Former All-Star Tyrone forward Owen Mulligan has dismissed suggestions that Ulster rivals, Armagh, are in "bonus territory" as nonsense.
“All I’m hearing from Armagh supporters and some of their former players all week is this game is ‘bonus territory’ for them, that’s complete nonsense.
"You can’t say that, it’s downgrading the team and showing you don’t have faith in them. They should see the match as a stepping stone to the next challenge. I rightly got slated on Twitter for backing against Armagh last week, I thought Kildare would beat them well and I’m happy to admit I got it wrong.”
He continued: “Some of the tackles they put in were hugely impressive and I haven’t seen that from them in ages. Usually, they would lay down and take their defeat, but now they are grinding out the results.
"The last few years it didn’t seem an honour or a privilege to play for Armagh. When I played against them they met you with everything they had, but that dwindled away recently. The famous orange jersey was just thrown in the corner, but this run has brought some respect back to it.
The three time All-Ireland winner also admitted that he was wrong about McGeeney: “I’ll hold my hand up and say I was one of the people calling for Kieran McGeeney to go earlier in the year after the National League defeat to Tipperary and the loss to Down.
"Kieran owes Armagh nothing, he’s won an All-Ireland for them and yet he chose to take the manager’s job. It’s a massive ask for him this weekend against this Tyrone outfit though. However, if he pulls it off and makes it to the semi-final then McGeeney may be in that Armagh hot seat for many years to come.
“Without doubt Armagh are a different animal after coming through the Qualifiers. They didn’t do themselves justice at all against Down. Ulster wasn’t hugely competitive this season anyway, but the back door has worked wonders for the Orchard men. Travelling the length and breath of the country for games builds a great bond between players and management.”
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