Dublin date kickstarts Division One campaign

Armagh are back among the big hitters of Division One and their assignment tomorrow evening couldn’t be tougher.

It’s ten years since the sides last crossed paths. The Dubs annihilated Paddy O’Rourke’s men by 16 points in round four of the league.

Relegation followed by the end of the campaign and the rebuild of the Orchard County began.

Armagh look forward to a full division one campaign
Photo Credit: Richiespics

It took almost a decade to return to the top tier. But Kieran McGeeney has finally got his men back to Division One.

Covid restrictions forced a reduced league campaign last season, including a mini-Ulster series against Monaghan, Tyrone and Donegal.

Now Armagh fans have the chance to see their side take on the best. It doesn’t get much better than the six-in-a-row history makers.

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Wounded animal

They lost their crown last season, when Mayo put a stop to their seven-in-a-row charge after extra time.

McGeeney’s men are heading into the lion’s den on Saturday, facing a wounded animal with a point to prove.

Several Dublin legends have stepped away in recent times and the question is, can they be replaced?

Generational talents like Stephen Cluxton, Paul Mannion, Jack McCaffrey, Philly McMahon, Cian O’Sullivan. The list goes on and on.

Lee Gannon and Ciaran Archer are emerging talents. The questions is, can they reach the high standards set by the Dubs of the last decade?

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Perhaps Armagh are meeting them at the perfect time. Perhaps Dublin are in transition while the men in orange and white are finally ready to deliver.

Crossmaglen duo Oisin O’Neill and James Morgan look likely to miss out through injury, but McGeeney should have an otherwise clean bill.

Attacking options

The attacking options at his disposal look to be tailor made for the wide, open area of Croke Park.

Given space, Rian O’Neill, Aidan Nugent, Stefan Campbell and Rory Grugan have the capabilities to destroy any defence.

Rory Grugan is one of the few Armagh players to have played Dublin in division one
Photo Credit: Richiespics

Throw in Conor Turbitt, who has been awesome in the Sigerson Cup, along with Jason Duffy, Tiernan Kelly and Andrew Murnin and the management have a real headache.

Ciaran Mackin and Ciaran Higgins impressed throughout the McKenna Cup. The latter a possible solution to Armagh’s full back problem.

Aidan Forker is the main man at the back. His duel with Con O’Callaghan could be both fascinating and critical.

Armagh have to get their match ups right and if they can find the balance between protecting their back line and keeping bodies up the field, they can cause Dublin problems.

Will it be enough to win? Only time will tell. This is where Armagh want to be, back in the top division, and Saturday is the perfect chance to show they belong here.