Oisin McConville: Armagh great says McGeeney's men among quarter-finalists who believe that they can lift Sam

Rian O'Neill is congratulated by Armagh fans after his side's emphatic victory
Oisin McConville says the free role that has been given to Rian O'Neill in recent games is perfectly suited to his talents

Oisin McConville believes Armagh are among this weekend's All-Ireland Football quarter-finalists who will genuinely feel they can lift the Sam Maguire Cup this year.

McConville played on the only Armagh side to win the title in 2002 and says this year's team must aim high.

"They can (win the All-Ireland) and the reason is that a lot of teams believe they can," McConville told BBC Sport.

"At least five teams in that mix believe they can win the All-Ireland.

"That's because all of the teams that were ahead have come back to the pack.

"Also, Armagh's trajectory is on the upper curve. They need to continue that. Do they need to improve to win an All-Ireland? Dramatically but I think that improvement is there."

O'Neill 'very difficult' to pick up

Rian O'Neill's return to form after he struggled badly in the opening Ulster SFC defeat by Donegal is also giving McConville great belief in his county ahead of Sunday's quarter-final against Galway at Croke Park.

McConville's fellow Crossmaglen club-man operated in a free role as Armagh earned emphatic revenge against Declan Bonner's side earlier this month and the BBC Sport NI GAA pundit says this tactic fully exploits O'Neill abilities.

"That role where he plays a little bit inside….a little bit at 11….a little bit in the middle of the field and goes even deeper sometimes. It's very difficult for someone to pick him up.

"That's a perfect mix. And the days of him standing in the full-forward line and not getting the service are probably done and dusted."

Rory Gallagher celebrates during Derry's Ulster semi-final victory over Monaghan
Rory Gallagher's animated celebrations have been a feature of Derry's championship run this year

'Clare can't offer Derry enough challenges'

McConville believes Derry will be too good for Clare in Saturday's opening quarter-final at Croke Park.

"I don't think Clare will provide the challenge of the previous teams they've played. Division One teams," added the Armagh great.

"Derry played the reigning All-Ireland champions. They've been up to every task. Everything that's been thrown at them, they've had an answer for and you can imagine at the weekend that it will be business as usual.

"And while people are talking that it's not as easy to clamp down the space (in Croke Park) but I think Derry will cope with that OK.

"I don't think Clare can offer them enough challenges."

McConville is expecting a comfortable Dublin victory over Cork in Saturday's second quarter-final but rubbishes suggestions that Mayo will be no hopers in Sunday's concluding last-eight game against League champions Kerry.

"In the last 10 or 15 minutes against Kildare when Kildare looked to be home and hosed was an impressive as I've seen Mayo where they are mentally.

"I think they will have found something in that and a little bit of form. They love Croke Park. They love the big occasion. They love being written off. That leaves them a very dangerous animal."

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