Armagh Football Championship Preveiws
Crossmaglen Rangers v Tir na nOg
Sunday 11th September @ 5pm in Ath Grounds
The Portadown sides reward for a very good 1-14 to 0-15 win over Granemore is a meeting with champions Cross for a place in the quarter-finals.There are not too many clubs out there that can show because of injuries and absenteeism wholesale changes to their last starting championship 15 as Cross did and account for a very youthful Dromintee 2-13 to 1-10. The underdogs have potent forwards capable of notching up high scores with their good work all undone by a leaky defence. Not a good combination when facing the champions who are strongly fancied to make it to round two
Verdict- Tir na nOg’s championship odyssey to end following a gallant
Wolfe Tones v Maghery
Sunday 11th September TBC in Clann Eireann
3 points shy of the champions at the semi-final stage last year Maghery began this campaign with a very convincing 1-15 to 0-9 win over Annaghmore. The blue and gold brigade have a strong squad which includes the Forker clan, Aidan, Conor, Paul and Seamus, Eoin Scullion, Gerard Campbell, Kevin Nugent, David Lavery, Conor Mackle and captained by former county player James Lavery the Loughshore men managed by Shane McConville and Kieran Rafferty had a very good league campaign finishing a point short of the winners but denying Cross the title with a last match 1-14 to 1-11 which is sure to boost morale. Maghery and Senior championship have not been a good combination as they still seek their first title and their last final appearance was back in 1993.
Wolfe Tones were involved in a very high scoring first round 3-15 to 2-16 win over Grange (who are relegated to Intermediate unless they win the championship) which was a welcome win following their relegation to Div 1B for next year.
Verdict-Tones will give a good account of themselves but all round don’t have enough for a Maghery side that believe that this could be their breakthrough year.
Ballymacnab v Clann Eireann
Friday 9th September in Athletic Grounds at 8.30pm
A strong 1-9 finish saw Ballymacnab reel in a Harps side that paid the penalty (converted in the game by Jack Grugan for the game’s only goal) for not being able to sustain their challenge in the final quarter when their neighbours piled on the pressure. The ‘Nab will have gained some revenge for their semi-final defeat 2-16 to 2-10 by Harps last year.
Intermediate champions Clann Eireann put Madden to the sword early in their game racing into a 9 point lead but were left hanging on for victory as Madden closed the gap but the winners regained control to run out 3-15 to 3-9 winners. Having had their Minor championship hopes dashed youth building Clann Eireann will be now able to focus on this with their handful of county minors on board. This matchup with the ‘Nab should provide us with a good footballing spectacle given the traditions of both clubs. Delivering on potential is always a “big ask” especially against seasoned campaigners like the ‘Nab.
Verdict- Ballymacnab to build on the boost gained from their last win and use their experience and know how to see off a Clann Eireann side that carry a huge threat but are still on the upward learning curve.
St Patrick’s v Sarsfields
Sunday 11th September at 6.45pm in Athletic Grounds
Back to back League titles has to help turn St Pat’s into real championship contenders. They posted their intentions by demolishing Pearse Og 2-20 to 1-5 in the last round. You can only beat what is put in front of you and the Cullyhanna outfit will not be getting too carried away with their “big win” as their opponents clearly had an off day. Having fallen in the qualifiers to Granemore 0-13 to 1-11 last year, Pat’s will not be taking anything for granted this year especially a dangerous Sarsfields outfit that will relish the open expanses of the Athletic Grounds.
Opponents Sarsfields have the eye for goals with 14 bagged in their last 4 Senior championship games. They netted a crucial third goal in the last round to fend off a terrific Forkhill fightback and then delivered the winning point 3-11 to 1-16 just when it looked as if the sides would need extra-time to separate them for the second year in a row.
Verdict- The prospect of yet another good game with the championship credentials of the Pat’s fully tested but defensively they can nullify the Sarsfields goal threat which will provide them with the platform for a hard earned victory.
•Qualifier Round 1
Madden v Pearse Og
Sat 10th September Ballymacnab 6.00 pm
Having recovered well from a very bad start in their defeat by Clann Eireann, Madden will be gunning for their city neighbours who were so out of sorts against St.Pat’s. Whilst the 2009 champions were missing a number of regulars it was no excuse for the worst championship performance from the Og’s in a very long time.
Verdict-Madden to take advantage of the Og’s problems by knocking them out of the championship.
Armagh Harps v Grange
Friday 9th September at 6.45pm in Athletic Grounds
Harps last quarter lapse will be a worry going into this one although they may have a few more players available to ease their worries. Understrength Grange are paying the price of their missing stars with the concession of 3-15 a worry, especially considering that they scored 2-16 themselves last time out.
Verdict-Beaten finalists for the last 2 years Harps can get their title hopes back in tune with a hard earned victory.
Dromintee v Annaghmore
Saturday 10th September 4.15pm in Ballymacnab
Having drawn the short straws in the last round both of these teams will fancy winning this round one qualifier. Annaghmore got off to a poor start against Maghery and never really recovered once they spurned a couple of first half goal opportunities. Youthful Dromintee remained competitive throughout against the Rangers and can be pleased with their display in conditions that did not really suit their style of play.
Verdict-A lively, open footballing contest in prospect with the ever improving Dromintee to fashion a championship win.