BY STEPHEN RICHARDSON
ARMAGH City will be hoping to take maximum points against visitors Moyola Park at Holm Park this Saturday.
But the middle-of-the-table side from Castledawson will certainly be no pushovers! In fact, Park will arrive full of confidence and on the crest of a wave after beating Ballymoney United 6-1 last weekend!
In the last Championship Two encounter between Armagh and Moyola, during the middle of September, City just came out on top with a solitary score. But the Holm Park outfit had to weather a second-half storm to win that clash and another close encounter is envisaged again this weekend.
After losing three league matches recently, City reversed the trend last Saturday when they defeated Killymoon Rangers 5-1.
Although bossing that match, Armagh found it difficult to break down one of the lesser lights in the Belfast Telegraph Championship Two. But a strong second-half showing – along with some long overdue good fortune – resulted in City deservedly running out winners.
The outcome of this Saturday’s match, however, is vital to City, as they try and defend their current runners-up spot in the championship, as both Ballyclare Comrades and Lurgan Celtic close in.
Armagh, however, can take some comfort from the form of several of their players.
Midfielder/attacker Philip Donnelly was very effective against Killymoon and he rounded off a stylish display with a score. Ultan Lennon was also outstanding in the heart of the City defence, alongside stalwart Johnny Walker who also scored last weekend.
The pacy Gareth Grimley created all sorts of inroads against Killymoon and, with more composure, could have scored a bagful in recent weeks. Club captain Liam Cullen is having a superb season and his influence in midfield could be crucial this weekend.
There will be several players vying to play alongside him in this vital clash, with Shea McGerrigan, Gavin Cusack, Paul Carville, Eamon Kelly, Donnelly and Grimley all in the frame.
Dale Montgomery, Matthew Hynds and Ryan McGerrigan played particularly well after coming on as second-half subs against Killymoon and they will also be pushing for starting places against Moyola.
Defender Dara Noonan was missing from last week’s line-up and, if available, he may also warrant a start. Armagh were without striker Stephen Murray last weekend and, it is understood, he will not be available this Saturday either. Young Barry Quinn stepped in and battled well throughout against Killymoon and scored in the process. He may well stake a claim for the spot once again.
However, all the selection decisions will fall to manager Marty Rice before this vital clash.
The Armagh City v Moyola Park Belfast Telegraph Championship Two encounter will kick-off this Saturday, March 2, at 3pm in Holm Park, Armagh.