Armagh manager Kieran McGeeney has called for a positive reaction to the McKenna Cup defeat against Tyrone and has asked his players to remain focused for Sunday’s National League opener against Tipperary.
For the first time in many years his team will be playing in the third division, but the new team boss is stressing the need to get off to winning start.
“The hope is that the players react in a positive fashion on Sunday,” said McGeeney.
“ We know we didn’t play well against Tyrone and gave the ball away too many times particularly for two of their goals. We will have to tighten up at the back to get anything out of our opening League game.”
The fact the visitors have won 26 All Ireland hurling titles would give an indication of where Tipps priorities lie, and although a defeat would be unthinkable for McGeeney’s men, Armagh will have to be at their best to get a result against a small yet very mobile side.
Ironically the Munster men have won more All Ireland football titles than Armagh, four in total, and nine Munster crowns which is similar to the Orchard County’s provincial tally.
Although Armagh made little of the fact they were relegated last season, and reached the All Ireland quarter final which they narrowly lost to Donegal, it can almost be taken for granted the Sam Maguire winners this year will come from the First Division.
On paper Armagh should sail through the Third Division undefeated, the side have the full supplement of Crossmaglen players to pick from, but it would appear McGeeney’s team play at their best when highly motivated as was the case last season against Tyrone in the Ulster series.
Armagh start the game as strong favourites, they should win with a little in hand but can expect a lot of deep defending.