Kevin Cassidy

KEVIN CASSIDY: Armagh have the tools to mix it up

WE head for a break this weekend with the first two rounds of the National Football League over us.

The one thing that is clear to see is that the intensity levels are a lot higher than they would normally be at this time of the year.

Given the condensed season and the fact that championship isn’t that far away, it means that all teams have to hit the ground running this year with no room for a slow build up.

With two games played I’d like to look a little closer at the big hitters and those who may be finding it difficult to fire in all cylinders at the minute.

I’ll start with my own county and I suppose at the minute it’s a bit of a mixed bag. We had a fantastic win on opening day against Kerry, but suffered a heavy enough defeat at the hands of old rivals Tyrone last weekend.

Overall, I would be happy with the direction we are going in and when some of the more established players make their return it should make things a little easier for Paddy Carr.

All-Ireland champions Kerry are in a similar position, but their performance last day out against Monaghan suggests that they are finding their rhythm as they get more is their players back.

The one thing that stands out to me about this Kerry team above all the rest of the teams is their ability to switch their game plans up.

They are now comfortable at both kicking and running the ball. They will always keep one man on the 40 acting as a link man and this gives them the option of kicking it out of defence and setting up a counter attack.

This is the most effective way of hurting teams as they more than likely leave themselves open at the back when they go on the attack.

Galway are probably the one team who I worry about at the minute because they seem to be struggling to find the levels that they were at last year.

Listen, we know it’s only early doors but with Shane Walsh away travelling and young Finnerty out injured the last thing that Padraic Joyce needed last weekend was to see Damien Comer leave the pitch with a knee injury.

The way that Galway play, those three guys are central to that so it’s obvious that they will struggle without them. Joyce will be targeting the last two games of the league to make sure he and his team are back at last year’s levels by then.

For me, Armagh are one of the few teams who have shown that perhaps they have improved a little since last year.

I totally get what they are trying to do there and when they perfect that style of play they will be extremely tough to beat.

I think that any team who delivers the odd early ball inside actually keep the opposing team honest in the fact that they won’t go all our attack on you because they are so worried about the damage that the long early ball could do to them now should they cough up possession.

Armagh have the materials to play that game as they have the men inside capable of winning those balls and they also have the lads further out the pitch who can deliver those passes.

At the minute I would Armagh at number one in terms of Ulster teams. So, for them, it’s all about making sure they are still there come early summer.

I’m just not sure what Tyrone we are going to get this season yet so maybe another league game or two might shine some light on that for us because at the minute they are just so unpredictable.

Finally it’s good to see an end to the club saga with Glen withdrawing their objection. This whole process was extremely tough on the Glen club but I think it will actually galvanise them even more to go on and try and win it outright next year – and I don’t think too many would begrudge them that.

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