Last year’s league started in Croke Park, but all roads lead to Castleblayney this weekend as Armagh clash with Monaghan.
While the Monaghan venue isn’t as glamorous, the fixture is just as important as Armagh look to get off to a good start.
For both sides, a winning start to the campaign is essential as both aim to maintain their Division One status.
Monaghan have just about held on to their spot in the top tier, by the skin of their teeth, in the last two years.
Armagh on the other hand were hugely impressive last year, beating Dublin and Tyrone in the opening two rounds.
But this is a new year, with new targets. As the McKenna Cup showed, a couple of new players as well.
35 players were used in the preseason competition. That gives Kieran McGeeney a few headaches in terms of picking a starting line-up.
He’ll be down a few players immediately though. Greg McCabe and Conor Turbitt are suspended while Mark Shields, Ciaron O’Hanlon and Oisin O’Neill are injured.
So, there’s a few starting spots up for grabs. But Armagh will be able to call on a few key personnel as well.
Rian O’Neill and Rory Grugan, Armagh’s two top scorers last year, played a half each in the McKenna Cup.
Jarly Og Burns featured, as did Ethan Rafferty, Aidan Forker, Aaron McKay, Connaire Mackin and Tiernan Kelly.
There’s a lot of football to be played in the league and a lot of tough challenges. Monaghan always provide one of Armagh’s toughest tests.
The Farney men ended Armagh’s winning streak last year. They were the first team to take points off Kieran McGeeney’s side.
Vinny Corey is now the boss and he’ll hope to bring through a few youngsters, but can still call upon the likes of Conor McManus, Darren Hughes and Karl O’Connell.
That trio didn’t see any game time in the McKenna Cup but if fit, will likely line out from the start this Saturday.
It’s a big game, and as the recent Antrim game showed, Armagh fans (those that got tickets!) are ready to get out in numbers and support their team.
An away win here would set Armagh up well for the rest of the campaign, and they should have enough to get over the line.