Analysing Armagh

Photo: Ireland.com

As you all know by now, the Round 3 qualifier draw this morning paired us with Armagh. This knockout tie has been set for MacHale Park on Saturday evening, where throw-in will be 7pm. The match will be shown live by Sky Sports but sure ye’ll all be at it so that’s not really relevant.

So, then, what do we know about the Orchard County and what have they been up to of late?

Let’s start with some historical context. Unlike many of the counties we’ve come across on our qualifier travels down the years, Armagh are a team we’ve faced in the Championship long before the qualifiers were even thought about.

That meeting happened in the All-Ireland semi-final of 1950, where we beat them with ease, by 3-9 to 0-6, before accounting for Louth in the final. That entire campaign, by the way, only comprised three matches for us because, for some bizarre reason, we were given a bye into the Connacht final where we beat Roscommon. Those were the days.

Fast forward to our most recent meeting of any sort. That took place in the League campaign of 2012 when we met on a rainy night in early March up at the Athletic Grounds. I was there myself that evening to witness an efficiently accomplished 1-14 to 0-11 win for us.

Armagh got relegated that year and since then they’ve plied their trade between Divisions Two and Three. They could do no better than finish 6th in the second tier in 2013 and then got relegated in 2014.

With Kieran McGeeney taking over as manager in 2015 they won promotion and, with it, the Division Three title but the following year got relegated again. Having narrowly missed promotion in 2017, they succeeded last year in getting out of Division Three, once again beating Fermanagh in the divisional title decider.

McGeeney’s homecoming didn’t reap the expected rewards for the Orchard County in the Championship either. In fact, their recent Ulster Championship win over Down – a match myself and the young buck were at in Páirc Esler last month – was their first provincial Championship victory of any sort since 2014. That year turned out to be a half-decent one for them as they made it to the All-Ireland quarter-final through the backdoor, losing by just a point to Donegal in that quarter-final.

In 2015, they lost to Donegal again, this time in the Ulster quarter-final, and they then beat Wicklow in Round 1 of the qualifiers before going under to Galway in Round 2. In 2016, Cavan beat them at the quarter-final stage and then, in an unusual twist, they lost twice to Laois in Round 1 of the qualifiers. The O’Moore County’s first win was annulled as it was discovered afterwards that they’d used seven subs but they knocked Armagh out at the second time of asking, winning by a single point.

In 2017, though, the Orchard County went on a run that took them all the way to the All-Ireland Series. It started – so far, so familiar – with quarter-final defeat in Ulster, this time to Down, but then they got going nicely in the qualifiers. Wins over Fermanagh, Westmeath, Tipperary and Kildare saw them reach the All-Ireland quarter-finals. Once again, however, it was Ulster opposition they faced when they made it to Croke Park, where Tyrone crushed them on a 3-17 to 0-8 scoreline.

Last summer began once more for Armagh with quarter-final defeat in Ulster, with Fermanagh turning them over by 0-12 to 0-7. But then they went on another qualifier gallop, this time almost making it into the inaugural Super Eights.

In Round 1 of the qualifiers they had an easy 3-16 to 1-11 win over Westmeath in Mullingar, while in Round 2 they accounted for Sligo by 1-19 to 1-13 at Markievcz Park. A 2-16 to 1-15 win over Clare at the Athletic Grounds followed in Round 3 but then they came unstuck against Roscommon, losing that Round 4 tie at Portlaoise by 2-22 to 1-19.

Their Division Two form was a bit up-and-down this spring, in a campaign that saw them finish in fifth spot with six points. They never threatened to push for promotion to the top tier but they were in no danger either of sliding back down to Division Three.

In Round 1 they drew 1-11 to 0-14 with Kildare in Newbridge and drew again in Round 2, with time playing out a 1-13 to 2-10 stalemate with Clare at the Athletic Grounds. In Round 3 they fell to their first defeat, Meath getting the better of them by 2-13 to 0-13 in Navan.

They bounced back in the next round, though, to beat Tipperary by 1-15 to 0-12. This good work was undone in Round 5, however, as they lost out narrowly, by 1-9 to 0-11, to Donegal in Ballybofey.

More of the same followed over the course of the final two rounds. They had it pretty much their own way against Fermanagh at the Athletic Grounds, winning by 1-9 to 0-6, but then went under by a single point, on a scoreline of 3-9 to 1-14, against a Cork team battling in vain to stave off the drop.

Armagh mixed the good with the bad as well in the two Ulster Championship matches I saw them play this year. Down were badly hobbled by the harsh dismissal of Caolan Mooney shortly before half-time – we saw on Saturday night just how good he is – but still Armagh, though outplaying the home team, were unable to complete the job in normal time. In fairness, they upped the tempo in the second half of extra-time, that late surge eventually seeing them scrape home by the minimum margin, on a scoreline of 2-17 to 3-13.

I was in Clones as well a fortnight after that to see them throw away what was a clear winning position in the Ulster semi-final. Once more the opposition – Cavan this time – were reduced to fourteen men but Armagh, having propelled themselves four points clear in a really positive spell, shrank back into their shell and tried to see the game out with defensive tactics.

That backfired badly on them. Cian Mackey rolled back the years for Cavan and drove them forward in the closing stages. Cavan drew level with four minutes to go, only to fall behind again before they levelled a second time to force extra-time.

That additional time only produced a point more apiece as the match finished all-square on a 1-14 to 0-17 scoreline. Armagh looked to have missed their chance at making it to the Ulster final and so it proved as the following weekend back at St Tiernach’s Park Cavan beat them at the second time of asking, by 0-23 to 0-17.

When Oisin McConville then plucked his native county from the bowl to face Monaghan away – so back to Clones for a third time in a month – in Round 2 of the qualifiers it looked like Armagh’s fate was sealed. But last Saturday evening Monaghan proved a pale shadow of the team that lit up last summer and Armagh dumped them out emphatically, winning by an impressive 2-17 to 1-12.

All of which means that Kieran McGeeney’s lads will head to Castlebar with a bit of a bounce in their step next Saturday night. The most recent time we met them there, by the way, they came away with a 2-10 to 1-10 win over us in the League. Fun fact – friend of the blog and the podcast Billy Joe Padden lined out for them against us in that one.

Photo: BBC/Inpho

They won’t have Billy Joe in their ranks for this one, a game in which we’ve been installed as firm favourites to win by the bookies. As usual, though, let’s leave the final bit of conjecture on that matter to yourselves. So, then, will we do it on Saturday evening?

Will we advance past Armagh?

  • Yes (85%, 679 Votes)
  • No (15%, 120 Votes)

Total Voters: 799

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93 thoughts on “Analysing Armagh

  1. Great background report there on Armagh WJ. I think we will do the business.
    I hope the Armagh fans get a warm welcome in castlebar.

  2. If we can stop Clarke, rian o neill and young burns in the middle mayo should be fine. Their full back line is weak it’s an area we should be targeting.

  3. not sure if it has been mentioned. I was at the game in Newry and Lee Keegan is absolutely flying!

    He is a man that is planning for a long summer and whatever Lee wants he gets;-)

    I’m positive we will beat Armagh.

  4. I can see the path to a trip across the Atlantic to see the lads. Confident we will get it done here — there’ll be two sure shots in the hat next Monday. You gotta believe!!!

  5. The Armagh boys seem like a sound bunch judging by that forum ontheditch. Good honest gaa discussion. They had us as the no1 team they didnt want to meet which isnt a bad thing.

  6. I remember that night in the athletic grounds, a game where we were in complete control but somehow let them back at us. Sound familiar? It was Colm boyle to the rescue with a flying through the air goal line clearance. Also still a familiar sight, remember the league final.

  7. And Sean’s the worst if it’s true ?
    I voted ‘no’ for the first time in a poll because of that info. Think it’s the first time.

  8. Team possibilities
    Clarke
    Barrett Harrison Higgins
    Keegan Vaughan Durkin
    S.O’Shea A.O’Shea
    McDonagh Loftus O’Connor
    Carr Coen Moran

    Subs: Hennelly, O’Donoghue, Boyle, McCormack, Murray, McLoughlin, Doherty, Regan, Treacy, CO’Connor, Boland

  9. A great draw in my opinion.. should be a huge crowd. Armagh will travel big too. They have some exciting forwards that will knock the lights out if we afford as much space to them as we did to a Down. A real test that if we come through sets us up for a serious assault on this championship. Expect fireworks. The summer really starts next Saturday evening. Up Mayo.

  10. if i am correct the 1 4 that Conor Loftus scored on Saturday are his only scores this year, Hard to believe,

  11. It’s not really hard to believe, Ros Town. Saturday evening’s game was only Conor’s second start of the year, the only other game he lined out in was against Kerry down in Tralee. In addition, he’s only made one substitute appearance so far this year, which was against Roscommon last month.

  12. Mayo will beat Armagh.
    Cillian will return with a brace of goals.
    Big crow of 25,000.
    Galway in the next draw and we will beat them gpod looking.

  13. Good on yea Skorzeny.

    I see your using the code language just in case the Armagh crowd infiltrate the blog.

    The Eagle has landed Big Crow.

    The duck flies at midnight.

    The hen is in the nest, I repeat, the hen is in the nest.

    Just kidding Skorzeny. I usually have a few misspelkwd words every oost just like those 2 there.

  14. it is way better that mayo got down and now armagh in order to.get the newcomers up to speed with championship football.
    I would prefer to see Andy coming on in the last 25 mins when the opposition full back line is a bit tired as he would be a hand full then and let the likes of carr Loftus and boland etc have a go at the start
    we should get over the armagh challenge and move on

  15. Armagh blog a great read. Very knowledgable posts by members. Seem a sound bunch of supporters. Ah ref doing his best for the Newport tourist industry!!.

  16. Hey, the bigger the crowd the better, the more atmosphere, bring it on, noise colour, music and smiling faces of genuine Expectancy’ and Exuberance, the More the better, I say this to both Mayo’ and Armagh fan’s looking in on the Mayo GAA blog. let’s make it an occasion to be remembered….. Castlebar is one of the great Ground’s for a great occasion, …We seen the the contrived (to some extent, by the powers that be) the Anti Sport event, with shocking abuse and jeering by so called Gaels of Dublin to the Meath free taker, on a day that almost everything that could go wrong went wrong…Let McHale Park next Saturday, be about something else, and let the more Noble Spirit of the Gael shine trough!

  17. Team for Saturday
    1.Clarke
    2.Barrett
    3.Crowe
    4.Harrison
    5.Keegan
    6.Boyle
    7.Durcan
    8.Aido
    9.Diarmuid
    10.McDonagh
    11.Doherty
    12.Loftus
    13.Carr
    14.Coen
    15.Cillian

    Subs
    Higgins
    Moran
    Vaughan
    McLoughlin
    Treacy/Diskin

  18. Hello Mayos and Mayoettes…..

    Looking forward to a bit of banter, good natured of course, the next few days.

    My father was, on the run, near Ballycroy in the mid-80’s and remembers the great fervour the locals had when ye’ made the Semis in 1985 and credits that time with rekindling his love of the game during a time when our orchard was barren.

  19. Like that team TH. it’s never too late to try and do the right thing ie. Try and develop a real full back. Would love to see that team starting.
    Donie, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, the orchard will be barren once more come Saturday night.

  20. I don’t think for one minute that Cillian will start this weekend, if he was fit he’d be a sub the last day, there is obviously an injury there. It’s 6 weeks ago since he was a week away from full fitness. Also loftus is a prime example of how vulnerable we are at the moment, only his 2nd start last week and now he’s the answer to all our free kick problems. There are a few established players being carried at the moment in the hope they find form, and the fullback line looks exposed every game. We might win Saturday but equally we could get caught. Horan seems to be hoping that all our issues will fade as we progress and stick with tried and trusted players but it’s high risk. Wouldn’t be surprised if we exit again before the end of June.

  21. Fair comments Puckout. If we don’t improve from last Sat we’ll struggle this wknd. And the likelihood then (If we progress) is that an even bigger improvement will be required.

    Some established players need to rediscover form, others need to played in the correct positions!

  22. Good man Puckout. Keep the positivity as high as possible. Welcome Donie. Way to announce yourself with that Ballycroy reference!

  23. Gutting to be missing this one, has the potential to be a great match. A good result here really could get us properly up and running. Will also be interesting to see how squad management is deployed now the games will be coming thick and fast (hopefully!)

  24. My team for the next day

    Clarke
    EOD. Harrison Higgins
    Durcan Barrett Keegan
    Diarmuid Aldo
    McDonagh loftus Mcloughlin
    Carr Coen Doherty

    I’d agree that we need a change in the full back line. It’s a toss up between EOD or Coen but I don’t think there’s any chance of EOD starting which it’s hard to believe considering how good he looked previously. Put Barret at 6 but let him hold the center. Start Carr, even it doesn’t work out bring in Andy, need loftus for the frees and his best position is no.11. Plenty of options to bring. I’d like to see us be more pro active with our subs.

  25. Good man Donie I wonder was your father one of the bucks that tied up the local sergeant at the time? Lol anyway we’ll stick to the football safe traveling from Armagh I was up in Tandargee at a wedding once, sound gang I have they say they know their football and how to
    Down pints

  26. Goodman Donie from Dromintee.

    I have a sense that Saturday will be one of the highlights of the Summer. The Orchard is barren no more. Some great footballers.

    Leantimes has pointed at it already. We have two counties that love their football and their footballers.

    We’ll be doing our best to win on Saturday. We know it’s not going to be easy, but isn’t it far better having a competition where the outcome is unknown. Far different from the Leinster final on Sunday where the result was known years ago.

    To all the Armagh faithful. Bring your flags and your hats and your jersies. Yea are heartily welcome to the County Mayo. We will have our own all Ireland final on Saturday.

    “There’s one fair county in Ireland
    With memories so glorious and grand
    Where nature has lavished its bounty
    It’s the orchard of Erin’s green land
    I love her cathedral and city
    Once founded by Patrick so true
    And it bears in the heart of it’s bosom
    The ashes of Brian Boru”.

    “For two Irish eyes are shining
    And an Irish heart is pining
    Where I kissed her and caressed her
    In the gloaming long ago

    Loving Irish arms will press me
    And true Irish love caress me
    And sweet Irish lips will bless me
    When it’s Moonlight in Mayo”.

  27. I’d just like to add my welcome to the Armagh contingent who appear to have popped up here since yesterday morning. This is and always should be a place where opposing fans can discuss a match without rancour or the type of nasty shite once sees elsewhere online nowadays. The counties have good cross-over links too – sure, ye robbed Billy Joe off us and then we borrowed Tony McEntee.

    Like you, Justin Morgan, I’m sure you’ll bring a damn sight more than 105 people to Castlebar on Saturday, even if, like us in Newry, a 7pm start doesn’t exactly suit. Sinead37 – consider this as an unapproving look for that very unnecessary swipe.

  28. I spent many weekends in south Armagh with a mate from college. Even met my wife through them!

    They really are gas people, but have a hard edge when required. I remember one old woman telling me that every Christmas morning for a decade the electricity was cut off in their area until late afternoon, so the Fenians would have to manage the cooking of the turkey on the range!

    My mates from up there aren’t particularly confident. They are happy that the team is finally moving in the right direction but feel it’s still too soon for many of them.

  29. I’d call it a touch of realism Fearbolg. And I have a sinking feeling Horan will start the same 15 again on Saturday.

  30. A good set of supporters in Armagh and like ourselves they really like their football One of my favourite memories not involving Mayo was when they over turned Kerry’s half time lead to win the AI final in the early years of this century Spilllane had been fierce disparaging about their full back line been slow and he especially picked on Francie Bellew Armagh put in a super second half to win their first and only AI . All that will be irrelevant on Saturday other than to point to Armagh’s tradition They have done well under McGeeney through the back door and after their big win v Monaghan they will be formidable opponents

  31. The difference in Armagh’s Ulster Championship Form, and in the Qualifiers, is starkly illustrated in the following statistic.
    Since Kieran Mc Geeney took over as manager (including 3 games as coach), Armagh have played 28 Qualifier Games, winning 24 of them.
    The 4 defeats in recent years, came at the hands of Tyrone, Laois, Galway and Roscommon.

    This year in the NFL, they only lost by one point to Donegal, and have now gone to Clones and won by 8 points.
    If Mayo bring their ‘A’ game on Saturday evening, they will win.
    But any repeat of the Roscommon performance, or some of the Down performance, will see Armagh take us out.

  32. Very good Donie. I believe that there is a Naomh Cillian GAC in Whitecross? Wouldn’t it be a cruel irony if our Cillian dumps you out of the championship!!

  33. Didn’t see the game in Newry so don’t have the benefit of having been at the match in order to comment on how players played other than what the Mid West Commentary had to say, as well as the views from the Podcast. The Sunday game highlights didn’t offer up much either, though by the sound of it any team worth their salt will know to push up on our kick outs and force us to go long if Clarke is in Goals. Loftus looks to have cemented his starting berth and there’s a bit of concern over the form over the closely named Doc and DO’C.
    McDonagh seems to have given a decent account of himself so we do need to start rotating the younger squad members into the team, provided they can offer something as good as the incumbents. Also need to do this as much as possible so as to have the full squad as fresh as possible for the super 8s should we get there. It’ll be a fine balance trying to manage that too given we’re in full knockout territory.
    We have to have all our forwards in good fettle and able to score on the day. Armagh have a good number of players who get on the scoresheet, and pretty much all our outfield players can do so too but the greatest number of scores should be from our forwards and this doesn’t always play out to be the way.
    Midfield is a bit of a worry as we are reliant on Aido to do most of the work there. He’s more than capable but teams will also target him, they know they will be to be able to foul him without any repercussion most days. An injury or a black/red card for Aido and we are in awful bother in this area.
    We’ve been quite unfortunate with injuries too so we need to get all back to full fitness.
    I think the bookies have this priced correctly, and if games were played on paper we’d be safe enough but they’re not, so we’ll have to play it out and not be complacent.
    I can’t make this one either as I have other arrangements that means I can’t make it to Castlebar and back in time so will have to make do with Sky, though their coverage and analysis is not agenda driven so it will be refreshing to have the game appropriately analysed by professionals rather than joke shop of what RTE have on offer most of the time.
    Up Mayo.

  34. Call it realism if you like, Puckout, but I’ll guarantee ye all one thing – if there’s an equivalent blog to this one in Dublin, Kerry or Donegal today there won’t be one man or woman on there constructing scenarios about how they can lose their next game. The Armagh boys reading this must be wondering what the fk is wrong with us.

  35. I see that Mike Finnerty is reporting in the Mayonews that Cian Hanley has left the panel, Both he and Shairoze Akram spending the summer in Boston. Felt at the beginning of the year this would be their breakout year.
    Injury really upset Cian Hanley progress and hopefully he will be back fitter and stronger, good luck to them both on their travels.

  36. FBD it was a strange game. We were much more clinical than we were against Roscommon and I would surmise we were much less dominant in midfield than against Roscommon. Down missed a glut of chances. I actually thought Clarke’s kickouts were fine…They were there to be won, they weren’t overly hanging in the air. Aido won his fair share but Diarmuid was a bit off colour beside him. And we were a little off our best regarding breaking ball (Kevin Mc probably being missed around the middle, and Doherty is not in great form either). So that may have been why we were less dominant. But when you way up the saves, the command of the area, Clarke for me all day long. His catch in the first half was immense and settled us all.

    Down cut us open on way too many occasions but we had plenty bodies back, so I can’t understand how easy they broke through. Against Roscommon our half back line went AWOL, but we definitely had enough numbers back on Saturday. Food for thought. Our half forward line was good in an attacking sense, but they may lack physicality to tackle from the front.

    Fionn has enormous potential and is looking the part. And his physicality will improve. Loftus did quite well. Andy had a great second half. But my highest praise is reserved for Leroy. He had to be put on Mooney because he was slicing us open. Leroy shut him down and scored 3 points himself. When Lee is on his song, he is incredible

  37. I haven’t had a chance to read today’s comments yet, so apologies if I am repeating others, but it deserves repeating, methinks.

    Goals win matches.
    Armagh score goals.
    Forewarned is to be forearmed.
    Up Mayo.

  38. Thats disappointing to hear Mayomessi but better that they’re off playing football somewhere for the summer than warming a bench or not even togging out for the County.
    Hopefully they’ll come back all the better for the experience.
    I had high hopes for Akram from his displays at Minor and under 21, am hoping that he can come through on the promise he showed at those stages.

  39. Anybody have an update on injuries, re Vaughan, SOS, Cillian and Carr.
    surprised to hear about Hanley, thought he had the potential to make it.

  40. Fearbolg, sorry but I don’t give a fiddlers what other counties see or read. And i’m not constructing scenarios for defeat, simply saying what I see. We’ve been wide open at the back and are back to relying on Andy as the go to man in attack. Doc, Kevin and diurmuid haven’t performed in two consecutive games. So let’s see what Changes James will make if any.
    And one other thing can someone tell me what is the story with Drake? He’s in the panel since 2014, and has started one championship match (v Dublin 2015). 5 years of been in the 26 but deemed not good enough to start. That’s bonkers on so many levels, and indicative of the problems in the mayo set up.

  41. You know last year Cian Hanley And James Durcan wete parachuted in ahead of the likes of Fergal Boland Darren Coen and others I said it was wrong at the time And now Hanley is in America tho James is still on the panel. We need a bit of pace and strength in our defence reading Armagh’s blog they have identified we have a dodgy defence when ran at at under the high ball and we are an aeging team. It’s good to see what other teams think of us

  42. Puckout, I agree entirely with you. The scoreline in Newry was misleading, it was far from a convincing performance and never did we have control of that game.

  43. Agree totally with Puckout re Drake……….. he is there years, has started one championship game, he makes little or no impact

    I was excited after the league campaign with all the fresh blood, now we are just back to the same players.

    hopefully we are still in the championship and alot of the injured guys come back

  44. I wonder will Crowe make next weekends squad. He is an ideal full back, tall, strong and some pace. he had a great game against mcbrearty in last years league, but got no game time in that years champo. Am I the only one thinking he is our full back answer.

  45. I must of had too many pints , I genuinely never felt like we were in danger despite a poor display at the back again

  46. Sorry guys, I still don’t get it. Where is this nervousness and trepidation coming from? This time 2 years ago I was in the middle of following them all over the country and never at any time did I hear anything but an expectancy to beat whoever was in front of us. Then on to CPark where we weren’t one bit overawed by either Kerry or Dublin. Now all of a sudden we have people going around looking like Mick McCarthy the day he shit himself about nothing. On the form book this should be a win for Mayo but if this unwarranted doubt transmits itself to the team it starts to level the playing field. As I said above, ask any of the other top 6 teams if they expect to be beaten next time out. Guess what they’ll say?

  47. I thought the team did well against DOWN and the supporters were excellent .we need more of the same on saturday evening against ARMAGH.mayo will win this match in front of a big crowd.be4 that we have a connacht minor semi-final with sligo to play on wed. at 7.30 in mchale park.hope fully we will get a big home vocal support for our minor team at that game.it should be a good close match.

  48. I apologized over on the other post. It genuinely wasn’t meant as a swipe. I’m not in the habit of swiping at anyone. Im sorry again.

  49. Agree with Sean Burke, and no pints taken! …’never thought we were under too much of a threat from Down, despite their blistering pace. Our lads, though far from brilliant, were without doubt the better team. Need to improve from sure. Let’s put our faith in James, he knows what he’s doing…let him get on with the job!

  50. It is never easy to beat Down in Newry–i am sure Horan is picking what he thinks is our best team. When vaughan & SoS come back we will be a much more physical team.

  51. Pity the minor game can’t be played as curtain raiser to game on Saturday. It would help get crowd in early and would be great for people like myself living outside the county who can’t get to the game Wednesday evening

  52. That would be doing the right thing South Mayo Exile. It would be great to see the Minors in action. I can’t go Wednesday evening.

  53. I too did not feel at any point that the game was anyway in danger. I thought we were well in control in the second half…

    But then again I didn’t realise the scoreboard was wrong!

  54. We certainly weren’t perfect on Saturday but got the job done without any real scare. The last ten minutes we’re managed very cleverly by the lads. Once Leeroy moved onto Mooney we shut down their main man on the night.

    The form of Doc, Diarmuid and McLoughlin is a bit of a concern. At the same time I’d always back players of their calibre to come good.

  55. I can see why JH might put McLoughlin in the ff line. He is light on his feet and very tricky and could easily slip by a backline and get in for a goal. That said he is badly needed out the field for three important reasons:
    first to mop up breaking ball,
    secondly to deliver good ball into the ff line and
    thirdly and very importantly to break up opposing attacks before they gain momentum. He is superb at all three.
    As for Diarmuid I don’t know how to get a big game out of him. He will come good at some stage – hopefully Saturday evening. We need him playing well.

  56. @Rock, true for you, the most recent from of, Diarmuid, Jason and Kevin Mc, is most certainly a concern…. But I know for a fact that all three are Top Class footballers, and possibly only one Match from blowing the cobwebs away.. However it’s do or die, next Saturday, Round 3 and if we survive that encounter, which is a serious challenge???, it would be do or die in Round 4, … Balancing act for James Horan to keep a very keen eye on the proceedings with all those three…He can’t risk, keeping any Player on the Pitch, if he is not currently delivering a performance. .. Think Kevin McLoughlin isn’t? a corner forward, maybe could possibly play a sweeper if James Horan was minded to do so, could swap with Jason Doc in the Half Forward line, the change might do both the world of good…At his best Diarmuid could set the place alight, in the absence of Mathew Ruane , Diarmuid probably will start Midfield, an ideal replacement for the injured Mathew, very similar traits to the Breaffy Club Man…. Very interesting as to what will happen….. Maybe a few changes to the starting 15, one week isn’t a long buildup , it’s the same for Armagh, some very good Young Player’s on the bench last day out, and some very good Player’s not on the bench last day out, with Donie Vaughan, SOS and Cillian….If we are to continue to progress we are going to need a panel.
    . Will next Saturday be the day we some,?.. .Who knows?

  57. I’m giving very serious consideration to going to this one. From looking at what Armagh did to Monaghan, this might be a bit tighter than “paper form” shows. I suspect the Green flag will be waved at least 4 times, and the game played at a vicious pace. Forecast looks good too.

    I’ll wear the Kickhams jersey, no-one will notice.

    -An interested Dane.

  58. I definitely think that JH will tweak the team again for Saturday. I didn’t really feel we were in too much danger on Saturday but I didn’t like the way we just allowed a 6 point lead (and the platform for a comfortable second half) be whittled down to 3 and cough up a few chances for them to get even closer. For 15 minutes we just tuned out. If Armagh get that type of run on us it could be curtains.

  59. Commercial manager appointed for Mayo GAA.Tom Reilly from Monaghan originally but in Castlebar for years..

  60. I’m predicting a big performance from Mayo on Saturday.
    I say this because I belive the foundations for it were put down in our last game against Down.

    My reasons for saying this would be.

    a) The Roscommon defeat is well and truly out of the system now with our win last week.

    b) The outstanding display from Clarke. If this doesn’t instill confidence in our backs and the way he commands his area then nothing ever will.

    c) Lee Keegan. I think when the other backs have had time to look back and see his outstanding 2nd half performance they will be breaking their backs to try and get up to his level. Lees level of play will force improvement from those around him.

    d) Aidan O’Shea. The man doesn’t know how to play a poor game. What he doesn’t catch will be their to get mopped up. What isn’t mopped up Aidan will strip the ball back on 2 or 3 of these occasions. The man is phenomenal.

    e) Dependable freetaker. Imagine how disheartening it must have felt winning hard earned frees and then putting them wide. How must it have felt then the last day for the lads watching Conor Loftus popping them over.
    Yes. Frees again are worth fighting for.

    While our Down performance was nowhere near perfect, there certainly was enough there to give a good shot of confidence to the team.

    Roscommon to Down was an improvement. Expect another improvement this coming Saturday.

  61. I watched the highlights of Armagh/Monaghan and was amazed at how high Monaghan pushed up… so many bodies around the middle of the field.. and if Armagh got the ball they transitioned it really quickly into acres of space for the forwards to run on to. If your going to push up you need to be winning nearly every ball around the middle and working like dogs to get it back if you don’t. Monaghan just didn’t look to have the stomach for the dirty work and switched off in second half and it was game over. I agree with others in bringing McLoughlin out to the middle.. he”s such an instinctive player around the breaking ball.. the very ball we need to win on Saturday. Starve Armagh of possession and run at their full back line will go a long way to winning this game

  62. Regina is that the same Tom Rellly that came on as a sub for us In the 96 Replay against Meath he was originally from Monaghan or Cavan but living in Castlebar he was about 37 believe it or not back then it’s
    Hardly him but just wondering. Anyway listening to the lads on Game On 2 fm this evening they reckon Armagh
    Will give us a fright they rate their forwards very highly especially Oisin Mc Convilles nephew, they were saying 13 different Armagh players scored last weekend against Monaghan. Make no mistake we have to bring our A game or Armagh will beat us they definetly
    Know where the posts are and will try to hit us early and
    Often for goals

  63. Jaden, you’re gas : ) Definitely come along – I’m sure it’ll be a great occasion. I’m backing Mayo for the win (but no doubt the heart will be racing a few times).

    Revellino, I really agree with you on those feelings and insights. Go on the lads! Let’s be confident. When those boys put their minds to something, that means an awful lot.

    I still think I need to practise my breathing exercises to survive listening/watching the match. Haha.

  64. Does anybody know if Caolan Crowe ,Ger Cafferkey and Brian Reape are still in the Mayo panel.They have not featured in the 26 for Down,Roscommon and Kerry game in the National League final.

  65. Welcome to the blog Donie from Dromintee. Brilliant comment. Quite the picture you paint there. You certainly have a talent with words. Regardless of what happen on Saturday I hope we see more comments from you.

  66. Crowe’s the man for full back Cox wouldn’t push him out of the way to kick 3pts from play or Comer if we were to meet Galway at a later stage he is strong and a sticky back

  67. Here we go again anyone would think we were playing the Dubs. Hope the players don’t read this hype. Come on the League Champions

  68. backdoor sam.he that man from monaghan .he lives in breaffy one of his sons play with castlebar ,and one with breaffy .he was hanging around the mayo panel from 1985 to 1996 and retired after the 1996 replay against meath.

  69. Never get this “don’t start Andy” bit. It appears to be just following the accepted wisdom of bringing on an older player for the last few minutes. But Moran’s main attributes are his ability as a ball-winner, space creator, passer and snap-scorer. You bring on fast dynamic players to exploit tired defenders in the last quarter, Moran often tries too hard to impress when brought on but is unselfish when starting. Moran was easily our best forward in Newry. Take him off if he tires.

  70. Jaden, come along and enjoy a competitive game. There are plenty dubs who are not bothered going to many of their games, due to their dominance. The essence of sport is the competition, when that goes, people naturally lost interest. This is in no way taking away from what the dubs have achieved.

    At least as Mayo supporters, we know to expect the unexpected. I think that there will be a great atmosphere on Saturday evening, should be a good game and think that we will squeeze through by a few points.

  71. @Mattdonnellon, you hit the nail on the head there, Andy tries too hard to impress when introduced as a sub. Far better off to start him. Also think he was our best forward Newry. Kicked a defence splitting pass to Kevin, who had ghosted in behind and was 1 on 1 with keeper, but kevin couldn’t control the ball an it slipped out of his hands. Another example of kevin been out of form. But he’s too good drop, if he clicks again Armagh, we’ll win, I’ve no doubt.

  72. Last time we beat Armagh (in championship) was 1950; last time the British open was in Portrush was 1951 ?????

  73. Mayonaze; it would be cheaper to come into Dublin port on a cruise ship than stay in Dublin!!

  74. Ah Ref is reporting on Twitter that Diarmuid o’Connor has had surgery on a broken wrist. Huge blow for us.

  75. Just got a call to say he’s out. Serious blow. We’re not having much luck with midfielders.

  76. Hello all

    Armagh fan here.

    Looking forward to the game on Saturday and showing the country what this sport is about with two attack minded teams going at each other.

    May the best team win (hopefully Armagh!)

    Good Luck!

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