SFC Round One – Sat 8th Aug – Pearse Ogs Park – 3.30pm
This time last year, Killeavy were operating three divisions above Grange.
They had just secured their spot in the top four of Division 1A, while Grange finished third in Division 2B, missing out on promotion.
Of course, their glorious Intermediate Championship campaign saw Grange elevated to the Senior ranks for the first time since 2016.
As the sides clash twelve months on, it’s safe to say that Peter Nugent’s Grange side will head into this contest confident of causing an upset.
The have started the 2020 season with a bang, and currently sit top of the Division 1B table following a three-game unbeaten run.
Victories over Lurgan duo Clann Eireann and St Peter’s set Grange up for a top of the table clash with Cullyhanna in round three.
The St Colmcille’s men clawed back a nine-point deficit to get their noses in front, heading into the final few minutes of the tie.
Although Cullyhanna earned a share of the spoils, Grange showed serious resolve to get back into the game.
Killeavy on the other hand have experienced an up and down season thus far, reaching the highs of an opening day win before experiencing the lows of a derby day loss in round two.
Neil Coulter’s men were six points superior to Pearse Ogs in round one of the league, earning an eye-catching 1-13 to 0-10 victory.
However, they failed to rise to the occasion on their second outing, and a disappointing display saw Dromintee come out on top, 0-10 to 1-4.
Killeavy still hold a lot of talent in their ranks and the return of Ciaron O’Hanlon and Jamie Cosgrove will only improve their side.
They have been a club with huge club success in recent years and looking through their team, most of their players have held a county jersey at some time in their careers.
Youngsters in the form of Shea Magill, Lee Rice and Oisin King have all experienced game time in the league and are good options this weekend.
James Donnelly remains a vital part of their make-up and his ferocious midfield battle with Ethan Rafferty will be one to keep an eye on.
Cathal Boylan is their captain this year and will assist Donnelly around the centre of the park, along with Caolan McConville.
Conor O’Neill represented Armagh in the McKenna Cup and League earlier in the year and it will be interesting to see where he lines out.
A hugely versatile player, O’Neill can literally play anywhere, and Grange will be keen to limit his influence on proceedings.
The McKenna brothers, Miceal and Cathal both taking some watching and Killeavy will need to get their defence matchups right.
Justin Kieran is obviously a huge blow for the Grange and the gap he leaves will be a tough one to fill.
It’s fair to say Killeavy will deservingly head into this one as favourites, but Grange have been coming along nicely and could land a surprise result this weekend.