Injuries clearing up in Orchard camp

By Shaun Casey

DESPITE winning their first two games of the Division Two league campaign, Armagh are still missing a certain number of key players that haven’t featured at all so far, although manager Kieran McGeeney expects them to return sooner rather than later.

Andrew Murnin and Rian O’Neill are just working their way back, as is defender James Morgan, while Ethan Rafferty is still on the mend after picking up a nasty ankle injury during a club game last summer.

The Cullyhanna contingent, namely Aidan Nugent, Jason Duffy and Ross McQuillan, are slowly but surely easing their way back into the pack. Duffy came on against Louth in the league opener, while McQuillan saw game time in their 12-point win over Meath.

“Andrew and Rian are back training, back playing football, so it’s just a matter of getting them up to speed,” said manager McGeeney after last Saturday’s round two clash.

“Nugent’s back in, he had a good week this week, Jason and Ross are back in as well. It is a different level from club up to county so it’s just getting them back up. But they’re all pushing very hard and itching.

“That’s what you want. Ethan would be a week or two behind the others but he’s back running so hopefully we’ll see him soon too.”

Armagh are dealing with a large squad and some of the newbies have really impressed so far. Peter McGrane has started both league games at corner back, Cian McConville rattled off 1-1 in his first league start last weekend, while Oisin Conaty has also caught the eye.

“You just don’t know. It’s only a strong squad when you’re winning. If you lose a game people always say, they should be playing, they should be playing.

“You give fellas a chance because they’ve been training in pre-season this year, other fellas have been out injured and stuff like that, but we’re hoping Ethan, Rian, Andrew, James will be coming back in soon, and you have the Cullyhanna boys still to feature much as well.

“When you’re winning, it’s good. It puts everybody under pressure and that’s what you want. I’m hoping the fellas who were watching will be going, ‘I want on there’ and pushing hard to get it. That’s what you’re looking for.

“We have more people at training this year that we’ve ever had, so that’s a big plus,” added the 2002 All-Ireland winning captain.

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