Simon Doherty spoke to The Sideline Eye podcast this week ahead of Armagh’s national league opener against Louth on Saturday afternoon.
Orchard netminder Doherty hopes home advantage can seem them through but knows the tough challenge his side face.
These sides last meet in the league two years ago. A late Dean Gaffney saw Armagh nab a one-point win, 1-19 to 1-18.
The Middletown man is back on Padraig O’Connor’s team sheet this season and will be a huge addition for Armagh.
“Only for Dean Gaffney stepping up to hit an unbelievable point, I think it was a free near the sideline, maybe 70 or 80 metres out.”
“It’s great to have Dean back into the team as well. A brilliant player, and he has done really well throughout the preseason.”
“It’s going to be a very, very tight game. We’ll be wanting to get a good start especially playing on our home patch.”
“We love playing in the Athletic Grounds. It has been a real fortress for us over the last number of years, both in league and championship.”
“We don’t like to make things easy for any opposition that comes into the Athletic Grounds, so we’re really looking forward to it. I think it’s great to get a home game to start.”
Doherty will recognise a familiar face on the sideline as the Wee County are currently managed by former Armagh dual star Paul McCormack.
“I actually played with Paul for three years, 2010, ’11 and ’12. Paul was our captain in 2010 when we won the Nicky Rackard Cup, and he was very much a key player in the 2012 campaign as well.”
“Paul’s a great guy. An unbelievable ambassador for Armagh hurling over the years and especially as a dual player.”
“He’s done well with Louth over the last number of years. Louth got promotion from their league in Division 3B last year.”
“Louth will be wanting to push on, Louth will be wanting to target Armagh really. In terms of targeting us to get off to a good start.”
“We’ll not be under any illusion in terms of how difficult this game is going to be. We know that we need to perform, no game in this league is going to be a walk in the park.”
“We know we need to be ready come 2.30 on Saturday afternoon.”