All roads lead to the Athletic Grounds tomorrow afternoon for the highly anticipated match up of Armagh and Tyrone.
The All-Ireland champions role into town looking their first win of 2022. They suffered defeats to Cavan and Armagh in the McKenna Cup and drew with Monaghan last week.
Armagh are flying high after their dismissal of Dublin in round one. As witnessed in Croke Park, the Orchard are willing to drop plenty of numbers behind the ball.
And following Rian O’Neill’s display last weekend, it’s likely that Tyrone will do the exact same thing.
Based on the Tyrone team named last weekend, their match ups may work out as below. Although Nathan Donnelly and Conor Shields came in as late replacements last Sunday.
Greg McCabe has been named at wing half forward but is most likely going to drop back into defence.
Whether he’s the out and out sweeper is up for debate. Perhaps he’ll match up with Richard Donnelly and let Niall Rowland enjoy a free role.
Aaron McKay gets the nod once again this week and between himself and Aidan Forker, they’ll hope to curtail the influence of Mattie Donnelly and Cathal McShane.
Paddy Burns is going to line up against 2021 All-Star Darren McCurry. ‘Dazzler’ knocked over 0-7 in this fixture last year, so Burns will have to be on top form.
Tyrone’s working wing forwards Niall Sludden and McGeary will help form their defensive shell. They’ll be cautious however of Connaire Mackin and Jarly Og Burns’ ability to get forward.
At centerfield, Tiernan Kelly moves to the middle of the park to replace Ben Crealey. Ciaran Mackin will once again line up at midfield.
The pair will come up against Tyrone’s All-Ireland winning partnership Brian Kennedy and Conn Kilpatrick.
Hampsey vs O’Neill
The big clash in the Armagh attack will be Rian O’Neill coming up against All-Star full back Padraig Hampsey.
Brian Dooher and Fergal Logan would have seen O’Neill’s influence last week, so they’ll have their most trusted stopper on him.
Conor Meyler can play anywhere in the middle eight and has a history of playing as a man-marker.
He’ll move to centre half back to pick up Rory Grugan, with Frank Burns perhaps reverting to the sweeper position.
The hardworking Jemar Hall may go toe-to-toe with Peter Harte as Armagh attempt to stop him.
Inside, Aidan Nugent and Jason Duffy impressed last week, and will be tightly watched by the Tyrone corner backs.