National Hurling League – Round Three
Monaghan vs Armagh
Sunday 30th May – Inniskeen – 2pm
Armagh are out to bounce back this weekend after suffering their first defeat of the season away to Sligo in round two.
They’re on the road once again on Sunday as the travel to the Farney County in search of another two points.
Promotion is now out of the hands but not out of their grasp as they can only do what they can do, win their last two games against their Northern neighbours Monaghan and Tyrone.
There’s only one promotion spot in Division 3A, so Armagh will hope they can do their bit and Sligo drop a few points somewhere along the line.
That begins this weekend with their away tie with Monaghan, a side they hammered in the same fixture last year.
Played in the Athletic Grounds, the Orchard County were unstoppable and marched to a huge 3-25 to 1-10 victory.
Armagh have lost some key personnel from then, but the emergence of Fionntan Donnelly has added a bit of spark to the forward line.
The Keady youngster is a reliable free-taker and has recorded an awesome total of 0-25 across the first two games.
He topped scored with 0-11 in the opening round win against Longford and did likewise with 0-14 last weekend.
Padraig O’Connor’s side were extremely impressive the first day out and dominated the exchanges against Longford.
Two early goals helped Armagh earn the first two points of the season, with Stevie Keenan and Danny Magee hitting the net in the 2-21 to 0-16 win.
They put up a big score against the Yeats County last week as well, recording 1-18 but were still nine points off the winners by the final whistle.
Mark McClatchey raised a green flag in Markievicz Park, but the Middletown man will be out on the wing tomorrow with Eoin McGuinness heading to the edge of the square.
McGuinness was a handful in that position when these sides clashed last season and rattled the net twice, finishing with 2-1.
Jim Short makes his way out to the middle of the field having started at corner back for the previous two encounters.
Peter McKearney moves to centre half forward, but the Derrynoose dual player will no doubt assist around the centre of the park.
Fergal Rafter is an accurate free taker for Monaghan, and he rattled over 0-6 in their only outing, their first-round clash with Tyrone.
Stephen Lambe struck 2-2 from centre half forward and it’s these two forwards who pose the biggest threat to the away sides rear-guard.
Armagh will not only be confident of seeing off the opposition tomorrow but will be carrying some hurt from last weekend.
They were second best on the day against Sligo despite playing well and will be up for the challenge tomorrow.