Out of own hands

April 1, 2013

The division status for 2014 is out of Armagh’s own hands as they face Galway at the Athletic Grounds in a must win Allianz Football League Division Two. From the outset of the League campaign Armagh manager Paul Grimley stated that Armagh would have to experience bad times before the good times would return.

Defeat against Galway would condemn the Orchard County to a second successive relegation and the prospect of Division Three football next year. Victory will not mean automatic safety as Armagh will need a loss for either Wexford or Louth to keep them in Division Two. But the funny thing is that the League results and performances by Armagh save the first night out away to Laois have been good. It is the three home points lost in a 3-8 apiece draw with Wexford and a 1-12 to 1-10 loss to Louth that has put Armagh in such a precarious predicament.

The Armagh management were all for using the League to try out new blood but even they did not envisage that they would use 32 different players over the course of the half dozen games. Injuries contributed to this high total of players used but on the plus side it has given a few new faces ample playing time to catch the eye. The changed times for Armagh is reflected in their match statistics as they have managed at least 11 scores in all of their games (8-68 in total) but have conceded a whopping (6-82). Goalkeeper Philip Hughes and forward Stefan Forker (1-19) are the only two players to start and James Donnelly the only other player to participate in all 6 League games.

While it is an all or nothing scenario with regards to the League prospects on Sunday for me the League campaign from Armagh has thrown up more positives than negatives. At the end of the day for Armagh supporters it is what is going to happen on Sunday May 19 at Kingspan Breffni Park that the team management and players will be judged upon. For Sunday’s game against Galway the u-21 players will be available for selection following a very disappointing performance but the holidaying Jamie Clarke will not. Hopefully the week’s break will have given Armagh’s walking wounded a bit more time to recover. Emulating the away performances at Celtic Park and Cusack Park and just getting a little rub of the green will get Armagh victory against Galway and leave us all tuning in to get the crucial results from elsewhere. For me though if it does not go Armagh’s way on the day all will be forgotten and forgiven with a victory over Cavan in the championship.