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McGeeney puts faith in youth as Armagh target a trophy double

By John Campbell

Armagh manager Kieran McGeeney is preparing to put his faith in youth as he contemplates progress in the Bank of Ireland Dr McKenna Cup following the county's success in the O'Fiaich Cup.

Ruairi McCaughley, Joe McElroy, Shea Heffon, Ciaran Higgins, Ben Crealey, Conor White and Anthony Duffy are among the players who will be given the opportunity to bed down in the side in advance of the Allianz League.

While McGeeney remains hopeful that more experienced players such as Andrew Murnin, Mark Shields, Kevin Dyas and James Morgan will return for the league, he is anxious to strengthen his panel overall and sees the McKenna Cup as the ideal opportunity to give newcomers game time.

Several new faces were introduced for the O'Fiaich Cup and the team's triumph in that competition has given McGeeney further encouragement in his task of restructuring his side.

"We have a good group of guys in this Armagh squad but obviously you need a decent ration of experience. Our biggest task will be to try and get the best 15 players we can on the pitch on any given day," stated McGeeney.

"Some of the players were blooded earlier this year and others have come on board since and the big task will be to get the right balance in the side. Sometimes I think we are a wee bit harsher on our players than we should be but then ultimately our game is all about the Championship.

"You can do terrible in the league but if you do well in the Championship that will be forgotten, you will be grand then."

Armagh are due to cross swords with Down in this month's competition and will also renew acquaintance with them in the Ulster Championship during the summer.

McGeeney added: "Down are in a higher division and will probably play in better quality games than us but if we are both honest, we will accept where we are. I don't think that we are that far apart."

Belfast Telegraph

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