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Injuries could threaten Armagh's promotion bid

 

By John Campbell

When Armagh manager Kieran McGeeney likened his team's dressing room to a casualty ward in the immediate aftermath of their win over Derry last weekend, he was certainly not exaggerating.

Even as referee Derek Mahoney sounded the final whistle, McGeeney's thoughts were already turning to just how best he would go about trying to get his walking wounded fit for the all-important Division Three showdown with Fermanagh on Sunday.

Since the start of the year, injuries have taken their toll on the Orchard County's playing resources to such an extent that against Derry, McGeeney was forced to pitch virtual unknowns from his bench into the fray.

His current list of injured personnel includes Joe McElroy (hamstring), Ethan Rafferty (knee), Paul Hughes (ankle ligaments), Aaron McKay (broken finger), Brendan Donaghy (hamstring) and Mark Shields (damaged ankle).

McElroy, Rafferty and Hughes all started against Derry but their participation in the contest ended before half-time.

Now McGeeney is left wondering just how many fully fit players he will have on duty for a clash with Fermanagh that could have a significant bearing on the outcome of the promotion race.

Armagh's injury woes come in the wake of the withdrawal of a number of experienced players from the panel including Jamie Clarke, Stefan Campbell, Shea Heffron, James Morgan, Oisin O'Neill, Ciaron O'Hanlon and Aidan Rushe.

An Armagh win would thrust them into pole position to go up but equally a Fermanagh victory would see them remain tucked in behind McGeeney's men.

And Westmeath are very much in the promotion equation following that stunning victory over the Ernemen.

They face what could prove to be a difficult assignment against neighbours Longford on Sunday before taking on Offaly.

Meanwhile, Tyrone's forward resources have been diminished now that Darren McCurry has withdrawn from the squad.

It is understood that work commitments have forced him to call time on his involvement with the Red Hands.

"There is a level of commitment that you have to give to county football and I feel that I'm not in a position to do that at the moment. I will concentrate on club activity for the rest of this season and I will review my situation after that," said McCurry.

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