Armagh manager Kieran McGeeney was forced to make an eleventh-hour goalkeeping alteration to his team for today’s vital Ulster Senior Football Championship semi-final against Monaghan.
Regular goalkeeper Blaine Hughes, who was man of the match in the Orchard County’s quarter-final win over Antrim earlier this month, has been replaced by Killeavy clubman Shea Magill with the release of the starting side accompanied by a statement confirming that a member of the squad has tested positive for Covid-19.
The statement read: “A player from our senior football team has tested positive for Covid-19.
"We can confirm after strictly following the public health advice and with the support of our experienced medical team, this is an isolated case.
“We wish the player a full and speedy recovery, and we extend our best wishes to the team and management in their preparations for the USFC semi-final against Monaghan.
“There will no further comment at this time.”
The remainder of the line-up is similar to that which started against Antrim but the absence of Hughes is expected to be felt nonetheless.
Armagh may have been able to turn up the heat and rack up scores in the second half in particular against Antrim but they will face a much bigger challenge in terms of keeping the scoreboard ticking over today.
With 2,300 spectators permitted to attend the game, it would seem that a Championship atmosphere of sorts will prevail.
Jemar Hall, who was outstanding against Antrim even though he was not one of his team’s 10 scorers, acknowledges that Monaghan will be a different proposition for the Orchard County today.
“This will be a big task for us but we are up for it. We will take the fight to Monaghan,” said Hall.
While it remains to be seen if Conor McManus and Darren Hughes get game time following injuries, Monaghan can still look to skipper Ryan Wylie, full-back Conor Boyle, a dynamic half-forward line of Stephen O’Hanlon, Conor McCarthy and Michael Bannigan as well as Aaron Mulligan to fire them up.
Armagh boss McGeeney, meanwhile, can expect Greg McCabe, Connaire Mackin and Aaron McKay to prop up his defence while Oisin O’Neill is capable of turning in another forceful performance at midfield.
Armagh: S Magill; J Morgan, A McKay, R Finn; C O’Hanlon, G McCabe, C Mackin; P Grimley, O O’Neill, J Hall, R O’Neill, J Og Burns; R Grugan, A Murnin, S Campbell