Armagh's Clarke to take time out
Jamie Clarke (right) will miss the remainder of Armagh’s Allianz League campaign. Photograph: Russell Pritchard/Inpho
Jamie Clarke will miss the remainder of Armagh’s Allianz League campaign as he has decided to go travelling, writes Orla Bannon.
Tomorrow night’s Division Two game against Derry will be his last league appearance before heading away next week.
Armagh manager Paul Grimley promised Clarke he could have a break when his club season finished with Crossmaglen. He has decided to go now in order to return in time to prepare for the county’s Ulster championship preliminary round tie with Cavan on May 19th. He is set to miss the Division Two games against Louth, Westmeath and Galway.
“Paul is letting me away for a few weeks break,” Clarke revealed. “It’s only a holiday. “I’m going to Melbourne and Sydney and then on to Brazil and Argentina.
“I’ll be training next week right up until I go but first I’m looking forward to going to Celtic Park to play Derry.”
Clarke made a sensational return to intercounty action last weekend, terrorising the Longford defence with a near-perfect first-half display when he either scored or set up all of Armagh’s scores.
The 23-year-old was delighted to make a winning comeback – but dismissed the notion that it was his best ever game in county colours.
“No, not necessarily,” he said, “I do what I can for the team. It’s a team game. I do my part. I try to give the ball to the man in the best position. It’s good to be back and to get that winning feeling.
“Looking back on the previous week (against Wexford), coming back to get the draw from 11 points down was probably a big turning point in the season for us. It was vital we went out and followed it up with a win.”
Eyebrows were raised when Clarke and Aaron Kernan missed the Wexford game and instead lined out for Ulster in the inter-provincial final win over Leinster.
“I think people just misunderstood where Paul was coming from,” he explained.
“He wanted us coming back fresh and ready for action. He put three of us (Crossmaglen players) in against Longford and Tony (Kernan) also came on and got a goal. We’re all in it together. The season is over for Cross and we’re all representing Armagh. We’re all the one unit.
“Within the county there seems to be a good buzz. Everyone is happy and everyone is together.”