Ogs and Killeavy headline Armagh double bill at the Athletic Grounds
THE Athletic Grounds will host it's first game in this year's Armagh Senior Championship with tonight's double bill in the play-offs.
First up it's Sarsfields against Silverbridge (7.15pm) followed by Pearse Og and Killeavy (8.30pm).
Sarsfields earned their spot with a comprehensive 3-17 to 1-7 Group A victory over Whitecross having lost their opening two games to group winners Ballymacnab and Dromintee, who finished second.
Their south Armagh opponents with Joe Crawley in charge are having a good season building on their league promotion from Intermediate A last year to occupy second place in Senior B.
Having run Crossmaglen to a point in their opening Group B game they travelled to Clann Eireann returning home with the two points on offer. Madden, however took them down a peg beaten 0-10 to 1-9. They just couldn't pull back that early Raparees' goal and despite a much improved second half performance time simply ran out on them.
The High Moss men who won their only and only senior title back in 1990 love running at defences and taking advantage of any space afforded. They play an attractive brand of attacking football and their support play when perfected is teamwork at its best.
The 'Bridge defence will be kept busy keeping diminutive corner forward Colin Stevenson at bay and with county panellist Eamon McGeown having a massive influence this season, they have a lot going for them.
Should the likes of Paul McGeown, Paul McGaughey, Niall Smyth, Michael Stevenson, Paul Magee and Mark Reynolds bring along their shooting boots their championship season can be furthered.
Silverbridge however will be out to spoil their rhythm and with a solid defence featuring Sean Garvey, Anthony Mallie, Aaron Duffy and Jack McArdle can do exactly that. It will be game of contrasting styles; again Harps will be relying on star midfielder Peter Carragher winning primary possession.
Ronan and Paddy Reel account for a lot of their scores both being excellent free takers.
Their vanguard must click to come out on top so Jarly Og Burns, Joe Rock, Damien McCann and Jamie Murphy will have to be at their best.
Pearse Og should have the better of Killeavy but must improve on their last day out when it took two second off penalties scored by Ruairi Kelly and Michael Carson to overcome Tir na nOg in a very poor encounter.
The city side's most inspiring performance was away to Granemore which practically ensured them a play-off place.
Manager Adrian Clarke has introduced a number of new faces but it's the Duffys - Paul and Anthony - Marc Cullen, Chris Rafferty, Conor Clarke, Vincent Brady and James Freeman, who has scored a goal in every round on whom hopes will again be pinned.
Killeavy, with All-Ireland winner Justin McNulty at the helm, were completely out of their depth in their Group C opening round walloping by Maghery (2-14 to 0-6).
Their Round 2 encounter against Armagh Harps saw them nine points adrift in the second half which in the end was sliced to 2.
They qualified with a home 0-9 to 0-6 victory against Annaghmore whom they held scoreless from play in the first half. They appeared however to have shot their bolt only ahead 0-4 to 0-2 at the break having played with a strong wind. It was exceedingly poor standard but a brace of points from Ben Hughes and Caolan McConville got them over the line.
It's a big step up for the Senior B league winners who won promotion from the Intermediate ranks in 2017. They are certainly not short of talent with the likes of the O'Neill's - Donal and Conor - alongside James Donnelly, Ben Hughes, Caolan McConville, Gordon Magennis, Raymond Teggart and Jamie Cosgrove.
Having beaten Annaghmore who held Group winners Maghery to a draw may just be the injection that the St Monnina's outfit need to advance here.