Orchard county Armagh in full blossom but Down are outclassed
There were mixed fortunes for Armagh and Down on the All-Ireland camogie stage at the weekend.
There were mixed fortunes for Armagh and Down on the All-Ireland camogie stage at the weekend.
Armagh manager Kieran McGeeney believes that the manner in which his side was reintroduced to the Championship, played a significant part in Saturday's defeat against Laois.
Aidan Forker is set to lead Armagh against Laois in the All-Ireland qualifier rematch between the sides on Saturday. With regular skipper Ciaran McKeever ruled out with a foot injury, manager Kieran McGeeney may turn to Maghery clubman Forker to oversee operations on the pitch in a match that could breathe new life into Armagh's Championship campaign.
In the week when we are about to see the Christy Ring Cup final replayed because of a refereeing and scoring counting error, it is almost hilarious to consider the context of Armagh's second bite at Laois (scheduled for Portlaoise, July 2, throw-in 3pm).
The Armagh county board have informed the Belfast Telegraph they will be making no public comment after it emerged that Laois may have used seven substitutes - one more than the permitted number - in their first round qualifiers win over Kieran McGeeney's side.
Derry's fitness, work rate and commitment took them to a six-point victory in yesterday's Ulster minor football championship semi-final at St Tiernach's Park, Clones - but only after they had been taken to extra-time by a resilient but profligate Armagh side.
It was perhaps appropriate that the last rites should have been administered to Armagh's Championship aspirations in the morgue-like atmosphere of an almost deserted stadium.
The prospect of having to fulfil an All-Ireland qualifier tie away from home normally fills most managers with a grim sense of foreboding.
Armagh manager Kieran McGeeney may be forced to burn the midnight oil for at least part of this week as he bids to amend his attack for Saturday's All-Ireland qualifier against Laois at O'Moore Park, Portlaoise.
Armagh's hurlers suffered All-Ireland final defeat for the second time in as many years as Mayo won their first senior title in the Nicky Rackard decider.
A rule forbidding Armagh's county stars from playing with their clubs for the rest of June has sparked anger and led to a possible revolt against a 'summer league' in the county.
When the question came, Kieran McGeeney didn't shirk it.
Almost a year ago, Armagh walked out of their own Athletic Grounds wondering what they had to do to bridge the gap to the elite teams.
Armagh, Donegal and Monaghan have joined Tyrone in the last four of the race to the Ulster Minor football championship title following quarter-final victories yesterday.
This weekend's big game sees Armagh take on Cavan in Kingspan Breffni Park, and for many, it seems mainly to be about a man who won't be playing - Kieran McGeeney.
Interim captain Aidan Forker is convinced that the "frank conversations" the Armagh players had among themselves following their humiliation by Cavan in their Allianz League encounter will reap dividends when the counties renew rivalry in the Ulster Championship on Sunday.
Cavan defender Padraig Faulkner has fired out a warning to Armagh in advance of the forthcoming Ulster Championship quarter-final match between the counties.
Two goals in the space of a couple of minutes at the end of the third quarter proved decisive as Armagh confirmed their superiority over Roscommon to claim the National League Division Three camogie title.
Armagh hurlers can look forward to an attractive meeting with Mayo in the Nicky Rackard Cup next Saturday after their 2-19 to 3-13 win over Donegal.
Already this year, Kieran McGeeney has lost a raft of quality players for a variety of reasons, endured the acerbic barbs of Pat Spillane and more recently caustic criticism from Joe Brolly, saw his Armagh team utterly humiliated by Cavan and then ultimately suffer the trauma of relegation to the rather anonymous pastures of Division Three of the Allianz Football League.
The Armagh ladies football team have issued a strongly worded statement criticising the Ladies Gaelic Football Association (LGFA) after the Orchard County controversially missed out on a place in the All-Ireland Championship semi-finals.
It was heartache for Armagh ladies in their bid to reach the National League semi-finals for the first time as defeat to Cork, along with a sequence of results going against them, sent them crashing out of the competition.
This weekend, Armagh ladies have a glorious chance of qualifying for the National League semi-finals, a brilliant accomplishment for Ronan Clarke in his first year in charge.
Seldom has an Armagh victory carried such a bittersweet taste. Kieran McGeeney's side managed to finish their campaign by claiming the scalp of Derry but their only 'reward' is demotion to Division Three.
The word burn-out has obviously not entered the dictionary of the Armagh ladies gaelic football team. And most certainly not as far as Caroline O'Hanlon and Aimee Mackin are concerned.
Monaghan left Armagh floundering in their slipstream in this Ulster Under-21 football championship semi-final at Pairc Esler, Newry.
Tyrone and Armagh crossed swords last weekend in Division Two of the Allianz Football League and finished on level terms but they could yet meet shortly in another sphere.
Armagh hurling boss Sylvester McConnell has thrown down the gauntlet to his side after their elevation to Division 2A of the Allianz Hurling League.
Armagh manager Kieran McGeeney wasn't exactly agreeing that Karma came back and rewarded his side, but there was something almost eerie in how they grabbed a dramatic point for themselves with the final play of this game to keep their survival hopes alive.
Armagh's fortunes at senior level may be at a low ebb but the county's U21 side illuminated the gloom with a flourish when they overwhelmed Down in the Ulster Championship quarter-final at Pairc Esler, Newry last night.
Armagh surely used up their ration of drama and controversy for the remainder of 2016 in this spellbinding 1-15 to 1-15 Division Two draw with Galway at the Athletic Grounds.
Armagh manager Kieran McGeeney absolved his players of blame and said that he, personally, would have to "take it on the chin" following a 17-point humbling at the hands of Cavan at Breffni Park on Saturday.
Armagh have been hit by another injury blow, with the news that specialist man-marking defender James Morgan is gone for the rest of the season.
Armagh manager Kieran McGeeney made it sound like he was still slightly nonplussed after watching Stefan Campbell's spectacular winner in the Athletic Grounds to gain the Orchard County's first points of the league campaign, but he did highlight his side's greater ability to manage the pressure in a hectic final few plays.
Armagh's winning start to life in Division One of the LIDL National Ladies League was stopped by a Cora Staunton-inspired Mayo side at Swinford.
Five points up with only 20 minutes played of this All-Ireland club semi-final, Crossmaglen Rangers can have no complaints about throwing this game away.
Don't concede a goal! That's the warning Crossmaglen Rangers joint-manager Oisin McConville has given his side ahead of tomorrow's All-Ireland club semi-final against Connacht champions Castlebar Mitchels at Kingspan Breffni Park, Cavan.
One win in six competitive outings is not conducive to any manager's well-being yet Armagh boss remains Kieran McGeeney refreshingly candid and thoroughly grounded as he takes stock of a side that remains very much a work in progress.
Technically, they're Gaelic football's form team right now so losing an opening round Allianz league tie to Meath, the O'Byrne Cup champions, isn't the end of the world for Armagh.
Armagh finished strongly in Clones to give their Bank of Ireland Dr McKenna Cup campaign a boost at the expense of Monaghan.
It may be early days in the season but Armagh manager Kieran McGeeney has already laid it on the line to his attack - get more scores!
Any lingering notion that the Bank of Ireland Dr McKenna Cup is nothing more than a gentle preamble into the more serious business of the GAA season was emphatically kicked into touch as Cavan triumphed 2-8 to 0-11 over Armagh in this turbulent, fractious encounter at Oliver Plunkett Park, Crossmaglen yesterday.
Armagh will begin their quest for hurling redemption when they meet UUJ in the Conor McGurk Memorial Tournament at the Dub Playing Fields tomorrow (1.30).
Tyrone will play Louth in Saturday's O'Fiaich Cup final after the Wee County made light work of neighbours Armagh at a foggy Crossmaglen in the weather-delayed semi-final.
The organisers of the O'Fiaich Cup have no intention of allowing a sudden drop in temperature to sound the death knell for the competition.
Crossmaglen Rangers joint manager Oisin McConville is keen to see his side be afforded the opportunity to play on their own Oliver Plunkett Park in the forthcoming Ulster Club championship.
For the second time in a fortnight, Crossmaglen Rangers were put to the pin of their collar in the Armagh club championship before squeezing out a gallant Maghery side by 0-12 to 0-9 in a riveting semi-final.
Armagh reached the end of the All-Ireland Ladies Football Senior Championship road with this semi-final setback against Dublin and the players' disappointment has now been compounded following the resignation of manager James Daly.
Armagh are now the only Ulster team left in the last four of the All-Ireland Ladies senior football championship in which they will meet Dublin.
Armagh County Board has until Monday to decide whether it will appeal a fine handed down for their part in a pre-match incident against Dublin.