Clarke boost for Armagh title hopes

Crossmaglen star Jamie Clarke has hinted he will be available to Armagh for next summer’s All-Ireland championship campaign.

The Crossmaglen forward had originally notified new county manager Paul Grimley he would be taking a sabbatical from the inter-county game as soon as Crossmaglen’s quest to win a third straight All-Ireland Club title came to a halt, but plans to travel have since been curbed.

“We are in talks about it at the minute,” said Clarke. “I think I am going to go travelling at some stage, but maybe it’s going to be for a certain period after we can hopefully win the three-in-a-row with Cross. But it will be after the Cross campaign. Hopefully, if all things are going well, I’ll be back to play summer football.

“It’s been a very tough couple of weeks in terms of the situation. To travel the world is something I’ve always wanted to do. But, obviously, Armagh and football has a big place in my heart and there were a lot of sleepless nights over it I can tell you.”

With plans to visit South America and New York, the likelihood is that Clarke will depart as soon as Crossmaglen’s club commitments end and return sometime around mid-May.

Clarke’s star has burned bright for a few seasons now but he endured a more difficult day at the office in last Sunday’s Ulster Club final against Kilcoo when he was held scoreless and sent to the line minutes from the end.

“I suppose it summed up my day as a whole,” he admitted. “I didn’t feel myself. I suppose it can’t be my day every day and it’s nice to see other boys get the plaudits for the day.

“Again, it’s a team game, and that’s why we are Cross. We are a panel of 30 and we’re all in it together and we’re looking forward to (the All-Ireland semi-final against) St. Brigid’s in February.”


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