Armagh’s qualifier quest begins at home

Armagh’s qualifier quest beings on Sunday and the draw literally couldn’t have been any tougher, facing old foes Tyrone in round one.

They welcome the Red Hands to the Athletic Grounds and it’s do or die for both sides as they hope to extend their season.

Kieran McGeeney’s side disappointedly dropped out of the Ulster championship at the hands of Donegal.

After their positive league campaign, where they finished third in Division One, a lot was expected in the provincial championship.

Armagh failed to deliver in Ballybofey. A second half Patrick McBrearty goal sunk the Orchard County’s ambitions.

Tyrone likewise were flat and underwhelming in their Ulster exit. The All-Ireland champions were toppled by a hungrier Derry side.

So, it all comes down to this. The winner remains on track to get to the last eight and reach the All-Ireland quarterfinals.

For the other, the season will end in heartbreak and it’s back to the drawing board for 2023. Neither can afford to lose.

And that should make for an intense and an intriguing battle. A winner takes all clash that will drag the best out of both teams.

Armagh begin their qualifier in quest on Sunday
Photo Credit: John Merry

Midfield battle

It could be cagey, it could be slow, but both sets of sides have forwards that have the potential to light up the Athletic Grounds.

Darren McCurry and Cathal McShane were held to 0-1 from play by Aidan Forker and Aaron McKay during the league.

The Armagh match ups will be crucial while both teams are missing key personnel around the middle of the park.

Ciaran Mackin, Tiernan Kelly and more recently Niall Grimley have picked up serious injuries.

Armagh begin their qualifier in quest on Sunday
Photo Credit: John Merry

Brian Kennedy of Tyrone will serve his one match suspension after receiving his marching orders against the Oak Leaf County.

The O’Neill brothers are likely to solve Armagh’s centerfield woes, and both will switch between midfield and the edge of the square.

The league clash was enough to whet the appetite and we could witness the tension boil over once again.

That’s to be expected in a derby game when bragging rights are on offer and when the season is on the line.