‘Whatever works best for Armagh...’ Orchardmen focused as Donegal arrive for top-two clash

Competition for places is fierce says in-form frontman Conor Turbitt

The electric pace of Oisin Conaty helped cut Meath open on Saturday night. Picture by John Merry
Oisin Conaty led the way with four first half points for Armagh last Sunday. Picture by John Merry

COMMANDING victories over Meath and Kildare mean Armagh head into Sunday’s top-of-the-table clash against Donegal at the Box-IT Athletic Grounds in fine fettle.

The form of Jim McGuinness’s men (also three wins from three games) has been every bit as good so, after playing his part in back-to-back wins, Armagh sharpshooter Conor Turbitt rightly sees a real test on the horizon at the weekend.

The Clann Eireann forward hit 1-5 as Armagh put Kildare to the sword last Sunday. The Lilywhites never raised a gallop but you can only beat what’s put in front of you and Armagh did that with a ruthless attention to detail that augurs well for their prospects this season.

“It was comprehensive enough,” said Turbitt after the 2-16 to 0-8 win.

“We came out strong and it carried through for us and we were happy just to see it out. We’ll just keep focussing on ourselves, we have Donegal next and that is a test.

“At this point it’s just game-by-game and we look forward to the games as they come. We had a tough-enough pre-season and I think we’re seeing the reward from that. A lot of the boys have done a lot of work and it is paying off, so hopefully we can keep it going.”

Turbitt tucked away a goal chance in the first half against Kildare at Carlow’s Dr Cullen Park last Sunday, helped himself to four dead-ball points and then conjured up the score of the game in the second half against the disappointing Lilywhites.

It came after he collected the ball inside the Armagh half, turned his marker Eoin Doyle and sprinted 50 yards before splitting the posts with a curling right foot shot.

Alongside his scores, he showed for kickouts and did his defensive job as well so, all in all, it was an excellent evening’s work from the flame-haired frontman.

“It’s not expected, is it?” he joked when his defensive contribution was highlighted.

Conor Turbitt finished the League with five points against Tyrone
Conor Turbitt finished the League with five points against Tyrone Conor Turbitt scored 1-5 against Kildare in Carlow

“I’m a box-to-box player now! No, everybody is expected to do their fair share and I have to do mine and I’m happy enough with that.

“It (the second half point) was probably one of my better ones, I suppose they (Kildare) had to come out and push up a wee bit and that left a wee bit of space and when you see that space you have to go at it, don’t you? It was good to see it going over the bar.”

Armagh aren’t short on attacking options this year. Portadown clubman Oisin Conaty has also begun the season in brilliant form and he had four points from play on the board before half-time on Sunday. In the second half, Armagh introduced Cullyhanna All-Ireland winners Aidan Nugent and Jason Duffy and Oisin O’Neill also made a substitute appearance while younger brother Rian remained on the bench.

“There’s a lot of good players in the squad and a lot of competition for places,” said Turbitt.

“Anybody can see that Oisin has bags of pace and he is getting scores as well so he’s backing that up. There’s loads of competition and it’s all about whatever works best for Armagh.”