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23rd Feb 2019

Rory Grugan on what goalkeeper said before his painful penalty miss

Patrick McCarry

It definitely played on his mind.

Rory Grugan was an honest and forthright guest on the latest episode of The GAA Hour and he is just as excited about the potential of the current Armagh side as many GAA fans out there.

Still, Grugan knows question marks exist, big and bold, about a side that have only twice won through to the next round of Ulster in the eight years he has been on the senior panel. Kieran McGeeney is pushing ahead with an attacking style of play that is predicated on a solid kick-passing game but there have been some bumps along the way.

Armagh have assembled a potent set of forwards for 2019 but the results have been tough to come by in Allianz Division 2 – two draws and a defeat to Meath.

During his wide-ranging chat with Colm Parkinson on the show (from 28:00 below), the Armagh captain spoke about a costly penalty miss that still plays on his mind.

(Pics: Sportsfile)

In Round 4 of the All-Ireland Football Qualifiers, last summer, Armagh and Roscommon played out a cracking game that was gripping from start to finish. The teams were level at 1-18 going into the final moments but the Rossies outscored Armagh 1-4 to 0-1 in the end-game to progress to the quarter finals.

44 minutes into the game, with his side down by five points, Grugan stepped up to take a penalty. His effort was saved by Colm Lavin and Grugan recounts that crucial moment on the show:

“I did an interview after the game and, I think, the fella that was doing it maybe picked me up wrong. I was saying that I actually had been practising [penalty-taking] that week but as the penalty was given, whatever it was, the ‘keeper said something and he put me off a wee bit.

“He said something like, ‘Oh, the same as last time?’ – basically, in terms of which side I was going to go to. So, instead of going to the same side I had been going to, even all week in training, I second-guessed myself and went the other way, and he saved it.

“That was the point I was making, and why it was more frustrating. I didn’t stick to my own guns and go the way I was planning.”

Grugan had scored a penalty, in the league, earlier in the year and suddenly worried that Lavin had been studying footage. “He tried something anyway,” he adds, “and it worked out for him. So, not a good memory.”

Grugan and Armagh are hoping to turn those draws into wins and are delighted to be back on home ground as they seek to do that. The Orchard County welcome Tipperary to the Athletic Ground on Sunday and are well aware that the time has arrived to start delivering on their undoubted promise and potential.

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