Clare contest key to Armagh’s promotion push

Armagh have one more chance at claiming promotion and gaining access to topflight football for the first time since 2012.

They have had to call upon their safety net of the Clare game after a disappointing result against Roscommon last weekend.

A win this Saturday is needed to guarantee promotion to Division One, but Armagh know they won’t get it easy.

Things looked good at the interval last weekend, but a weakened second half showing allowed Roscommon to gain the victory.

Three goals were the telling difference between the sides and Armagh may tighten up defensive for their round seven clash.

Kieran McGeeney has named the same starting fifteen as last weekend and has trusted his back six once again.

Ryan Kennedy and Aidan Forker are Armagh’s go-to man-markers and they will have their hands full against a classy Clare forward line.

Podge Collins and David Tubridy were second half subs against Fermanagh last weekend but will see more game time on Saturday.

Eoin Cleary, Jamie Malone and Keelan Sexton are others in the attacking third of the field that Armagh will have to be mindful of.

There’s also the threat of Gary Brennan in the midfield. He is sure to get a starting berth after being sprung from the bench against the Erne men.

Niall Grimley is most likely to go toe-to-toe with the Clare star in a match up that will be crucial in deciding the result.

The Banner men need the points just as much as Armagh do as they hope to avoid relegation to Division Three.

It’s worth noting that Colm Collins’ men are just one point behind Armagh in the table, despite sitting third from bottom.

Both sides have won an equal amount of game this season, three, so a tight contest can be expected.

The teams have clashed in recent years of course, with Joe McElroy’s late smash-and-grab victory for Armagh in the 2018 qualifiers.

It was Clare who stole the points last year, with a goal in the dying seconds from a sideline, however Armagh fans will still argue that the ball didn’t cross the line.

These are all indicators of how close a contest this could turn out to be.

While Armagh will hope they can keep out the goals at one end, they may need to raise a few green flags at the other.

They’ve gone three games this year without rippling the net, two of which ended in defeat to Laois and Roscommon.

They certainly have an attacking unit that Clare will fear and after last weeks showing, a few of the forwards will have a point to prove.

Oisin O’Neill is currently in the form of his life with Rian O’Neill is a class act in the full forward line.

Jamie Clarke, Stefan Campbell and Rory Grugan offer scoring threats, as does Conor Turbitt at corner forward.

Division One is well within their reach and although they will be taking nothing for granted, Armagh should have enough to secure promotion.