Armagh visit Drogheda on Sunday afternoon knowing that a victory over neighbours Louth is essential to maintain ambitions of a swift return to Division 2 of the Allianz National Football League.
To return from the Wee County with no additional points, will see Armagh realistically hanging on to the slimmest hope of a berth in the Division 3 Final in early April, whilst a first victory over Louth in Drogheda since 1995 opens the doors of possibilities in a game which gives the Orchard County the opportunity to continue to bloom after the striking success just days ago over Offaly.
Louth will endeavour to enhance a perfect record in this section, having won four on the bounce to set a pace that Armagh, Tipperary and Sligo are envious of in a fascinating battle.
Their manager Colin Kelly has built consistency in a team seeking a second successive promotion. That consistency has certainly bred success to date as twelve players have started each of their four games so far and minimal changes will be expected for this game.
Although the side have had fifteen different scorers, Ryan Burns from Huntetstown Rovers has continued to enhance his reputation in registering an impressive 3-13 to date and will require the attention of the Armagh defence to lessen the hopes of a home victory.
Armagh have found that each of the past two games against Longford and Offaly have been must win but will have taken great heart from victories and an explosive performance against the Faithful County last time out.
Whilst Louth will undoubtedly provide a stern challenge, Armagh will believe that Stefan Campbell et al. in their forward line can continue to carve out and execute opportunities to further the development of this young team.
Whilst Louth have been consistent in their team selections, Armagh have had only six starters in all games to date and have given valuable game time to 28 players already in the NFL.
The outcome of this encounter could be far reaching for the remainder of the season. For Louth, a first home win over Armagh since 1977 will leave them on the cusp of promotion. For Armagh, being the highest goalscorers in the country will count for nothing if they cannot sufficiently pierce a mean Louth rearguard who have only conceded one major score.
Armagh’s last away game in this section gives supporters the opportunity to make a relatively short trip to encourage our heroes. There is no better way to blow the cobwebs away after St. Patrick’s Day then to head to Drogheda on Sunday for a game which promises to be much more than a local derby!