Cavan v Armagh – Breffni Park – Saturday 6.30pm
Armagh’s Ulster Championship campaign continues this weekend when they take on Cavan in Breffni Park on Saturday.
Breffni Park hasn’t been a happy hunting ground for Armagh in recent years. In fact, the Orchard have only ever won one championship game in the Cavan venue, back in 2008.
Armagh haven’t won an Ulster title, or reached the final, since that season while Cavan were provincial champions as recently as 2020.
Mickey Graham has retained a number of that panel, with the likes of Gearóid McKiernan, Killian Clarke, Raymond Galligan and Padraig Faulker still the main men.
Dara McVeety, who gave Armagh a torrid time in 2019, has returned from a three-year break while Paddy Lynch has added to their attacking arsenal.
McVeety hit 0-3 in the McKenna Cup clash and won the Man of the Match award while Lynch top scored for Cavan in the league with 3-23.
It was a league campaign that ended in success. Cavan achieved the overall goal of promotion and claimed the Division Three title as well.
Armagh’s league run has been well documented at this stage, but they got a chance to get back on track against Antrim following their relegation.
And they did that with aplomb. They thrashed the Saffron’s by nine-points, with Conor Turbitt and Shane McPartlan catching the eye.
Ben Crealey has got another two weeks work under his belt, while Andrew Murnin, Conor O’Neill, Rian O’Neill and Jarly Og Burns have returned to the panel.
For the first time since 2018, Armagh will begin a championship match without a Crossmaglen man on the starting team.
James Morgan hasn’t been named in the panel, while Rian O’Neill, Callum Cumiskey and Cian McConville are on the bench.
And it’s a fairly strong bench that Kieran McGeeney can call upon. Burns, Aidan Nugent, Ross McQuillan and Stephen Sheridan are among the subs as well.
So, if things aren’t going to plan, Armagh have the talent to turn the game around if they need to shake things up.
And they’ll need their bench at some stage, that’s for sure. Cavan are confident of an upset and have some serious quality in their ranks.
They’ve bene preparing for this game for a long time and need to win if they want to compete for the Sam Maguire this year.
But Armagh’s want will surely be more. It’s been a long time since the Orchard recorded a big provincial win and the time is now.