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Competition keeps Geoghegan keen

Niall Geoghegan is one of five goalkeepers in the Armagh squad, all of whom have their sights set on wearing the No 1 shirt against Donegal on Sunday.

Yet at the start of the year an injury threatened not only Geoghegan's involvement in the Allianz League but also his participation in the Ulster Championship.

But his commitment and resilience saw him make a sooner than expected recovery and manager Kieran McGeeney had no hesitation in restoring him to the side before the league moved into full swing.

However, while happy to have game time under his belt, schoolteacher Geoghegan (24) makes it plain that competition for places has seldom been as keen within the Orchard county squad.

"I think the players are very aware that, in terms of training, you can only take things session by session," says Geoghegan.

"Kieran McGeeney has made it clear that if you are playing well, you will be in the side. If you are not playing well, you won't - it's as simple as that."

It was in Armagh's first game of the year, a Dr McKenna Cup fixture against Tyrone, that the quiet-spoken, unassuming Geoghegan picked up his injury and missed the remainder of that competition as well as the opening Division Three league game against Tipperary.

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"I came back after that and, since then, I have been in and out of the team. I got to play in the last game in the league but you certainly cannot rest on your laurels in this Armagh side. Competition is extremely sharp and everyone obviously wants to get the chance to play against Donegal," points out Geoghegan.

As Ulster champions, Rory Gallagher's side will go into Sunday's game as favourites and while they will come to the Athletic Grounds boasting a strategy against which opposing teams invariably find it difficult to play, Geoghegan maintains that Armagh will be looking to their own strengths.

"We have to concentrate on how we perform ourselves and take things from there. Our aim at the start of the year was to win Division Three and we did that by beating Fermanagh at Croke Park in the final," he reflects.

"But this game against Donegal is a totally different proposition. Remember, we lost to them by a point in last year's All-Ireland quarter-final and, obviously, we would like to overturn that result this time round."

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