Hopes for 2021 – Armagh Football

The old saying goes, “you’re only as good as your last performance”, but it would be unfair for the Donegal game to define Armagh’s season.

Yes, Armagh failed to deliver against one of the top teams in the country, but they still had a pretty good year.

You can be sure that when Kieran McGeeney’s side were goal setting during pre-season, promotion would have been high up that list.

Their year started with two good showings in the McKenna Cup, hitting 5-32 across their two games against Cavan and Tyrone.

While their red hand rivals edged a thrilling contest, Armagh gave a good account of themselves in the 3-18 to 3-15 defeat.

Like the first round of the McKenna Cup, Armagh put Cavan to the sword on the opening day of the league campaign, with Conor Turbitt stealing the show.

Any suggestions that Armagh were about to run away with the league were quickly shot down with a harsh lesson in Portlaoise, not the only tough experience that Armagh suffered this year.

Between wins over Kildare, Fermanagh and Clare, Armagh dropped points against Westmeath and Roscommon.

The league campaign seemed to consist of one good performance followed by one poor display, a level of inconsistency that will trouble Kieran McGeeney.

Their return to action in October offered them the chance to still fight for promotion with two games remaining.

A loss at home to the Rossie’s saw the orchard county travel to Clare on the final day, knowing a win would secure division one football for 2021.

While it wasn’t easy, Armagh were the best team on show and deservingly ticked off the first box on their yearly targets.

It’s been twelve years since the orange and white competed in the top section of the league, so fans will be excited to get back to the top in the new season!

Celebrations were short lived as they had just a week to prepare for the opening round of the Ulster Championship.

An away trip to Rory Gallagher’s Derry was a tough fixture for the first day out, but Armagh were justifying favourites.

And the favourites made it through with a promising performance, with two points to spare at the final whistle, 0-17 to 0-15.

This win was the first time Armagh picked up consecutive first round wins in the Ulster Championship since 2011.

Next up was the tough challenge of Donegal, at the time many peoples only pick for a team that could challenge the mighty Dubs.

Armagh were well off the pace and despite having a descent opening quarter, Donegal powered home in devastating fashion.

When Geezer and his side are goal setting on their zoom calls in 2021, the league will once again be a priority.

They will hope to retain their league status in division one, in a campaign that may feel like a mini–Ulster Championship.

In terms of championship, the minimum will be to win the opening round and aim to get back to the Ulster Final for the first time since 2008.