Sports

All is not lost Armagh!

Thursday, 16 February 2017

AS the game against Laois ended last Sunday, I saw the pain of dejection of both players and management as they left the field.

Also, as I left the ground, I felt the pain of dejection in the faces of Armagh supporters as they left the ground to make their way home.

An encouraging pre-season had left the management, players and supporters of Armagh encouraged and full of hope and expectation for the season ahead.

Defeat in their opening two games, from positions where victory looked assured, has generated a feeling that 'all is lost' for the future.

A look at the current NFL Division 3 league table suggests that all is not lost.

 

P Pts SD

Louth 2 4 13

Sligo 2 3 1

Offaly 2 2 8

Longford 2 2 4

Tipperary 2 2 4

Laois 2 2 -11

Armagh 2 1 -1

Antrim 2 0 -18

 

Prior to Sunday's fixtures, Louth, Tipperary, Armagh and Antrim were forecast to beat Longford, Sligo, Laois and Offaly respectively.

Surprisingly only Louth honoured their 'forecast' in a narrow one point victory. So anything is possible in this division.

Thus, if Armagh can target and achieve victory in their next three games against Longford (away), Offaly (home) and Louth (away) they possibly then can be free from relegation fears. If so, this would allow them in their last two games, both at home against Tipperary and Antrim to target victories again which can secure one of the two promotion places available.

A fanciful dream or a challenge that is worth going for to achieve. This squad for me, is developing not stagnating. With faith in themselves, Armagh, going forward, must think 'I'm possible', not 'impossible'.

Supporters won't give up so why should the team.

There were surprising results across the four divisions at the weekend. Tyrone had a hard fought draw with a misfiring Dublin, Mayo's eclipse of Kerry, Eoin McHugh's late score which finally saw Donegal edge out Roscommon while Monaghan and Cavan fought out a ritual, attritional low-scoring draw. With the first three games throwing up surprises, results to date show Dublin, Tyrone and Monaghan vying for the top two spots as Kerry, Mayo and Donegal, each one point behind, each have two directions to decide on.

The one they want to avoid viz... relegation as Cavan and Roscommon cut loose as the bottom two candidates and looking likely to stay there.

In Division 2, Clare's defeat to Down (by six points), Kildare's defeat of Cork and Meath's heavy defeat of Down, each caused surprise but there was more disappointment of Fermanagh's home defeat to Galway.

Results to date show that last season's Division 3 promoted pairing of Kildare and Clare lead the promotion charge accompanied by Galway, Fermanagh and Meath, who sit in mid-table with envious eyes on the top positions.

In the basement battle, Ulster giants Derry and Down are embroiled in a relegation dog-fight early on and both will hope to send Cork down with their in trouble Ulster neighbour.

In Division 4, two of the four 'Ws' sit clear at the top, Waterford and Seamus 'Banty' McEnaeney's Wexford, but they are closely followed by Westmeath and Leitrim.

Already it looks, especially with Carlow losing to London, that two of these four will be promoted.

A bleak weekend it was for Ulster, as its nine teams returned one win (Donegal), three draws and five defeats.

There is now a break in the National League with the next games scheduled for Saturday and Sunday week.

Armagh's next game is a tricky one away to an always stubborn Longford side at Pearse Stadium.

Only a point separates them in the table in 4th place and 7th place respectively. A win there could project Armagh back to the fringe of promotion.

As we only lose if we don't try, I'm sure Armagh will give their all on the day.

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