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All-Ireland Qualifiers: Moriarty back for Armagh

By John Campbell

Few people are better acquainted with the day-to-day rivalry that exists between Tyrone and Armagh than Finnian Moriarty.

The Orchard County defender, who will make his first championship appearance of the year against Wicklow at the Morgan Athletic Grounds tonight, is a teacher in Omagh and has long since come to terms with football banter.

Tonight though Moriarty, whose solicitor father Paddy won an All Star award and played for Armagh against Dublin in the 1977 All-Ireland final, will be totally focused on trying to propel his county into the next round of the Qualifiers.

Having missed the championship win over Down and the semi-final defeat by Derry, the quiet-spoken 26-year-old is intent on making up for lost time.

“It’s great to be back in the side again. Obviously it was disappointing for everyone connected with Armagh to have lost to Derry but we have to move on.

“Wicklow will be very hard opponents and they have a good reputation in the Qualifiers,” observes Moriarty.

He has been drafted into the side at left-half-back, a position in which he is extremely comfortable and from where he can bolster Armagh’s attacking options.

Kevin Dyas, who spent two years in Australian Rules Football, moves into the half-forward line from which Billy Joe Padden and Tony Kernan have been axed by manager Paddy O’Rourke as he bids to inject more bite into his forward division.

Moriarty, whose sister Maebh also enjoys a high reputation in gaelic sport, could be asked to shackle any one of three dangerous forwards — Leighton Glynn, Seanie Furlong or Tony Hannon.

Wicklow manager Mick O’Dwyer, who had remained hopeful that the throw-in time would be brought forward from 7.00pm but now accepts that he must go with the flow, is optimistic that his side can further enhance their reputation in the back door arena.

Wicklow have beaten several Ulster sides in recent seasons but home advantage for Armagh could be the key tonight.

Belfast Telegraph


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