By Shaun Casey
AT the start of the season, Armagh fans may have been targeting Roscommon as a guaranteed two points, but things have changed dramatically following the opening two rounds.
Roscommon are flying high at the top of Division One, a single point ahead of the Orchard County, and are in a rich vein of form.
The element of surprise that Davy Burke’s men may have held in the first two games, which ended in wins over Tyrone and Galway, is most certainly gone now.
Armagh coach Kieran Donaghy is under no illusions of the challenge they face this weekend, as they walk into the lion’s den.
“Roscommon have been a good team over the last few years; we have had a few tough battles with them as well,” noted the Kerry native. “Every game is exciting to go into, when you’re on the road, you’re trying to dig something out away from home.
“When you’re at home you’re playing with the crowd in behind you. I don’t think it has ever been easy down there anyway, even from my own playing days.
“They’re going to have a big atmosphere, they’re top of the league, they’re a very proud footballing county, and they’ll turn up in big numbers, but you’d be hoping you have a good few Armagh fans going down, and you have another great game.
“It’s a great surface down there; we played Mayo there last year at a similar time of the year. So, hopefully the weather is decent enough, and we get another good day out.”
Following Armagh’s last gasp draw with Mayo in round two, they now go on the road for the next two games. Sunday’s journey west is followed by a trip to Tralee six days later to take on the reigning All-Ireland champions.
It’s a tough two weeks for Kieran McGeeney’s side, who have gathered three-points and remain unbeaten after the opening two rounds.
“There’s really good momentum in the county at the moment, and we really want to keep that going, and a loss (against Mayo) might have been a bit deflating for us, after a good result away from home in the first week (against Monaghan).
“Roscommon are after getting another close win (over Galway), so they’re going to be very tough in two weeks’ time down in the Hyde,” added Donaghy.
“They have serious momentum, and a new management team, and they’re obviously getting a bounce off of that. I saw them against Tyrone, and they look really strong, really fit, and like a team who put in a very good pre-season.
“The two away games are obviously going to be tough back-to-back, but I think why most of us enjoy watching this league is because it is so competitive.
“Every week, you’re not sure who is going to wins these games. It’s going to be a tough trip to the Hyde now, and we’ll take that game first, we won’t worry about the one after just yet.”
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