Tough opener for Armagh in League

PAIRC Tailteann in Navan will be the venue for Armagh's first league game of the season.

And Saturday’s encounter with Meath in division two of the NFL will be a tough test for Paddy O’Rourke’s side.

Ironically Leinster teams will provide the opposition for Armagh’s first four games in the league.

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On Sunday week the county will host Westmeath with a short break in proceedings before a trip to O’Moore Park to play Laois.

On March 14 Kieran McGeeney’s Kildare team will travel to Crossmaglen, followed by the biggest game of Armagh’s league campaign - the trip across the canal to face rivals Down in Newry, a game which could see a huge crowd.

Armagh will expect to take both points when playing host to newly promoted Tipperary on March 28 before they make the trip for the final game against Donegal in Ballybofey.

With the Championship still the main aim, Paddy O’Rourke will, however, be anxious to get a settled side in place during the league.

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Captain Ciaran McKeever is on the mend but will be unlikely to play in the first game of the competition, which will almost certainly result in Brendan Donaghy’s retention of the number six shirt for the time being.

The return of Ronan Clarke during the McKenna Cup has been a major positive for the Orchard set-up and the introduction of Stevie McDonnell against Fermanagh in the same competition allowed supporters to see a glimpse of his skill and craft - attributes which will be crucially important if Armagh are to take anything from Navan on Saturday.

The ground itself has not held happy memories for Armagh in the last few seasons, a trend which Paddy O’Rourke will be determined to overcome.

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