National League Preview – Armagh GAA

The old saying goes, ‘you’re only as good as your last game’, so Armagh will need no motivation going into any of their upcoming national league ties.

Donegal left wounds that would not easily heal in last season’s Ulster Championship, leaving some question marks over Armagh’s ability to mix it with the top teams.

It’s been a long time coming, but Kieran McGeeney’s men are finally back competing in the top tier.

Armagh have had a torrid time trying to reclaim their spot amongst the big guns, yo-yoing between Division Two and Three in recent years.

The Orchard County last played Division One football in 2012 and were relegated despite drawing with Cork and defeating Kerry.

Fans of the men in orange and white will be been disappointed by the fact that the league will be played on a regional basis, with Armagh facing an all-Ulster campaign.

They’ve got used to battling with Monaghan, Tyrone and Donegal over the last few years, and will have to do so again in 2021.

There has been some movement in the panel since they last played, with the likes of Joe McElroy and Callum Cumiskey stepping aside for the year.

It’s also no secret that Jamie Clarke has not rejoined the panel and is unlikely to feature during the 2021 season.

Stephen Sheridan is set to spend some time on the sideline, having suffered a broken jaw in a recent training session.

Kieran McGeeney has added some fresh talent to the squad as well as bringing in Kieran Donaghy and Ciaran McKeever to the management set up.

Both Ross McQuillan and Ciaron O’Hanlon are back in the mix and will be strong contenders for a starting berths.

Jack Grugan has been one of the best forwards in the county over the last few years and will be eager to prove himself at this level.

Barry McCambridge is another new addition and the Clann Eireann man is a highly regarded full-back, a problem area for Armagh during Geezer’s time.

An opening day win against Monaghan will go along way in helping Armagh consolidate their place for another season.

The main goal will of course be to avoid the drop and the task of toppling the Farney men looks Armagh’s best chance of doing so.

A home tie against a Fergal Logan and Brian Dooher’s Tyrone will offer an exciting challenge while they will also welcome Donegal to the Athletic Grounds in round three.

With no fans, home advantage may stand for very little, but Armagh will have no complaints about taking on their two biggest opponents on familiar soil.

All the focus will be on that opening day encounter with the Farney men and Armagh will be keen to get 2021 off to a good start.