The Armagh under 20s kick off their championship campaign on Friday evening against Donegal in Ballybofey.
The management team of Barry O’Hagan and Oisin McConville were guests on a recent episode of The Sideline Eye podcast.
“I would feel at underage, Armagh have not been excelling in the last five or six years. And that’s probably to put it mildly,” said McConville.
“I think just to have that winning mentality in that, we’re not here to make up the numbers anymore. We’re here to be serious about actually going and performing and winning things.”
“It’s a very unforgiving environment because when you go into championship it’s knockout football. But that’s just the way it is.”
“For this group of boys, they’re well capable of going on and achieving bigger and better things.”
“I suppose when you’re trying to change that as a culture, it’s actually quite difficult. But when you’re talking about the individuals that we have, we have arrived at a panel now that are diligent and dedicated, but also play a bit of ball as well.”
The Orchard’s under 20s lost two of their three league games, their only win coming against Westmeath.
They lost to both Monaghan and Cavan, but everything has been building towards the championship.
“It hasn’t gone exactly according to plan, but we’re happy with what we got out of it. We had a number of challenge games and the lads have really tightened as a group,” explained O’Hagan, the under 20 manager.
“The training’s been going particularly well but I suppose the proof will be in the pudding on the 1st of April in Ballybofey. That’s what we’re targeting.”
O’Hagan went on to describe what success would be for this group. Long term and short term.
“Obviously long term you want to get as many lads through into the senior set up as possible and end up as good club players as well.”
“But the culture thing, living the lifestyle for these lads seems to be okay but it’s the culture and that mindset around winning.”
“That’s what we’ve been trying to change and short-term success this year is winning silverware. It’s as simple as that.”
“I believe there’s always good enough footballers in Armagh at any level to challenge at the top level.”
“A wee bit of structure and hard work and that’s what we’re setting out to do this year. We believe it’s about silverware this year for the group of lads we have.”