Meant to start this thread last week but only getting around to it now and suddenly feel the urge to do so after an excellent away win!!
League made up of Armagh, Derry, Fermanagh, Longford, Offaly, Sligo, Wexford and Westmeath. For us, after a very ‘up and down’ 2017 when we were pipped for promotion on the last day of the league, and followed it up with a Championship run to the All Ireland quarter final. That should have been the cause for real optimism in 2018, but we have lost a lot of our best players who have decided to opt out of the squad for a variety of reasons - Jamie Clarke, Stefan Campbell, The O’Neill brothers (not the Undertones) and James Morgan amongst others.
With the above in mind, I would have felt that we would struggle to get promotion, with Derry, Fermanagh and Westmeath the main threats. Derry though would be / are hampered by the absence of the Slaughtniel contingent.
We opened our campaign with a very easy victory over a desperately poor Sligo side by 2-17 to 0-09. Longford won in Tullamore, although reports suggested Offaly were very poor. Westmeath won in Derry - a great win - but were indebted to their keeper who made a great save from a late penalty. Fermanagh beat Wexford in Enniskillen.
Have to say was very pleased with the attitude of our players in the Sligo game. although that was tempered by how poor Sligo were. A much greater test for Armagh was today’s match in Mullingar.
Didn’t get to our game in Mullingar today, but that represents a great win for us at a ground where we invariably find it tough. We led for most of the first fifty minutes before a goal and a point from Westmeath put them into a narrow lead. However we responded magnificently, outscoring the home side by 1-9 to 0-2 from there to the finish.
Longord also had a very good victory, at home to Derry, and by the size of the winning margin, it suggests to me that Derry are missing the Slaughtniel players. Fermanagh had a comfortable win at home to Offaly who look as though they might struggle. That leaves Fermanagh, Longford and ourselves on maximum points after two games. In the last match, Sligo beat Wexford, which leaves Wexford, Derry and Offaly at the bottom of the table without any points. Westmeath and Sligo are in the middle on two points from two games.
Good to get an update from the wild prairies of division 3. Fair play!
Hope that’s only temporary. Will he be back for the championship? Having heard an interview with him last year, he strikes me as being similar to our own Rory O’Carroll - sees the bigger picture & might depart Ireland’s shores for longer than a short stint in New York. Would be a great shame. A rare talent.
He’s a strange soul, young Jamie - definitely different. He had a major fall out with his club, Crossmaglen Rangers, and from what I understand that relationship is broken, permanently. He’s off travelling again.
Coming back for the Championship might be an interesting question. In the past, Geezer has point blank refused requests for players to miss the league and play Championship. My understanding - maybe given the scale of the absentees - that he’s more amenable to considerig such requests. However with Jamie not playing Club, I’m not sure if that would complicate him being allowed to play fopr the County.
It is true, especially when you’re plying your trade in the third tier of league football and Championship silverware is but a dream. However it’s only a few months ago that he said he was back for good and ready to commit his future to the Armagh cause.
Good start Rufus. A league final would be nice. I was just having one of my obsessive trivia train of thoughts recently, about which All-I winners of the last 40 years could be said to have had 3 really top class forwards, or rather, which didn’t.
Your lads made it to the former category. I’m the latter I would put Dublin 95(fell over the line after years of coming up just short); Cork 2010(fell over the line after years of not looking remotely like winning one, aided by a kindly ref and linesman, and Dublin inexperience in the semi-final, and by having the weakest final opponent of the last 40 years apart from Galway 83, Mayo 89, 04, 06, and Cork themselves on at least 3 occasions, maybe Roscommon 79. By the way the 40 year period can start in 1978 if you want ); after that it gets controversial, not sure I’d say Derry 93 had 3 really outstanding forwards, perhaps I’ll be shown up for that. Nor Kerry in 97. Somehow I think they actually did in 2000.
Btw all that was started by me wondering what Mayo need to get over the line…
I love your obsessive trivia train of thoughts my friend. Would never have thought of this angle though and you raise a few good talking points.
I think you’ve nailed it with Cork in 2010 - I’m open to correction, but from memory they did not have a single all star forward which definitely suggests an issue. That Down team was played off the pitch by Armagh in the 2010 Division 2 League Final and then incredibly came within two points of an All Ireland win - it still makes my blood run cold to think how close they came. Can’t remember who put us out that year!!
That was a great Derry team back in 1993, but I think you’d be on to something again with your synopsis. Some very good forwards but not too many greats - Brolly, Enda Gormley and Damian Cassidy would have been the pick. A lot of the scores in that team came from Tohill in midfield and the half backs and in particular the wonderful Johnny McGurk.
For ourselves, Stevie was unquestionably one of the greats and I don’t think there would be many would argue Ronan Clarke either. In my opinion Oisin would be up there as well so with my blinkers on, I’d be arguing three!
We need promotion big time Hochopepa. I hope Derry don’t go down. Reports seem to suggest they’re trying out a very inexperienced team. I’d hope they have enough to stay up, and I’d guess at this stage it is likely to be Offaly and Wexford.
There wasn’t much of a crowd that day and the hill wasn’t even fully open, shows where we were at the time, but yet I remember the hill albeit a reduced one really rocking, the crow seemed to sense that something was changing.
Also remember the Antrim hurlers pointing their hurls at the hill and shooting us:)
There was a great atmosphere that day, albeit the official attendance was something like 22,000. We had an awful support that day and could still have won that very easily - Brian Mallon’s goalbound shot had beaten Cluxton but was cleared by a covering defender. Dublin added on late points through the Brogans for a 14 - 10 victory (I think).
Maybe that was Philly’s goal-line clearance I’d attributed to him on the Tyrone league game thread when talking of the 2010 championship match v Tyrone.
Suppose putting it on both threads means I gotta be right somewhere!