The Trilogy

Two of the Nicky Rackard Cup heavyweights will square off this weekend, as Armagh take on Donegal in round two of the competition.

Both sides have earned a win over one another during their league campaigns, the most recent meeting back in March.

Armagh got their league campaign off to a flying start with a win over the Tir Chonaill men way back at the end of January.

Two second half goals through Eoin McGuinness and Ryan Gaffney proved the knockout blows and secured an away win, 2-17 to 0-15.

Letterkenny will once again be the venue this weekend, a happy hunting ground for the Orchard County all them months ago.

Armagh proceeded to go on an unbeaten run to qualify for the Division 3A league final, where Donegal once again stood in the opposite corner.

This time it was the men in green and yellow who got their hand raised, as they secured the only goal of the game to claim the league crown.

Their early three-pointer, coming within the opening minute, had Armagh on the ropes early, and they were unable to claw back that lead.

Both encounters so far this season have resulted in huge scoring tallies, Donegal winning the most recent one 1-18 to 0-19.

Ex Armagh star Declan Coulter is the go-to man in the Donegal ranks and Padraig O’Connor will be preparing a plan to limit his influence.

Tiarnan Nevin is the likely marker for Coulter, and the Middletown man performed brilliantly last weekend against Leitrim.

Armagh were much the better side against their Connaught opponents, and won handsomely in the end, 1-21 to 0-12.

Some wayward shotting may concern the management team, but Armagh will be sure of tightening up on Saturday.

Nathan Curry continues to be the heartbeat of his side, and his accurate free taking is important, as he top scored the last day out with seven points.

Simon Doherty, who missed the league due to injury, is a great communicator between the sticks and a fantastic shot-stopper as well.

The McGuinness’, Artie and Eoin, man the squares at either end of the pitch while Aaron Fox is the rock of the defence.

Paddy McBride and Stephen Renaghan form a talented midfield partnership, both men getting on the scoresheet against Leitrim.

Up front, O’Connor’s men have an abundance of options, with Conor Corvan, Marty Moan and Danny Magee all huge threats.

Donegal played at a higher-level last year, after winning the Nicky Rackard Cup in 2018 and like Armagh will have intentions of once again lifting the trophy.

Home advantage counted for little when these sides met ten months ago, and that result should fill Armagh full of confidence.

A high scoring affair is expected, giving the league score lines, and if it comes down to a blow by blow shoot-out, Armagh know they have the firepower to go all the way.