Jamie Clarke to stay with Crossmaglen for All-Ireland

Jamie Clarke
Jamie Clarke is regarded as Armagh's leading forward

Jamie Clarke says he is staying at home to lead Crossmaglen's attempt to win a seventh All-Ireland Club SFC title.

The 26-year-old came on as a sub in Sunday's Ulster final victory over Scotstown, having missed most of the campaign due to travelling abroad.

Clarke has committed to playing in the All-Ireland club semi-final against Castlebar in February.

However, when asked if he had decided on playing for Armagh in 2016, Clarke said: "Not at the minute, no".

Clarke played in the club's first round county championship win over Granemore in May and was subsequently involved in Armagh's short-lived championship campaign.

Jamie Clarke came on as a substitute during the Ulster Club final win over Scotstown
Jamie Clarke came on as a substitute during the Ulster Club final win over Scotstown

The star forward spent the summer in New York but returned home several weeks ago, coming on for the last few minutes of the Ulster semi-final win over Kilcoo.

He had a more meaningful role in Sunday's extra-time victory, setting up the match-winning goal for Kyle Carragher.

"I am committed to Cross until the end of the year for definite, to the end of the All-Ireland campaign. I will take it from there," he said.

Armagh manager Kieran McGeeney would love to have a player of Clarke's class on board next year, but the player cast doubts over his availability next year.

"It has been a tough year and from my own point of view, I have to think of my own future as well away from football.

"It is difficult to balance football and work at the moment.

"There is a lot to think about, but ultimately it is difficult to leave the football behind. It pulls at the old heart strings at times.

"At the minute, I am playing it by ear and I don't want to make any rash decisions."

Clarke has missed chunks of his club and county's seasons in recent years while spending time living in the United States and Spain.

"I suppose being away over the summer I knew I was going to miss part of the county championship and I was thinking of the bigger picture as well, down the line," he explained.

"I always planned to come back with Cross.

"To be back in another All-Ireland semi-final is great for us.

"We will enjoy it for a week or two, but there is a lot of work to be done to prepare for the All-Ireland series."

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