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06th Apr 2022

Armagh face almost impossible task against Donegal as four key players are suspended

Lee Costello

Donegal have two players suspended.

Donegal beat Armagh in the last round of the Allianz National League, a win which saw Declan Bonner’s side secure their place in Divsion One for next season.

The Orchard County had already secured their future at the top table, but could have won a place in the League Final had things gone their way.

After the final whistle was blown, a melee broke out between the two teams, including substitutes who had not played, and although there were no sending offs, the consensus was that suspensions would be handed out after a review.

Donegal were hit with two suspensions, as Neil McGee and Odhran McFadden-Ferry have received one-match bans, meaning that they will miss the Ulster Championship opener against – you guessed it – Armagh.

Kieran McGeeney’s side had three players issued with suspensions, meaning that Aidan Nugent, Ciaran Mackin and Stefan Campbell will also miss the Ulster clash.

However, unlike Donegal, Armagh opted to appeal against these suspensions, something which seems to have backfired on them horribly.

As it stands, not only would the initial bans be upheld, but Rian O’Neill will also be banned, due to his involvement in the incident.

This is an enormous blow, as O’Neill has been the talisman for his county this season, with stand out performances against Dublin and Tyrone in particular.

The Crossmaglen man is at the heart of everything that this side do whether he’s leading the line at 14, or dropping back into centre-half forward to pull the strings there.

Although Donegal will miss Odhran McFadden-Ferry, the fact of the matter is that Neil McGee had seen very little game time as it is, and probably wouldn’t have played a big role in the championship tie anyway.

In comparison, it is definitely Armagh who will struggle to replace those handed suspensions, and it is a serious uphill battle for the county as they had ambitions of pushing on in Ulster this season following a successful league campaign.

It is likely that Armagh will now further appeal O’Neill’s suspension.

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