-2.
“It was good to get back out” said the St Patrick’s clubman. “That was probably the main thing that we wanted, was to get a good run out and it’s for a good cause. Hopefully we raised a bit of money for them”.
“It was good to get a run out, it beats training anyway at this time of year. It was fairly hot and heavy, the first ten minutes especially and then it fairly slowed down”.
You always expect a bit of needle when Armagh and Tyrone met, friendly or no friendly. McQuillan and his troops had no problem with that.
“That’s what you want, you want to be playing them sort of games. Even though it was a charity/challenge game, at times it didn’t really feel like it. It was good pace out there and that’s what you want especially this time of year to blow the cobwebs out”.
“Boys there in training are jumping out of their skins to get in. Justy Kieran, Joe Sheridan, them boys are flying. They’re coming in and just hitting the ground running”.
“Even boys that have been there for a year or two. Everybody’s just flying now in training and that’s the main thing”.
Return to county football
McQuillan came back from a spell with Essendon in Australia to help Kieran McGeeney’s side retain their division one status last year.
He failed to nail down a starting spot but is planning a big 2022. “I was probably straight back in the deep end with Armagh having not played football for probably 18 months or so”.
“It was good to get a couple of club games in and get your touch back because it’s a slower pace but it’s good for your legs and just to get your feel of the ball again”.
“I feel a bit more comfortable on the ball now after playing all of them club games and hopefully it’ll keep me in good stead for this year”.
McQuillan can be a major asset for the Orchard, as his speed showed on Friday. His versatility around the middle eight is also an advantage McQuillan holds.
“It’s all the same nowadays, there’s no real jersey numbers. I suppose when you see there Philly McMahon, who retired today (Friday), he’s popping up there and he’s chipping points from corner back in the All-Ireland final”.
“Even Blaine Hughes there in the club championship, kicking points. There’s absolutely no positions, numbers mean nothing now adays”.