Armagh host Monaghan in round two of the NHL this weekend and will be aiming to keep their winning momentum going.
Karl McKeegan’s side opened their account with an eight-point away win over Louth in round one.
A huge breeze blowing down the field helped ease Armagh into a 17-point half time lead. But Louth took full advantage of the conditions after the turnaround.
They were on top for the majority of the second period. Armagh were still able to hold on and win comfortably.
Talking of comfortable victories, that’s probably the best way to describe Armagh’s recent history with Monaghan.
Armagh’s nine-point victory in 2021 was the closest encounter these counties have shared in the last three years.
It’s been pretty much plain sailing for the Orchard County, who will also have home advantage on Saturday.
Monaghan are coming to the Athletic Grounds buoyed by their own opening day win over Fermanagh.
A late free from Monaghan netminder Hugh Byrne sealed the deal against the Erne men. That secured a 2-13 to 1-14 win.
Byrne’s late strike flew past the Fermanagh defenders on the line and ended up in the net to earn Monaghan the win.
Monaghan, led by Middletown man Arthur Hughes who lined out for both counties during his playing days, will also carry winning momentum into this one.
Armagh will be the heavy favourites however and they have their eyes on the possibility of promotion.
They reached the decider last season, but were pipped at the post by rivals Tyrone, who earned promotion.
McKeegan would have been pleased with aspects of their play last weekend, especially away from home.
And first round games are all about picking up two points, so it was mission accomplished from an Armagh point of view.
A win this weekend would see them rest at the top of Division 3A ahead of the break in the league, setting them up nicely for the remaining three games.