ARMAGH need a win against St Mary’s this Sunday to have any chance of reaching the semi-final of the McKenna Cup.
Last sunday in Newry team manager Paddy O’Rourke handed eight players their senior debuts against Down in the season’s opener.
But James McCartan’s Down team proved too strong and won on a scoreline of 2-12 to 0-10.
With a tough tie in prospect next Wednesday night against Monaghan the county side will need a good showing against St Mary’s on Sunday - a side ironically which beat them at the same venue last year in the competition.
With the Crossmaglen players still concentrating on retaining their All-Ireland club title, Steven McDonnell taking a break from county football and Ronan Clarke undergoing re-hab work following surgery on his problematic achilles tendon injury it could be well into the spring before Armagh have a settled panel.
With Kieran Toner currently in Australia, a series of players could be tried in the midfield sector over the coming months.
The county however have the toughest possible league opener at home to Cork in early February before the trip to Killarney for a clash with Kerry.
Plusses from last Sunday’s Down game were the performances shown from Clan na Gael’s Stephan Campbell, Aidan Forker from Maghery and another Maghery player David Lavery, the brother of midfielder James.
New goalkeeper Niall Geoghan from Middletown had a good debut, making several top class saves on the day,
A defeat against St Mary’s would end Armagh’s interest in this season’s McKenna Cup competition,