McKenna Cup campaign begins in Breffni

It’s been two years since the McKenna Cup was last played, and Armagh started their campaign in Breffni Park that year as well. 

Kieran McGeeney’s side won convincingly in the end, with debutant Conor Turbitt nailing 2-2. 

That was Armagh’s first McKenna Cup win in Breffni Park since 1979. Back then, the Orchard recorded their biggest ever win over Cavan in the competition, 3-13 to 2-6. 

The sides have clashed 17 times before in the preseason tournament. Armagh coming out on top 7 times, with the Breffni Blues winning the other 10. 

Photo Credit: John Merry

Armagh’s McKenna Cup group is the exact same as it was in 2020, with Tyrone making up the trio. 

It’s likely Geezer will use the competition to give some minutes to the non-regulars in the panel, although he has named an experienced line up for tonight’s clash.

Game time

Armagh will be trying to find the balance between blooding new players and trying to progress in the competition. 

Aidan Nugent has returned from injury and leads the team this season along with fellow joint-captain Rian O’Neill. The pair pick up starting jersey’s in the forward line.

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Stephen Sheridan and Niall Grimley are at centerfield while Ciaran Mackin makes his debut in the full back line. Aidan Forker, Armagh’s go-to man-marker in recent years, begins the game at corner forward.

Armagh have shown some good form in the competition under Kieran McGeeney, reaching the decider in 2019. They lost out to Tyrone that evening however while the Red Hands also halted their progress in 2020.

They’ll hope to build momentum for their upcoming league campaign, which begins at the end of January with a mouth-watering away tie against Dublin in Croke Park. 

Photo Credit: John Merry

Cavan have a crucial league campaign coming their way as well as they try to crawl out of Division Four. The 2020 Ulster champions have suffered some poor league displays in recent years.

The Breffni Blues have fallen from the top tier to the bottom with three successive relegations in 2019, ’20 and ’21.

With McKenna Cup kingpins Tyrone in the same group, both Armagh and Cavan will target a win tonight to remain in the race to reach the last four.