Saturday 27 May – BOX-IT Athletic Grounds – 4.45pm
Armagh have the chance to get back on track following their Ulster final defeat when they take on Westmeath on Saturday.
It’s been a tough two weeks for the Orchard County, following their devastating penalty shootout lost to Derry.
How the players and management have recovered from that heartache, will be key ahead of the All-Ireland series.
Armagh didn’t get long to lick their wounds as the next competition, the All-Ireland series, was just around the corner.
No doubt the pain of that defeat still lingers heavily inside that changing room, but Armagh have had to shift their focus almost immediately.
Westmeath are coming to town and in the ‘group of death’ with Galway and Tyrone, every point is crucial.
Dessie Dolan’s side will be eyeing up a shock, hoping Armagh haven’t fully recovered from their lost outing.
And in Westmeath, Dolan has a side that can cause Armagh trouble when on form. They have some very good forwards.
Ronan O’Toole, John Heslin, Luke Loughlin and Ray Connellan, who will possibly drift out to midfield, are all quality players.
But 2023 has been a year of underachievement for Westmeath. They failed to get out of Division Three while they lost to Louth in Leinster despite leading by eight at half time.
So, Armagh, having competed two tiers above Saturday’s opponents, on paper, should be the better outfit.
And Kieran McGeeney has named a fairly strong line out, with Ben Crealey, Stefan Campbell and Aidan Nugent coming into the fold.
Barry McCambridge, Conor Turbitt and Shane McPartlan will start the game on the bench, along with the returning Jemar Hall.
And home advantage should play it’s part as well as the Armagh supporters usually come out in full voice for their team.
There are tricker games coming thick and fast against Tyrone and Galway, so Armagh will be aiming to get two-points this weekend.