Three on the Trot very important
● ALLIANZ NFL DIV 3
Following a three week layoff it is very important that Armagh make it three League wins on the trot when they travel to take on Limerick in the Gaelic Grounds @ 2pm on Sunday March 1. Armagh trail Fermanagh on scoring averages by 2 points after both teams won their opening two fixtures whilst Tipperary, Limerick, Clare and Louth all boast 50% records from their two games with both Sligo and Wexford pointless.
With Fermanagh entertaining Tipperary, Louth at home to Wexford and Clare at home to Sligo on the same day as Armagh play Limerick; one can see that a third win on the trot for the Orchard County is vital in the promotion race.
In their victories over Tipperary and Wexford, Armagh were slow out of the traps on both occasions but still managed to win without showing or doing anything special from a football point of view except possess that vital ingredient which counted at the end of the day, a desire to win. Those two opening League matches saw team management, for varying reasons, mainly injuries and player availability, give 24 different players some play time over the course of the two matches. Only 5 players Charlie Vernon, Michael Murray, Aaron Findon, Stefan Campbell and Miceal McKenna managed to play the two full games. Armagh scored 2-8 at home to Tipperary, yet 3 players who contributed 2-6 out of that winning total, Jamie Clarke (1-5), Mark Shields (1-0) and Tony Kernan (0-1) did not start the game at Wexford Park where Armagh chalked up 2-13 with a half dozen different players featuring on the scoresheet.
Sunday’s opponents Limerick got their campaign off to a winning start with a 0-14 to 1-9 home win (at Kilmallock) over Wexford with no fewer than 9 different players getting on the scoreboard with Mickey Lyons (0-4) and Seanie Buckley (0-3) leading the way. The second day out against Tipperary at Templetouhy proved to be a bad day at the office for the Shannonsiders who failed to raise a flag for 44 minutes and only mustered 3 scores in total a Seanie Buckley goal and points from Iain Corbett and Pat Nash as the home side Tipp led 0-8 to nil at the short whistle and won 1-14 to 1-2 in the end.
Limerick manager John Brudair who made only one change from his opening winning side to the team that hit 8 opening half wides against Tipp has had plenty of time to galvanise his charges for the arrival of Armagh and the Limerick team come Sunday will be all out to atone for the dismal last showing. Limerick midfielders Thomas Lee and Gearoid Hegarty can be more than a match for any partnership in the League but just like Armagh found the Tipperary style of competing in the middle sector and attacking down the flanks too effective. Team Captain Seanie Buckley from Dromcollogher/ Broadford and his fellow forward clubmate Cillian Fahy link up well with Adare’s Mickey Lyons to knock over points as displayed against Sligo.
After a three week layoff from competitive action it will be later in the week before the news on Armagh’s walking wounded will be assessed. Will team Captain McKeever, Clarke, Dyas be fit to start? Will Niall Geoghegan be given the opportunity to nail down the number 1 jersey? There will be early headaches for team management if there is a full complement of players to choose from for the game with Limerick. The League is all about getting the right round pegs, to fit into the proper round holes. Armagh have got plenty of pegs and a good few round holes to be filled but nothing like a third straight win to keep that momentum going into match four when Fermanagh are the Saturday night visitors to the Athletic Grounds. The form line and form guide for both teams is Wexford, who in truth were no great shakes and succumbed very easily once Armagh overturned that early 4 point deficit to take the lead. One thing though Limerick will not need to help their cause is another sluggish opening half from the Orchard County.
Div 3 Table
Allianz FL3 P W D L Dif Pts
Fermanagh 2 2 0 0 +11 4
Armagh 2 2 0 0 +9 4
Tipperary 2 1 0 1 +11 2
Clare 2 1 0 1 +8 2
Louth 2 1 0 1 -3 2
Limerick 2 1 0 1 -10 2
Sligo 2 0 0 2 -4 0
Wexford 2 0 0 2 -22 0