Rafferty ready to return says McGeeney

Ethan Rafferty is back in training say’s Kieran McGeeney, following a horrific ankle injury picked up last summer.

The Armagh goalkeeper damaged his leg while lining out for his club Grange in a league encounter last year.

Rafferty, who made his Armagh debut in 2013, started his county career operating at midfield or in the forward line.

But in 2022, he made the dramatic switch to goalkeeper and has made 25 appearances between the sticks.

His ability to come out the field and play as an attacking threat has been a major weapon for Armagh in recent years.

Indeed, he has scored 1-9 in those 25 outings guarding the goals, and has faced three penalty shootouts.

The return and form of current shot stopper Blaine Hughes, who has now kept seven clean sheets in a row, will offer some real headaches for Kieran McGeeney going forward.

“He’s back running and kicking, so he has got his hand up,” said the Orchard County boss on Saturday evening.

“We’ll see – he has a job on his hands because Blaine (Hughes) has been having a great season too.”

Looking up

Armagh’s convincing 15-point victory over Cavan in round six of the league confirmed promotion to Division One.

Armagh were relegated from the topflight in 2023 but have made an immediate and swift return.

McGeeney’s side take on Cork next weekend in the final round of the campaign before facing Donegal in the league final.

Ethan Rafferty is back in training say's Kieran McGeeney, following a horrific ankle injury picked up last summer.
Photo Credit: Sinead Snaps

“That’s us up, so it’s a good day,” added McGeeney. “The boys played well, so we’re extremely happy. It’s nice to be able to get back up there.

“They have played well to date, but that’s the thing about sports: you’re always judged on your next one.

“To date, they have done all that they have been asked for. We were in Division Two three or four years ago, and we struggled in every game, or we scraped by them.

“We seem to have done much better this time around, we have greater depth and a lot of younger players coming through.

“There are two games left now, so we’ll see how we get on in them.”