Armagh goalkeeper Patrick Morrison set to miss most of National League
ARMAGH have been dealt a blow on the eve of the National Football League after goalkeeper Patrick Morrison was ruled out for the majority of their Division Three campaign.
The Armagh Harps clubman will be out for between six and eight weeks after undergoing a minor abdominal operation at Craigavon Area Hospital on Wednesday, but is expected be back in the frame for Armagh's Ulster Championship opener against Down on June 4.
Morrison started the Dr McKenna Cup wins over Queen's University and the Mournemen last month, and had been in line for a starting spot when the Orchard county open their league campaign in Sligo tomorrow.
Instead, Annaghmore's Matthew McNeice gets the nod for the trip to Markievicz Park.
It is a bitter blow for 30-year-old Morrison, who also missed the Orchard's Ulster SFC opener against Cavan last year with a back injury, although he eventually made his Championship debut against Laois.
Morrison's absence is a headache Orchard boss Kieran McGeeney could do without as injuries continue to take their toll on his panel.
A hamstring injury forced Rory Grugan off late in Armagh's January 18 victory over Down and although McGeeney was confident the Ballymacnab playmaker would be fit for the clash with the Yeatsmen, he isn't named in the starting team.
Having pulled the strings in a more fluid looking Orchard attack throughout pre-season, Grugan will be missed.
The likes of St Paul's forward Andrew Murnin (hamstring) and long-term absentee Kevin Dyas (knee) are both expected to feature later in the league as Armagh bid to go straight back up to Division Two.
Crossmaglen's James Morgan and Clonmore's experienced Brendan Donaghy are both on the comeback trail, while it remains to be seen whether Andy Mallon will rejoin the panel as he decides what his inter-county future holds.
There is some good news for McGeeney though as the deadly Stefan Campbell returns to the fold, with defender Mark Shields in at corner-back for the Sligo game.