Madden vs Cullyhanna – Friday 17th July – 8pm
If things go to plan go for these two clubs, they could be locking horns in a Senior Championship Quarter Final in a few weeks’ time.
But for now, a return to competitive action is all that matters and this weekend both sides will be looking forward to getting back on to the pitch.
Madden play host to an intriguing tie that features two of the top teams in a keenly contested Division 1B.
St Patrick’s Cullyhanna suffered relegation from Division 1A last season and will be looking to bounce straight back up in 2020, and a win on Sunday would set them up well for the rest of the campaign.
While they only won four league games last year, along with losing nine, they did find some form once championship season came calling.
Wins over Culloville, Killeavy and Dromintee allowed Cullyhanna to nab a spot in the last eight where a late Maghery goal ended their run in the competition.
Madden similarly made it to the same stage, losing out to Granemore in a game they could and probably should have won, after impressive victories over Maghery, Annaghmore and Killeavy.
At times during the Championship, St Pat’s demonstrated that they can still compete at the top end of the Armagh Championship, and it’s usually their forward line that catches the eye.
County stars Aidan Nugent and Jason Duffy lead the way in attack, and they will attract the most attention from the Raparees defence.
Madden boast their own County representative of course, with Niall Grimley the main man in the red and black.
Grimley is the one his teammates look to when the going gets tough and his place ball efforts are a big part of Madden’s arsenal.
Forwards like Aron McKenna, Conor Grimley and Ciaran Rafferty will take some of the scoring burden off their star midfielder and on their day, they can all be hard to handle.
Another feature of the Madden attack that they have turned to on occasion over the last few years has been placing midfielder Ryan Grimley on the edge of the square, much to the misery of many full backs.
And with the new ‘advanced mark’ rule coming into play this Friday night, it would be surprising if big Grimley doesn’t spend some time in the full forward position.
With Grimley stationed on the six-yard box however, this could give Cullyhanna an advantage in the physical stakes around the centre of the park, a key component to their play.
The Eugene Casey will be joined by the likes of Barry McConville, Phelim Savage and Shane Conlon in that area.
Cullyhanna have retained the services of former Armagh captain Ciaran McKeever and his experience will be important in guiding St Pat’s back to the top division.
As Madden have demonstrated over the last few years, when they turn in on they can match anyone in the county and will hope to push on from last season and secure a promotion spot.
A win on Sunday will go along way in doing that.