McGeeney banking on Campbell to fire up Armagh
Stefan Campbell can expect to come in for special attention when he lines out for Armagh against Cavan in Sunday’s Ulster Championship quarter-final at Kingspan Breffni Park.
But a bout of up close and personal marking does not particularly faze the muscular Campbell, who is keen to deliver on a strongly-held aspiration.
At the outset of the Allianz League when Armagh were trying to come to terms with the fact that Jamie Clarke, Kevin Dyas, Caolan Rafferty and Stephen Harold would not kick a ball in the competition, Campbell said that he would do his utmost to fill Clarke’s imposing shoes by becoming the figurehead in an attack not particularly noted for its scoring prowess.
To date, Clan na gael clubman Campbell has been as good as his word, delivering some eye-catching performances that, while not quite sufficient to keep his side in Division Two, have infused manager Kieran McGeeney with the hope that his attacking ace can gain further eminence.
Campbell, confident on the ball and capable of taking scores from the most audacious of angles, will face a Cavan defence on Sunday that has become noted for its steely resolve best personified by Patrick Faulkner, Killian Clarke and Conor Moynagh.
McGeeney, though, believes that Campbell’s inherent self-belief, his physical power and his deceptive pace can prove potent weapons against a side that humbled Armagh by 3-18 to 0-10 when they met in the league.
“There is no doubt that ‘Soupy’ is a confidence player who is very comfortable on the ball and can take scores,” said McGeeney.
“The important thing is that he should be supplied with possession. While he did well in the league the important thing is that he now take things on.
“We have started a number of new players in the league but you rely on more experienced players like ‘Soupy’ when it comes to the really big games and Sunday is certainly one of those.”
Rather than curse the darkness which fell when a raft of players were ruled out, McGeeney lit a candle by placing his faith in a battery of untried new faces.
That faith will be put to the test on Sunday as Armagh target a mouth-watering semi-final with arch-rivals Tyrone.
McGeeney added: “Every player will get the chance to step up to the mark on Sunday but usually it’s key forwards who take the claps on the back if they get the scores that get you over the line.”