Armagh braced for Ballybofey battle

Ballybofey on a Friday evening in search of a win, it doesn’t get much tougher than that. But that’s exactly what the Armagh under 20s will be doing tonight.

It’s a repeat of last year’s fixture, in the same venue. Peter McDonnell decided to step down after that defeat to the Tir Chonaill men.

All-Ireland winners Barry O’Hagan and Oisin McConville were then handed the job of bringing through the next generation of Armagh stars.

On a recent episode of The Sideline Eye podcast, the pair spoke about what success looks like for the current group.

There’s plenty of talent available, there’s no doubt about that. Several of the players are now well known for their club performances in the last few years.


Shea Magill is the number one goalkeeper for Killeavy and is experiencing his third year at this grade.

Joint vice-captain Dan McCarthy featured in Clann Eireann’s championship team last season while Orin McKeown, the other half of the vice-captaincy helped Cross IIs to the Junior decider.

Dara O’Callaghan, Ronan Fitzpatrick, Caolan Finnegan and Thomas Og Duffy all played their part for Cross seniors last year.

Sean Rock showed his eye for goal in the Silverbridge jersey last year. He’s been playing brilliantly this season as well.

The Armagh under 20 side that heads to Ballybofey tonight
Photo Credit; Sinead Snaps

Others such as Brendan O’Hagan, James O’Hara, Peter McGrane and Darragh McMullan are worth keeping an eye out for.

They will however be minus their captain Lee Rice, who picked up a serious leg injury in training.

This same minor team met Donegal in 2019, in Ballybofey. Six-points separated the sides that evening, but Armagh were much closer than the 2-18 to 2-12 scoreline suggests.

The much was much bigger last season when Donegal trounced their guests, 1-17 to 0-9.

Have Armagh closed that gap? We’ll find out tonight. There’s no backdoor, no second chances so everything is on the line in Ballybofey.