Armagh v Cork Preview

Armagh and Cork will open their respective 2012 Allianz National League campaigns at the Morgan Athletic Grounds in Armagh on Sunday at 2.30pm.

The division 1 encounter will see defending champions Cork take on Armagh who will be hoping to improve on last year’s corresponding fixture after the Leesiders emerged victorious by 2-12 to 1-12.

Conor Counihan will welcome back Colm O’Neill for his first competitive outing in a Rebels jersey since injuring his cruciate in last year’s League campaign.

John Miskella (retired) and Daniel Goulding (injured) are two of only four changes to the Cork side that defeated Dublin in last year’s League final.

Meanwhile, Armagh must do without their Cross Maglen contingent on the panel with their All Ireland Club semi-final against Dr Crokes approaching later this month.

However the absence has presented other players with a valuable opportunity with Paul Carville and Eugene Mc Verry taking up the corner forward positions while John Kingham will line-out at midfield.

With Paul Hearty unavailable for selection, Niall Geoghan will retain his place in goal after the keeper impressed during the county’s run in the McKenna Cup.

Armagh will be aiming to improve on the 2011 league campaign which saw them narrowly avoiding relegation as a result of a superior head-to-head record with Monaghan.

However, the Orchard County will face a string of testing encounters which includes meetings with Cork and Kerry in the first two rounds followed by a trip to play Dublin in Croke Park in round 4.

For their own part, Cork have won the League for the last two years running and will go into this year’s campaign as favourites despite a disappointing display in last year’s championship.

Cork (SF v Armagh): K O’Halloran; R Carey, M Shields, E Cadogan; N O’Leary, G Canty, P Kissane; A O’Connor, P O’Neill; F Goold, P Kelly, C O’Driscoll; C O’Neill, D O’Connor, P Kerrigan.

Armagh (SF V Cork): N Geoghan; A Mallon, B Donaghy, D McKenna; P Duffy, C McKeever, F Moriarty; C Vernon, J Kingham; C Watters, K Dyas, A Duffy; P Carville, M Mackin, E McVerry.’

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