Home comforts necessary for both Armagh and Down in National league

September 10, 2018

 ● 2019 Allianz National football leagues

The provisional Allianz National Football League Fixtures for 2019 have granted both Armagh and Down 4 home and 3 away trips for their respective 7 match programs in Division Two and Three.

Armagh will begin their Division 2 campaign away to Kildare before welcoming the first of their 3 Munster rivals Clare to the Athletic Grounds. A tough trip to Navan will be followed by a home match with Tipperary. The last away day will be to Donegal before the penultimate round fixture at home to Ulster championship rivals Fermanagh before finishing off with the visit of Cork to Armagh.

There is little doubt that Kieran McGeeney and his charges face a much more daunting league fixture list than 12 months ago when they captured the Division Three League title. Relegated Donegal and Kildare will both be eyeing a swift return to the top flight. Clare, with 3 wins and 2 draws finished third in the table. Meath and Tipperary will be looking to consolidate their Division Two showing from last year where 3 wins and a draw each saw them avoid relegation. Cork, with 3 wins just fended off Down on scoring difference to avoid relegation.

Using last year’s results as a guideline, promoted Armagh and Fermanagh face a tough time ahead to preserve their Divisional status. Armagh will need to make the Athletic Grounds a home fortress as there are 8 points up for grabs in the Ecclesiastical Capital of Ireland.

Down new boss Paddy Tally will want his new outfit to make an instant return to Division Two following their unlucky relegation last year. Down will face 6 Leinster teams and one Connacht team in their Division 3 campaign.  Down face a daunting opener as they take on Westmeath on a Saturday night in Pairc Escler in the first of their 4 home fixtures. A trip West to Sligo is then followed by a home game with promoted Laois. Longford host Down in round four before Offaly come to Newry. A possible catch -up with Stephen Poucher away to promoted Carlow is the penultimate test befre near neighbours Louth come calling to Newry.

Home losses to Clare and Cork proved very costly for Down last year so it will be a target of a tally 8 points out of 8 for the new manager to keep a promotion bid on track.