Pallindrome Points Pivotal

February 24, 2014

It may be only round three of the League campaign but the points that are on offer at Navan next Saturday night are pivotal for both the home side Meath and visitors Armagh in terms of promotion and relegation.

Armagh have one point from their two games played while opponents Meath won a very high scoring opening match with Galway 3-18 to 4-11 before being trashed 0-20 to 0-8 by Ulster Champions Monaghan. Armagh picked up their League point away to Louth who, like Armagh, have one point and face an away trip to Down, who snatched a late win at the Athletic Grounds to make it 3 points out of four. Laois, who sit on 2 points following their win over Louth, entertain pointless Galway which like the Down game takes place on Saturday night. The only Sunday game in Division Two sees unbeaten table toppers Donegal hosting Monaghan who are on the 3 point mark.

So returning home from Navan with even one league point will be a huge bonus for the Orchard County. Armagh were unlucky on a terrible night for football to leave the Athletic Grounds empty handed against Down as their performance on the night deserved, at the very least, a share of the spoils. Armagh will have to contend with another long term injury as midfielder James Lavery is ruled out but better news for Armagh management is that Aaron Kernan is back in training and should take some part against Meath.

So far in Division Two all teams except Donegal, have put in Jekyll and Hyde performances so it will be interesting to see how the home side Meath perform. Certainly on home soil they are a far different proposition but Armagh are never overawed by their Navan experiences. Armagh are in the process of team building and while things have not gone as expected to date in the League there has been a 3 week break and the team composition for Saturday could show a few changes from the side that started against Down. Kevin Dyas made a promising return to the county colours in the Down game with midfielder Stephen Harold also impressing when introduced as a substitute. With Robbie Tasker suspended there is a vacant spot in a forward line whose score return does not reflect their possession. For me, using the talented Jamie Clarke as a target man is not working, as teams are double tagging him in the full forward line and at times he is left isolated and alone.  A roaming role off a “ball winner” might suit Jamie better to utalise his pace and skills in areas where he is not as easily picked up. Armagh are a work in progress and League survival is all supporters should be expecting at this stage of the year, more so given that management have not had the privilege of playing with a full deck.

Hopefully the Meath defence will be as generous as they were against Galway and their attack will perform as they did in Clones but one thing that you can be sure of is that you always face a royal battle at Pairc Tailteann. Saturday night results in Division Two will leave all 6 teams in action of what path will lie ahead for the remaining four games, a relegation dogfight or a promotion push.