Orchard boss McGeeney wary of Derry threat

Armagh head to Celtic Park this weekend and Orchard boss Kieran McGeeney says his side face a “quality side”. Derry have lost their last two championship games to Donegal and Galway but are still a top contender for the All-Ireland.

Despite back-to-back defeats, McGeeney believes that Mickey Harte’s side showed enough to prove they’re still a top team. The Oak Leafers were crowned Division One league champions at Croke Park in early April.

Donegal knocked them out of the Ulster Championship before Galway defeated Derry in the first round of the All-Ireland series.

“It will be a different proposition,” said McGeeney after Armagh’s five-point win over Westmeath. “When you watch games, you see things that don’t suit the narrative that Derry are gone.

“They scored 0-15 against Galway, dropped six short and 11 wide so over 30 shots in a game of football. In that game and in the Donegal game.

Tough task

“They’re a really quick team on the counter and in Shane McGuigan they have one of the best forwards about. So we know we have a tough task ahead this week. They’ll be going out with a point to prove and they have serious pace throughout the team as well.

“The reality for us is we’re playing the best team in Division One, that’s the reality. If you’re hitting 30 shots a game and you’re putting 17-18 of them over, that’s quality.

“They got caught with a couple of kickouts (against Donegal) but they didn’t get caught with that against Galway and they were down a man and were still able to produce.

“If McGuigan’s shot had gone in at that time (they might have won). So, we know we’re up against a quality side with a point to prove and it’s going to be one of the toughest games of the year.”

2023 Ulster final

Armagh lost to Derry in the Ulster final last season, after a penalty shootout. McGeeney believes that last year’s Clones meeting will have no relevance in Celtic Park on Sunday. 

“You’ve got two different teams; you’ve got different players,” added McGeeney. “If Eoin McEvoy is back, he’s a different animal than he was even last year.

“The biggest thing is they’ve played Division One teams the whole way through. They are at a serious level, and I think a team that’s hitting 17-18 scores a game and pulling off 30 shots is a serious outfit.”

Armagh head to Celtic Park this weekend and Orchard boss Kieran McGeeney says his side face a “quality side”
Photo Credit: Ulster GAA