Armagh raring to go for Rossie visit

Armagh will take the field on Saturday as silence surrounds the Athletic Grounds stadium, with 2020 continuing to throw up unusual situations.

No fans are permitted to attend the counties vital clash with Roscommon, with Division One status on the line for both teams.

The pre-game warm up may have a challenge game feel, but this should have more of a championship buzz to it.

Armagh haven’t played in the top division since 2012, and a win on Saturday would go a long way in getting them back to the top tier.

They do need other results to go their way to guarantee promotion. Defeats for Cavan and Laois would confirm Division One football for next season, given that Armagh win.

It won’t be all plain sailing of course. Roscommon are a tough test for anyone and will have their own hopes of promotion.

Armagh have only ever encountered Roscommon twice in the league, winning both games.

Their last meeting was back in 2008, in what turned out to be an extremely one-sided affair.

By the time the final whistle sounded, Armagh had stretched their lead to 24 points; with the final score Armagh 4-20 Roscommon 0-8.

The Orchard County went on to claim the Ulster title later that season, and over a decade later, Armagh still haven’t recaptured the Anglo Celt Cup or contested a final.

Check out our Podcast as we preview tomorrow’s game!

Fast forward to this weekend and Kieran McGeeney’s men now face the Connacht Champions of 2017 and 2019. A team that has made the Connacht decider four years in a row.

A team that has yo-yoed between the top two divisions for a few years now. A team deemed too good for Division Two, but not quite good enough for Division One.

And yet, Armagh sit top of the table due to a superior scoring advantage, as Roscommon have also earned seven points.

The two sides have met in the Championship in recent years, with that memorable ‘game of the season’ two years ago.

Armagh went head to head with Roscommon in a winner takes all shoot-out and it was the Rossie’s who got through, winning 2-22 to 1-19.

With the long seven month lay-off, neither team will carry any form or momentum into this game and both sides are sure to have made some changes to their squads.

Roscommon have welcomed back the likes of the Murtagh brothers Diarmuid and Ciaran, while Enda Smith and Conor Cox are huge threats.

The men in orange and white were playing some sublime stuff before Covid-19 halted activity, and they’ll hope to recapture that form on Saturday.

Stefan Campbell, Oisin O’Neill and Aidan Forker to name a few, all had fantastic campaigns during the club championship.

Fans will hope that these players and a few others will continue that momentum into the intercounty season.

Armagh’s fate is in their own hands and if they can produce their best on Saturday, it should be enough to get the win and one step closer to promotion.