In the run-up to Armagh’s Allianz Division Three Final encounter against Fermanagh in Croke Park, on April 25, Linwoods Armagh TV have spoken with three squad members on a range of topics.
We start the series off with the thoughts of Jamie Clarke.
Considering his career to date, Jamie values but struggles to describe the feeling of standing shoulder to shoulder with his team mates and best friends in the County dressing room.
Jamie states that any loss in an Armagh jersey brings disappointment to him but accepts that these feelings are part of sport. Learning from a loss is critical for the growth of any team and Jamie has “learned something on each and every occasion.”
Jamie rates the current County squad highly. “Everyone has noticed what this current team is capable of and with Kieran on board as well, Armagh people are thinking big. This is the best Armagh team I have been part of to date. We have a desire to work and do anything for each other and that is all you can ask for.”
Regarding his ambitions with the team, Jamie is working as hard as possible to improve his own game and be the best he can be for his county.
The Crossmaglen Rangers clubman highlights enjoyment as a key aspect of playing at this level.
“Although I have had to sacrifice aspects of my game, Kieran has helped me discover new ways to be better and still enjoy performing as best as I can.”
Playing in the Orange jersey has always had great meaning for Jamie. He spoke of his own personal pre-match ritual and how sincerely he addresses this.
On the field, the countdown to the Championship campaign has started, but there is the matter of the Division 3 final to consider.
“Any time you get to play in Croke Park is big. It is perfect for our game when we are at our best.” Jamie enthused that “we are all excited and keen to get into the starting line-up for the match.”
Jamie has developed an ability to deal with the pressure and exposure that the media brings. He reflects upon their role, commenting that “he has realised that just like everyone else, they have a job to do and don’t want to under-perform.” Jamie‘s focus is on the job in hand rather than headlines.
The importance of family backing and support is fundamental to Jamie‘s development.
“I have learned from each and every one of my coaches, managers and team mates. But when I reflect and look back at what my family have done for me to help me excel, they deserve most of the credit for getting me to where I am today.
Finally, Jamie provided some advice to youngsters keen to wear the Orange jersey in years to come, encouraging the players of tomorrow to “Always believe in yourself. You can achieve anything you want if you are willing to work hard.”
Thanks to Jamie for his words of wisdom. We look forward to supporting the team as their Championship adventures unfold.