Armagh host Donegal in massive Ulster showdown

By Michael McMullan

SOMETHING will give at the BOX-IT Athletic Grounds on Sunday when Armagh host Donegal in the game of the weekend in Ulster.

Both teams have three wins under their belt and will have promotion firmly in their sights after dropping out of Division One last season.

Even without Jim McGuinness making the return, this game was always going to have an added interest.

For Kieran McGeeney, it will have even more significance with Ulster derbies against Cavan and Fermanagh still to come down the tracks.

Victory on Sunday would be another significant step towards a spot in the league final and promotion.

The Orchard County had a slice of luck in their win over Louth when Sam Mulroy failed to land a late equaliser.

Since then, they’ve easily accounted for both Meath and Kildare, shooting 2-16 in each game.

Conor Turbitt is their leading marksman with 1-15 this season and has had great support from Oisin Conaty who has put his hand up to become a regular fixture.

Oisin O’Neill has made a return from injury with Andrew Murnin – arguably their player of the season in 2023 – getting a slice of the action in Carlow on Sunday.

After Cullyhanna’s run to the All-Ireland title, Ross McQuillan, Jason Duffy and Aidan Nugent have been phased back into county action. There has also been a return for Tiernan Kelly.

Another plus for Armagh has been the form of goalkeeper Blaine Hughes in the absence of Ethan Rafferty.

Looking ahead to Sunday, Armagh will have their sights set on limiting the scoring return of Patrick McBrearty and Oisín Gallen inside.

It’s a different Donegal side this season. Dáire Ó Baoill has continued from where he left off but having Ryan McHugh back in the fold has transformed them.

McGuinness used the term “reality check” after their McKenna Cup final defeat to Derry.

It sets up Sunday as a game himself and McGeeney will be looking forward to.

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