Monaghan v Armagh, Saturday, 7 pm, Clones
This is easily the big game of the weekend in the qualifiers. Monaghan will welcome Armagh to Clones on Saturday at 7 pm. The winners will progress to the next round while the losers will exit the championship.
This will be a tough game for Monaghan although they are on home soil. Monaghan lost out in Ulster to Cavan by four points, 1-13 to 0-12. That was a disappointing performance. They responded in the first round of the qualifiers beating Fermanagh 1-10 to 1-06. Malachy O’Rourke will look to Ryan Wylie, Karl O’Connell and Kieran Duffy in defence. In attack players like Conor McManus, Conor McCarthy, and Jack McCarron.
Armagh have had an unlucky season to be fair. They could have easily promoted in the league. They have played three games in the championship to date. They beat Down after extra time in the quarter-final 2-17 to 3-13, before drawing with Cavan in the Ulster semi-final which meant the game went to a replay. Armagh lost the replay by six points, 0-23 to 0-17. Kieran McGeeney will look to players like Charlie Vernon, James Morgan and Aidan Forker in defence. Jarlath Og Burns has had an excellent championship and will line out in midfield once again. Rian O’Neill and Jamie Clarke (who incidentally transferred to Neasden Gaels in London this week from Crossmaglen) will be key players for the Orchard men in the attack.
Previous Championship Meetings
They meet in the championship for the first time since 2014. Monaghan won that day on a scoreline of 1-18 to 0-13 in a replay, after they drew 0-14 each.
2014 Monaghan 1-18 Armagh 0-13
2014 Monaghan 0-14 Armagh 0-14
Monaghan are 4/7 to win this game, while Armagh are 7/4 to come out on top. The draw is 15/2. I think Monaghan will win this by a couple of points, Monaghan -2 in the handicap betting at odds of 6/5 look good.