Armagh v Mayo Allianz Football League Prediction & Preview
Armagh v Mayo in division one of the National League is the second game of the TV double header this Sunday and it promises to be a great game.
Mayo will be heading to Armagh in search of their first victory in this year’s National League following a tightly fought draw against Galway last weekend. Armagh on the other hand will be looking to back up their opening-round win against Monaghan with a victory at home.
You can check out everything you need to know for the big game below!
Fixture: Armagh v Mayo
When? 3.30pm, Sunday, February 5th
Where? Athletic Grounds, Armagh
TV Channel? TG4
Armagh v Mayo Preview
Armagh were one of the surprise packages of gaelic football in 2022. First, they took division one of the league by storm with an opening round victory over Dublin at Croke Park which they followed up with an impressive league campaign.
In the end, Armagh finished third in the league table and put themselves on the map as a team to be reckoned with come Championship.
And what a Championship it was for the Orchard County. They were beaten by Donegal in their opening game of the Ulster Championship but bounced back spectacularly against Tryone with a six point victory against the then reigning All-Ireland champions.
They then went on to avenge their loss to Donegal in a 10-point trashing before Galway finally knocked them out at the All-Ireland quarter-final stage on penalties.
It was a mixed bag in preseason for Armagh with a win and a loss from their two games. The first round of the league saw them hit the road and beat provincial rivals Monaghan by two points which will have this team full of confidence heading into this clash with Mayo at home.
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Mayo will be hoping to bounce back from a very disappointing 2022 season with a strong spring in 2023. The westerners in fact had a brilliant National League in 2022 all the way up until the final. Prior to the decider against Kerry this Mayo side looked perfectly poised for a great Championship.
However, once the ball was thrown in for the league final things began to go awry. Kerry put them to the sword that day as they cruised their way to a 15-point demolition in Croke Park.
Mayo struggled to get any momentum back when the Championship started. Galway were the opposition in the first round and despite a valiant comeback they were beaten by a point in Castlebar.
So-so performances in the qualifiers were good enough to get past Monaghan and later Kildare which would set James Horan’s men up with a rematch against Kerry in the quarter-finals of the All-Ireland series.
The Kingdom once again proved that they were a class apart and so Mayo’s championship ambitions ended with an 8-point defeat.
It has been a promising start to the year for Mayo under new manager Kevin McStay. The team were able to win the FBD League, Connacht’s preseason tournament, for the first time in 11 years. The opening round of the National League saw Galway arrive in Castlebar for a derby game.
A tense game followed and at the full-time whistle both sides would have to settle for a draw. McStay’s side would be much the happier of the two teams with the result given Ryan O’Donoghue’s equaliser at the death.
In the first TV game this Sunday Kerry and Monaghan go head-to-head and you can check out our betting preview for Kerry v Monaghan here.
Key Players To Watch
Ethan Rafferty (Armagh)
Just how good is this guy?! Rafferty was sensational in the league opener against Monaghan.
He might be listed as the goalkeeper but the description of ‘Quarterback’ or ‘Point Guard’ would be a more fitting appraisal of Rafferty’s effect on the game.
The Armagh ‘keeper came out from his goal at one point during the Monaghan game and kicked a fantastic point from open play. This was far from his only involvement out the field as he also picked out passes into the full-forward line to set up scores on more than one occasion.
Ryan O’Donoghue (Mayo)
The Belmullet man is quickly becoming Mayo’s premier forward. Moments like last week’s brilliant equalising point at the end of added time against Galway remind us just how talented of a player O’Donoghue is.
He had six points in total last Saturday evening with four of those coming from frees. If the rest of this Mayo team can provide a high quality of ball into the corner forward then the Armagh full-back line could be in for a long evening.
Rian O’Neill (Armagh)
O’Neill is a classy full-forward, one of the very best in the country that will cause this Mayo defence a lot of trouble. The Armagh ace inspired the county’s comeback in the All-Ireland quarter-final last year with a fantastic catch to set up a goal before later scoring the point of the Championship from 55+ metres out to force extra-time.
The full-forward was snubbed of an all-star award for his incredible 2022 campaign and is off to a strong start in 2023 with a five point effort against Monaghan in the league opener.
James Carr (Mayo)
You watch this guy play sometimes and you wonder how he’s not one of the biggest gaelic football stars in the country. Carr flashes all the talent in the world at times but he has struggled to consistently put together good performances to really nail down his place in this side.
Last Saturday’s spectacular goal against Galway was more evidence of how dangerous he can be when he gets running at a defence. You will have to look long and hard to find a better goal scored on a gaelic pitch than that one. Carr should now be full of confidence going into this game against Armagh.
Armagh v Mayo Head-to-Head Results
Mayo 0-15 Armagh 1-10 | 2022 National League
Mayo 2-13 Armagh 1-15 | 2019 All-Ireland Qualifiers
Armagh 0-11 Mayo 1-14 | 2012 National League
Mayo have won each of the previous three most recent meetings between these two counties. However, the last two games came right down to the wire with only a point and then two points separating the sides on those occasions.
Armagh v Mayo Betting Odds
Our odds makers have these teams as neck-and-neck. Armagh are the very slight favourites to come out on top at odds of evens.
Mayo can be had at 6/5 in the betting which makes them slight underdogs and the draw is 6/1 if you fancy that there will be nothing between the two teams at the full-time whistle.
Armagh v Mayo Prediction & Best Bet
I fancy Armagh to win this one which is a hard thing to say as a Mayo man.
This Mayo side is not at full strength with the likes of captain Paddy Durcan and star forward Tommy Conroy missing.
Add into the mix that there’s a new management set up who are still experimenting with things to see how they want this team to look come later in the year and I find it hard to make a great case for Mayo in this one.
Armagh on the other hand looked to be a much better side than Mayo in last season’s Championship, played well last weekend in a win against Monaghan and have home advantage in this game.
Prediction: Armagh 2-10 Mayo 1-12
Best Bet: Armagh HT-FT @ 11/5
*Prices subject to fluctuation