Huge test for Armagh against Clifford and Co

On the Friday night before Kerry travelled to the Cathedral City last season, Armagh fans were already disappointed by their visit.

When the Kerry team news broke, neither Sean O’Shea nor Player of the Year David Clifford were named.

The first time Armagh have played the Kingdom in a decade, and they were travelling without their two best players.

But by the time Sunday came, Clifford was togged out with ten on his back. He was briefly introduced as a blood sub, but when he entered the fray in the second half, he done all the damage.

The four-time All-Star rattled off 1-2 and ultimately won the game for his side. Kerry emerged victorious 1-13 to 0-13.

O’Shea and Clifford to start

This weekend in Tralee, it’s safe to say that if O’Shea or Clifford aren’t present, then the large Armagh fanbase wouldn’t mind at all.

Except they’re likely to be in from the start. That means an already daunting challenge, taking on the All-Ireland champions on their home turf, will be a lot tougher.

And they’re a wounded animal. After their humbling defeat to Mayo last weekend, Kerry will want to get back on track.

But Armagh are in a similar situation. Whoever loses in Saturday nights showdown, is likely to be drawn into a relegation fight.

Photo Credit: John Merry

Kicking style

Kieran McGeeney’s men will feel they let two points slip in Dr Hyde Park last Sunday and will be determined to up their game.

They have the inside track on Kerry, with Kieran Donaghy offering as much intel as possible. Plus, he’ll know every cut and turn of Austin Stack Park.

But will it be enough? Armagh are certainly good enough to trouble Kerry, there’s no doubt about that.

And the open style of football which Jack O’Connor’s men are renowned for will certainly suit the travelling team.

With the form Andrew Murnin and Jason Duffy showed last week along with the class of Rory Grugan and Rian O’Neill, Armagh have the firepower.

Midfield is still a big question mark, but Kerry are having their own trouble in that department since David Moran stepped into retirement.

Photo Credit: Richiespics

But a lot of it hinges on Clifford and O’Shea. If they start, and they will, can Armagh keep the pair quiet? And for how long?

Aidan Forker will go on Clifford as Armagh’s best man-marker with another player offering assistance as a plus one.

Conor O’Neill or Barry McCambridge may line up beside O’Shea, but again, it’s more than a one-man job.

It’s a difficult track for Armagh, but as always, they’ll be well supported. They’ll want to right the wrongs of last week and hopefully that’s enough.