Armagh Football Championship Preveiws

August 22, 2016

Senior Championship

Fri Aug 26

Armagh Harps v Ballymacnab @ Athletic Grounds 8-30pm

A tasty first round clash between the neighbours who met each other in last year’s semi-final which was won by Harps 2-16 to 2-10 but they failed to add to their last Senior success in 1991 in the final. Following a poor League campaign Ballymacnab Intermediate champions in 2006 will be playing Senior B League next year. Following two successive final hammerings the mindset of Harps will be a major worry but a local derby start might just be the thing to get them switched on.

Verdict- These two sides usually serve up a decent high scoring good footballing encounter and there is no reason to suggest that this will not be the same except that I fancy the ‘Nab to cause the upset.

Sun Aug 28

Wolfe Tones v Grange @ Maghery 5pm

Two of the competitions lightweights with a chance to advance to round two. Grange Junior champions in 2010 were beaten by Whitecross 0-11 to 1-7 in the Intermediate semi-final last year. Junior champions in the Millennium year Wolfe Tones lost to Harps 1-15 to 2-8 then beat Tir na nOg 4-15 to 2-16 before going out at the hands of Killeavy by the minimum 2-9 to 1-11. Both had poor League campaigns Tones heading to Senior B and Grange falling back into the Intermediate ranks for next year unless they can go all the way in the championship.

Verdict- Tones get the nod to advance to round two as winners.

Sun Aug 28

St Patrick’s v Pearse Og @ Ballymacnab 3-15pm

Back to back League champions St Patrick’s are expected by many to be their neighbour’s biggest rivals for the title and clinch their maiden Senior success. The only side to take the scalp off the champions in 20 years Pearse Og in 2009 will give Pat’s an early test of their title credentials. Following a 2-12 to 0-8 win over St Paul’s Pat’s lost a replayed high scoring second round to Harps 2-12 to 3-14 and then crashed out of the qualifiers to Granemore 1-11 to 0-13. The Og’s reached the quarter final last year, A 0-21 to 4-4 win over Sarsfields was followed by a 2-13 to 0-8 defeat by Maghery but a qualifier 2-12 to 1-5 win over Dromintee saw them into a last 8 meeting with Cross who beat them 1-14 to 2-6.

Verdict- This game can serve as a marker for both sides as to just whether they can deliver on their potential as real possible title contenders or remain just making up the numbers. The loser of this may still turn up later in the contest but the winner’s St Pat’s can build on their League success.

Intermediate Championship

Sat Aug 27

Killeavy v Eire Og @ Abbey Park 5-45

2012 Intermediate Championship winners Killeavy were Senior quarter finalists last year beaten 0-22 to 1-9 by Armagh Harps whilst Eire Og reached the last 8 of the Intermediate losing out 2-15 to 0-10 to Grange for the second time in the championship in the one season.

Killeavy have suffered a number of key injuries which hampered their League campaign and will also affect their championship team sheet. Eire Og had a poor Intermediate B League but are doughty championship performers with their last success in this grade back in 2000.

Verdict- Killeavy could be the Championship dark horses as they have bags of potential and can see off the Eire Og challenge.

Sun Aug 28

Clan Na Gael v Thomas Davis @ Keady 1-30

Re-building Clan Na Gael won this Championship last in 1965 and will be boosted for this campaign by winning the Intermediate/ B League. Opponents Thomas Davis finished at the opposite end of that League table but have been decimated by injuries and the loss of players

Verdict- Sorry no magic formula for the Corrinsghego boys as Clans, last year’s beaten quarter finalists at the hands of the competition winners are taken to win.

Sun Aug 28

Carrickcruppen v An Port Mor @ Keady 3-15 pm

Carrickcruppen who won this championship in 2004 were involved at Senior level last year for 2 games A 2-13 to 0-8 loss to Killeavy was followed by a 4-15 to 4-8 loss to Granemore.

Opponents An Port Mor beat Mullaghbawn 0-12 to 0-10 then lost out to both Lurgan sides St Peter’s 2-10 to 1-9 and Clann Eireann 1-15 to 1-11, ’Cruppen had a mixed League with An Port Mor.

Mon Aug 29

Derrynoose v Tullysarran @Athletic Grounds 6-45 pm

Last year’s Junior Champions Tullysarran face a Derrynoose side that exited the same championship at the quarter final stage to Clonmore 3-7 to 0-7 who were subsequently beaten in the final 1-13 to 0-8. Both teams were locked in a promotion battle to Intermediate A and should no one from Intermediate B except Clan Na Gael or Tullysarran win the championship then it will be a second successive promotion for Tullysarran. Derrynoose who last won this title in 1985 are devoid of hurling distractions as they prepare for this one.

Verdict- The upward graph for Tullysarran to continue with a hard fought victory.

Mon Aug 29

Silverbridge v Middletown @ Athletic Grounds 8-30pm

A Silverbridge championship win or one for Culloville who pipped them to the Intermediate League title will see the Bridge return to Senior football along with the Culloville Blues. Middletown  v Silverbridge is a repeat fixture from last year’s opening round which was won by the Bridge 0-16 to 0-14 before they lost out to Clan Na Gael 1-12 to 0-11 and then to Culloville 1-9 to 0-9. Middletown beat Mullaghbawn 2-14 to 2-4 before making their exit at the hands of Eire Og 2-8 to 0-12. How the Middletown dual players survive the hurling championship will have a part to play in this late Monday night entertainment.

Verdict- Another hard fought match expected with the better balanced Bridge given the nod to negotiate a tough opening hurdle.

Junior Championship

Fri Aug 26

Keady v Clady @ Athletic Grounds 6-45 pm

Having lost out in the promotion match with Clonmore the only way for an instant return to Intermediate for Keady is to win the Championship or hope that Clonmore can go one step further this year and complete the double. Clady had an indifferent League but pulled a tough draw in the championship akin to last year where they lost out to eventual champions Clonmore 0-15 to 1-4 and then to St Patrick’s 11 2-15 to 2-5.

Verdict-A tall task for Clady against a Keady side that have a lot more firepower up front to see them progress as winners.

Sat Aug 27

Killeavy 11 v O Hanlon’s @ Abbey Park 4pm

Killeavy 11 raised a few eyebrows last year by reaching the last four and losing out narrowly 1-6 to 0-12 to championship victors Clonmore. Killeavy went back to their inconsistent self’s for the League and will be hoping to put another good Championship run together. O’Hanlon’s lost promotion in their last match to Belleek following their best league performance for a while. Belleek also ended their championship hopes 2-12 to 0-12 in qualifier two twelve months ago.

Verdict-With a few to pull in for the championship Killeavy 11 to prove just a bit too strong for O’Hanlon’s.

Sun Aug 28

Crossmaglen 11 v Pearse Og 11 @ Ballymacnab 1-30pm

A championship run needed from both to make up for poor League performances. Cross had a prolonged Championship last year yet never reached the last four despite having played 5 games in total. A 1-16 to 0-8 win over O’Hanlon’s was followed by a replay win 3-8 to 0-16 over Lissummon before a replay loss 1-13 to 0-13 to near neighbours St Patrick’s ended their championship campaign.

Pearse Og 11 lost the opening round to Killeavy 11, 3-12 to 0-10 but picked up a qualifier victory over St Michael’s 0-15 to 1-9 before Clonmore extinguished their hopes 3-13 to 0-7. Both teams do not seem to have the strength in depth to add significantly to their Championship panels which should ensure a tight contest.

Verdict-Cross 11 to begin their Championship campaign with a win.