SFC Round One – Fri 7th Aug – Ballymacnab – 7.00pm
On league form, these two teams look to be fairly evenly matched. After three rounds of action, they have recorded just one win between them.
Both sides struggled to find their feet in Division 1B this season, but this still has the makings of a hugely competitive game.
Mullaghbawn picked up their only points of the league campaign with a win over St Peter’s in round three, perhaps hitting form at the best possible time.
Annaghmore on the other hand suffered three defeats on the trot with St Peter’s, Cullyhanna and Silverbridge all earning wins over Declan Fox’s side.
On paper, Mullaghbawn look to be the stronger outfit, and with youth on their side, they could be a team to watch in the near future.
Conor Tierney and Declan Loye have both represented their county at underage level and the pair will backbone the defence.
Eoghan McDonnell has also worn the Armagh jersey at minor and under 20 level, and he will be the main man around the middle of the field for his side.
There’s plenty of talent up front as well. Shea Loye and Eddie English will pose a deadly threat to every defence they face and should cause Annaghmore serious headaches of Friday evening.
Kieran Grant holds the captains armband this season, and he’ll lead the team from his centre half forward position.
Peter McDonnell is perhaps the most experienced manager operating in the Senior Championship, and he is the man to guide this youthful side.
The Armagh under-20 boss has managed at the highest level and his experience will be key not only for this game, but for the remainder of Mullaghbawn’s season.
Annaghmore have held a vice-like grip on their Senior status over the last number of years and 2020 could prove to be their biggest test yet.
With Oisin and Ciaran Mac Iomhair out, it’s hard to see where Annaghmore can find the players to replace their missing members.
The Mac Iomhair brothers have been crucial to the Annaghmore success story, and without them the challenge becomes a much more daunting one.
Although recognised as a goalkeeper, captain Matthew McNiece is expected to play out the field for his side, listed at centre half back and offers a wealth of experience.
Tomas McCormack will feature in a hard-working, wing half forward role, but the youngster also knows where the goalposts are.
A lot of the scoring burden will fall on the shoulders of full-forward Conor Cullen and he may prove the toughest task for the Mullaghbawn rear-guard.
His accuracy from placed balls and his trusty left boot are cause for concern for McDonnell’s side, and Cullen will expect support from the likes of Matthew Willis and Michael McConville upfront.
A win for either side this weekend will prove a morale boosting one and could turn their season around.
All in all, a tight, competitive game can be expected, but Mullaghbawn will head into the contest as favourites and should have enough to get through to the quarter finals.