The poll here on the site is currently showing a very high degree of optimism about how this coming Sunday’s Division One match with Armagh at McHale Park (throw-in 2.30 pm) will go. If past performance is any guide, however, we should be wary as our record against them down the years is far from hot.
As the table below shows, we’ve met them a total of 13 times down the years, 12 of which were league matches. Armagh came out on top against us in seven of these clashes, we won four of them and there were two draws.
We’ve played them at home just four times but it’s notable that they’ve never yet taken the field against us at McHale Park. Instead, three of those previous meetings took place in Charlestown and the other one in Ballyhaunis. Our home record against them is one win, one draw and two defeats.
Our paths mainly crossed in the Eighties and Nineties and we’ve come into contact with them only once in the past decade. That meeting took place in April 2005 where they recorded an easy win over us at Croke Park in that year’s league semi-final.
Our two previous clashes at HQ were, however, happier ones for us. Back in 1986 – on Easter Sunday that year, in fact – we beat them in an NFL quarter-final, which I recall being at and where the Orchards still had Joe Kernan lining out for them. He hadn’t quite reached Fat Controller proportions at that stage but I do remember that his portly frame that day was well noted by the punters in the old Hogan Stand.
But of course it was our first meeting at Croke Park – which occurred in August 1950 and was the first time the two counties ever met – that remains our highest-profile encounter. This sole championship clash between us occurred when we met in that year’s All-Ireland semi-final where we recorded an emphatic nine-point win over them before going on to claim our second All-Ireland the following month. Perhaps the fragmented memories that still exist in relation to that long ago meeting are what account for our apparent confidence that we’ll do the business on Sunday. Or maybe it’s just that we don’t think the lads will want to let Billy Joe and his new pals put one over on us on home soil the next day.