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Injuries still big worry with McGeeney eyeing Erne showdown

By John Campbell

The ongoing disruption to his squad caused by injuries remains a source of concern to Armagh manager Kieran McGeeney as promotion to Division Two becomes more of a probability than a possibility.

His team may remain unbeaten after five outings, but their latest victory which came at the expense of Derry was accompanied by yet more setbacks.

Within 15 minutes of the start of the orchard county's 1-15 to 0-14 win at the Athletic Grounds, a clearly distressed Ethan Rafferty and the equally unfortunate Joe McElroy had been helped from the playing arena leaving McGeeney to once again reorganise his forces.

That his team streaked through the second half after having been in arrears at the break (0-8 to 1-4) to further enhance their promotion claims provided McGeeney with considerable comfort that is, however, liberally tinged with realism.

And that realism has its roots in what he views as Fermanagh's hunger to come good again when the sides meet following their surprising lapse against Westmeath yesterday.

"We seem to be picking up injuries all the time with different people out on an ongoing basis," reflected McGeeney, "We face an very tough challenge against Fermanagh next Sunday, that's for sure."

Andrew Murnin's 16th minute goal appeared to have ignited an Armagh cavalry charge, but Derry had other ideas with Mark Lynch and James Kielt sharing the scoring load as their side nosed in front before their hosts turned up the heat after the break.

Skipper Rory Grugan brought his haul to 0-6, Murnin complemented his goal with a brace of points and Aidan Forker was the heartbeat of the Armagh side.

Yesterday the Ernesiders trailed Westmeath by 0-7 to 0-2 at the interval and although they subsequently showed commendable effort and drive , they still lost by 0-14 to 1-9.

Eamon Maguire looked to have steadied the Erne ship when he scored the only goal of the game but John Heslin's accuracy from frees sustained Westmeath's push to claim a significant scalp.

Fermanagh's cause was not helped when Cian McManus was sent off in a game to which there was a distinct competitive edge.

Seamus Quigley, Barry Mulrone, Ciaran Corrigan and Maguire did their best to keep Fermanagh in contention but Westmeath finished strongly.

And there was disappointment for Monaghan too who fell to Galway by 0-17 to 1-10. Kieran Hughes scored Monaghan's goal but the red card incurred by Fintan Kelly proved a major blow at the end of the day.

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