Armagh keen to bounce back against Kildare

You only have to take a glance at the current league table to understand just how tight Division Two is at the minute, with Laois leading the way on three points at the top while at the foot of the table are Roscommon on one point.

Everyone else in between has one win and one loss on their record after two rounds. Armagh’s disappointing display last week away to Laois has dampened the optimism that surrounded the county following their trouncing of Cavan in round one.

If they can secure a victory over Kildare on Saturday evening, or at least an improved performance, there may be a feeling that the Orchard County are back and track and their Laois showing was a one off.

To do so, they must replicate the pace and purpose they played with against Cavan and get their forwards on the ball in the right areas of the pitch as the likes of Rian O’Neill, Conor Turbitt and Stefan Campbell can cause serious headaches for any defence.

Jamie Clarke made his first appearance of the year in round two, and the Armagh faithful will hope he can see more game time this weekend and join forces with the likes of Turbitt and O’Neill to form a deadly full forward line.

Daniel Flynn leads a tricky Kildare attack that includes Neil Flynn, Niall Kelly and Paddy Brophy while Jimmy Hyland, who kicked the point that gave Kildare a share of the spoils in last year’s meeting, is being used as an impact sub so far in the league.

Armagh will look to tighten up their defensive discipline as last weekend Laois recorded 9 of their 16 scores from frees. James Morgan could come back into the fray and renew acquaintances with Daniel Flynn, having last marked him in the 2017 round four qualifier clash, holding him to a single point.

Aidan Forker and Rory Grugan would also be welcomed additions to Armagh’s starting line-up on Saturday as their leadership and creativity were badly missed last weekend, having both missed the game through injury.

The centerfield battle will be hugely interesting as Kildare surround the middle sector of the field with huge men such as Kevin Feely and Tommy Moolick while Brophy and Paul Cribben (wing half forwards against Clare) offer big options on kick outs.

Niall Grimley and Oisin O’Neill have been the Orchard Counties midfield pairing against both Cavan and Laois while Stephen Sheridan has also been included around the middle for those two games.

Jarly Og Burns knocked over a fisted point after being introduced last weekend and we could see the Silverbridge man on from the start against Kildare as Armagh look to challenge in the centre of the park.

There’s no doubt that both sides need to pick up two points on Saturday evening and following last week’s poor performance, Armagh will look to bounce back with a bang and capture the win that will once again secure some positivity in the county.

Kieran McGeeney obviously has a strong connection with the Lilywhites but the former Kildare manager won’t let old friendships stand in his way of securing Armagh’s second win of the campaign and getting his current side back in winning form.

If Armagh can replicate their round one performance then they can surely push on and claim the two points on offer and worry about pushing on at the top end of the table rather than looking down towards the trap door of Division Three and Tier 2.