Armagh hurlers are again on the road this Saturday as they travel to Dublin to take on Fingal, with the winners guaranteed a place in the Nicky Rackard All-Ireland Hurling Final.
Armagh were made to work hard all the way against a dogged Longford side to reach the semi-final stage, having availed of the ‘backdoor’ qualifier. This followed a defeat away to Mayo in the second round, that after a nervy win against Donegal on the opening day of the competition. Fingal, meanwhile, got over Longford in the first round before scraping through to the semi-final with a two point win over Monaghan in the second round, giving them a safe and direct passage to this weekend’s semi-final.
The Orchard hurlers will go into Saturday’s game knowing that a win will give them a chance at redemption for last year’s cruel final defeat against Roscommon, but Armagh will not be looking beyond the Fingal challenge. The Dubliners have put up big scores in the Nicky Rackard so far, 2-19 against Monaghan and 3-21 against Longford, and a big performance will be required if Armagh are to have any chance this weekend. In the Fingal frontline, John Michael Sheridan is a class forward and he will punish any defensive indiscretions with his accurate free-taking.
Armagh will be looking to the likes of Artie McGuinness, a regular on the Gaelic Life team of the week this year, to fend off the Fingal challenge and will be hoping that Declan Coulter, Conor Corvan and Ryan Gaffney can continue with their recent scoring returns. A big performance from Stephen Renaghan and John Corvan, as well as a return of team captain, Cahal Carvill, should also provide a big boost for the Orchard side. If Armagh play to their abilities on Saturday, they should possess too much for the Dublin side and all being well, Armagh will make a similar journey on Saturday fortnight.
Guíonn muid gach rath ar imreoirí agus ar fhoireann bhainistíochta Ard Mhacha ar an Satharn. We wish the players, their manager Sylvester McConnell, his management team and the back room team the very best of luck on Saturday. Ard Mhacha abú.