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Armagh rally around Geoghegan after latest injury woe

By John Campbell

Niall Geoghegan could be forgiven for thinking that there is a jinx hanging over his career as an inter-county player.

In last Sunday's Bank of Ireland Dr McKenna Cup tie against Tyrone, the Armagh goalkeeper sustained a damaged ankle that could keep him out of action for a month.

The 24-year-old Middletown clubman is no stranger to setbacks, though. Four years ago when he was initially striving to make the No 1 shirt his own he suffered a broken bone in his hand in a league game against Kerry and spent three months away from the action.

He subsequently picked up not one but two different injuries at club level before moving to continue his studies in London.

Undeterred, he travelled back home on a weekly basis to attend training sessions and games but the travel ultimately took its toll and he stepped aside from the Orchard County panel.

But now that he is settled down to work at home, he has been strongly focused on becoming Armagh's first-choice custodian - until injury again temporarily jettisoned his ambitions, that is.

Today the popular schoolteacher will undergo a further medical examination to assess the full extent of the injury which saw him replaced by Matthew McNeice on Sunday.

"It was very disappointing for Niall to have to leave the field against Tyrone as he had been looking forward to the game and had been anxious to see regular action," explains county spokesman Seán Ó Maoilsté.

The decision by Orchard County boss Kieran McGeeney to bulk up his representation of goalkeepers within his squad appears to have been justified already.

Right now Philip McEvoy, the regular incumbent for the past couple of seasons, Tim Harney and Paddy Morrison along with McNeice are in the frame to see action against Antrim in round two of the McKenna Cup at Creggan on Sunday.

"It might well be that Niall could be out until the league but the important thing is that he makes a full recovery. He has been unfortunate with injuries but even though he has had only limited game time, he has shown tremendous commitment to Armagh in the past and you have to admire his courage and commitment," adds spokesman Ó Maoilsté.

Armagh remain hopeful that they can make it into the semi-finals of the McKenna Cup despite last weekend's reversal.

"We have Antrim this Sunday and St Mary's next Wednesday but these will by no means be easy. Every team is keen to get into their stride," points out Ó Maoilsté.

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