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Armagh SFC – ‘Nab can bounce back

Silverbridge v Sarsfields

(Sunday, Pearse Og, 1.30pm)

DESPITE being relegated from Senior A, Silverbridge have produced a couple of super performances this season and the latest of those came last week when they left Abbey Park with a 1-19 to 4-8 win over Armagh Harps.

In theory that has led to a much easier play-off fixture with the ‘Bridge now firm favourites to beat Sarsfields whereas they would have been big underdogs against Ballymacnab had they lost last weekend.

They had been trailing Harps by six points with 15 minutes remaining but won the rest of the match on a 1-7 to 0-2 scoreline. Paddy Reel grabbed their goal while Peter Carragher was a colossus from midfield throughout.

Sarsfields, meanwhile, took advantage of some Clann Eireann indiscipline to grab the draw that guaranteed a play-off spot on scoring difference.

Kieran Robinson’s side had trailed by three points at the break but with Paul McKeown very effective up front, they were able to stay in the match. When their opponents went down to 13 players, they drew level to grab that valuable point.

The High Moss men probably deserved to make the play-offs after decent performances against Ballymacnab and, in particular, Crossmaglen.

They will have no fear of Senior A opposition then in the form of Silverbridge men, but the south Armagh men should progress.

Verdict: Silverbridge

Madden v Killeavy

(Sunday, Crossmaglen, 3.30pm)

KILLEAVY’S disappointing loss to Cullyhanna last weekend means that they have now lost four of their last five games in all competitions.

Johnny McKevitt and Justin McNulty’s side need to find some form fast, because this by no means an easy task.

Their meekness against Cullyhanna was very surprising given that they have been such a game team over the last few years.

Their opponents were bigger and that physicality was evident across the field. Madden, likewise, are a bigger team than Killeavy and will aim to follow Cullyhanna’s lead.

The Raparees will be happy enough with Crossmaglen as a venue too. Killeavy’s defensive gameplan works better on tight pitches but there will be room for those lines to be stretched if Madden are clever enough.

They weren’t at their best against Annaghmore last weekend however. Although they won, Maghery’s hammering of Dromintee ruled out the possibility of them winning the group.

Kyle Morgan, who finished with four points, excelled against Annaghmore while Niall Smith grabbed their goal in the 1-16 to 1-11 win.

Niall Grimley and Liam Grimley will likely spend some time trying to expose Killeavy’s full-back line, and if they don’t get any joy there then the season could come to an end.

Verdict: Killeavy

Armagh Harps v Ballymacnab

(Sunday, Pearse Og, 3.30pm)

WHILE Ballymacnab can in no way claim that they were the better team in their 3-15 to 2-12 loss to Crossmaglen last weekend, that doesn’t mean that they left Oliver Plunkett Park free of regret.

Those would have revolved around the three goals conceded. The first arrived inside 10 seconds as they were bullied at the throw-in.

That was the catalyst for a 1-7 scoring burst from the Rangers with Bernie Murray’s side struggling to get the ball past halfway.

They improved considerably either side of half-time and had the deficit back to four points and were looking capable of getting even closer. Then disaster struck.

First a harmless enough ball was fielded by Mel Boyce and he was able to collect, turn and blast past three players to the net. The resulting kick-out then went to Kyle Carragher who finished cleverly.

Armagh Harps led Silverbridge by six points heading into the final quarter with Caolan McQuaid, Rory McGrath, Joe McElroy and Tom O’Kane all hitting goals.

From there on in though Silverbridge dominated with the home side’s hopes not helped by Conor White’s second yellow card in the eventual 4-8 to 1-19 loss.

This is perhaps the pick of the play-offs and if the ‘Nab can cut out the silly mistakes then they can take their place in the last eight.

Verdict: Ballymacnab

Cullyhanna v Dromintee

(Monday, Silverbridge, 8pm)

BOTH these teams had big results last weekend, and for differing reasons.

Cullyhanna had underwhelmed before round three. They struggled against a limited Culloville outfit before they were beaten at home by Pearse Og.

They then travelled to Killeavy for what was, on paper, their most difficult game and came away with a 1-12 to 1-5 win.

Reliable free-taker Aidan Nugent managed seven points while Kieran Hoey got their goal to get their campaign back on track.

Dromintee, by contrast, had started the campaign well as they earned a hard-fought win in Annaghmore and then defeated Madden following a very good performance.

They travelled on Maghery last Saturday aware that it was a difficult challenge but one they felt they could overcome.

Ninety minutes later they were trying to pick through a 15-point loss that dropped them from potential group winners to third place in the table.

County men Aaron Boyle and Darren McKenna didn’t start again, nor did Cathal McKenna, Gareth Kilgallon or Peadar O’Hare. Most of those look set to miss out again while John Molloy and Keven McLellan are unavailable.

Cullyhanna have welcomed Pearse Casey back again and Malachy Mackin in nets, Ciaran McKeever, Barry McConville and Eugene Casey bring plenty of experience. They will aim to impose themselves on a youthful Dromintee. That worked very well against an inexperienced Killeavy outfit and they should repeat the trick here.

Verdict: Cullyhanna

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