Biggest test so far for McGeeney

Biggest test so far for McGeeney
Eugene Creaney

Reporter:

Eugene Creaney

Email:

info@yourlurgan.com

Kieran McGeeney's ambition to "be the best he can be" won't allow him to even contemplate a second-rate performance against Kerry at the Athletic Grounds on Sunday.

Although 20 years have passed since the current Orchard team boss lifted the Sam Maguire Cup, the fans are again daring to dream once again, as the odds tumble for at least an Ulster title tilt.

One small blot on the copy book, a narrow defeat away to Mayo, is the only reversal for a side who are now being viewed as the most improved team from 2021.

Ironically, Armagh have only conceded one goal in all their league appearances this term; the fumbled Dubs effort in the seasons opener was the only three pointer to have beat the collective activity of keepers Blaine Hughes and Ethan Rafferty.

Playing Rafferty in goals was a big gamble for the Armagh boss, who showed that his maturity would now permit the hard decisions.

But the most telling aspect of McGeeney's tenure this season has been the use of the squad players.

After the draw with Monaghan the Armagh boss said "some of the best player in the country aren't starting for county teams". Stefan Campbell is a case in point, he appeared to be struggling at times last term with the captaincy and his ultra-defending role. This year the Clans player looks 'reborn', springing from the bench - his scores particularly against Kildare were crucial.

The most prolific team in the top flight, Kerry will not be traveling to the Athletic Grounds for a day out. They will probably set up in Monaghan overnight before traveling to Armagh where they will put their unbeaten run on the line.

Jack O'Connor's side have a huge plus 25 scoring ratio - Armagh's is 14, not bad for the new Division 1 arrivals.

Another big crowd is expected in the Athletic Grounds on Sunday, with most eager to see the Kingdom's David Clifford in action.

O'Connors team will be the fastest the home side will have faced this season. A win for Tyrone over Mayo and a Dublin defeat of Donegal would put Armagh in a very positive position should they best Kerry.

The dice hasn't fallen kindly for Kieran McGeeney many times in the past - maybe he deserves a bit of good fortune.

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