While Armagh GAA is looking forward to hosting this weekend’s Inter-provincial football championship in the Athletic Grounds, one Armagh man in particular is delighted to see the competition coming to the Orchard county. Aaron Findon from the St Peter’s club in Lurgan will make his debut for his province, following a call-up from Ulster manager, Pete McGrath.
Speaking to Armagh GAA in the lead-up to the game, Aaron said he was very proud and thankful to be asked to join the panel. “It’s a step I haven’t taken before and I’m really looking forward to playing alongside and putting myself up against some of Ireland’s best players. When I got the call, I couldn’t wait to get to the training session last Thursday to see what it was all about. I’m not too sure how many times I may get the chance to represent my province, so I’m going to make the most of the opportunity.”
While the GAA community seems to have mixed opinions on the relevance of the competition, the players enjoy taking part and representing their province. Aaron shared his thoughts on the competition.
“It is a good competition, but it probably doesn’t get the build up that it deserves. You get to look at a lot of good players in matches where they maybe aren’t restrained by the modern county tactics. It also has a lot of variables to contend with, like county teams, clubs, holidays, guys maybe resting injuries etc; all of which potentially hinder participation levels. Having said that, it’s a very historic competition and a lot of past-players have great respect for the Railway Cup. It offers players another opportunity to progress and an Interprovincial medal is very much something I would like to have on my mantelpiece for years to come.”
This year’s competition will be played over the one weekend, with Newry’s Páirc Esler hosting the semi-final between Laighean and Mumhan at 4pm on Saturday and the Athletic Grounds hosting the other semi-final between Uladh and Connacht at 7pm. The final will take place in Armagh at 2.30pm on Sunday.
Last year’s final saw Connacht easily defeat Ulster in the final 2-19 to 1-7 to bridge a 45 year gap from their last success. Ulster will be looking to claim their 32nd championship and their third in four years, but how does Aaron feel about this year’s competition.
“Personally, I have only met Pete McGrath a few times and he seems fairly relaxed, so I’m sure this will be something that he wants us to bring to the field. However, that doesn’t mean that we won’t bring intensity or physicality to the games. That is something that we would all have in the locker. However, Pete has told us that he has some of the best players in Ulster in the one room and he doesn’t want to restrict them. Hopefully, we put on a show for the supporters and change a few opinions on how Ulster teams and footballers can play the game.”
With a feast of football in store, Armagh GAA is looking forward to welcome supporters to the Athletic Grounds over the weekend. With Aaron joined by Crossmaglen’s Tony Kernan, we encourage Armagh’s supporters to get behind the Ulster team and to extend a warm welcome to the other provinces. Entry to the game is just £4 with U16s free of charge or you can buy a special competition ticket to cover the two semi-finals in Newry and Armagh and the final in Armagh for just £8. The games in the Athletic Grounds will also be broadcast live on Linwoods’ Armagh TV at www.armaghgaa.net/armaghtv. Beidh fáilte mhór romhat sa Pháirc Lúthchleasa an deireadh seachtaine seo. Ádh mór ar Aaron, ar Tony agus ar Uladh. Ádh mór fosta ar Conor Corvan agus ar iománaithe Uladh thiar i nGaillimh. Best wishes to Aaron, Tony and Ulster and also to Conor Corvan and the Ulster hurlers who travel to Galway to play Connacht on Saturday.
Ulster: Niall McKeever (Aontroim), Aaron Findon, Tony Kernan (Ard Mhacha), Raymond Galligan, Gearóid McKiernan (An Cabhán), Chrissy McKaigue, Brendan Rodgers (Doire), Conor Laverty, Kevin McKernan, Donal O’Hare, Mark Poland (An Dún), Tomás Corrigan, Eoin Donnelly, Captaen, Barry Mulrone, Sean Quigley (Fear Manach), Dessie Mone, Karl O’Connell, Colin Walshe, Drew Wylie (Muineachán), Colm Cavanagh, Seán Cavanagh, Mattie Donnelly, Peter Harte, Niall Morgan (Tír Eoghain)
Connacht: Damien Comer, Danny Cummins, Fiontán Ó Curraoin, Gareth Bradshaw, Gary O’Donnell, Gary Sice, Liam Silke, Paul Conroy, Paul Varley (Gaillimh), Cathal Shine, Ciarán Murtagh, Darren O’Malley, Diarmuid Murtagh, Neil Collins, Sean McDermott (Ros Comáin), Chris Barrett, Captain, Conor O’Shea, Jason Doherty, Neil Douglas (Maigh Eo), Eoin Flanagan, Kevin McDonnell, Pat Hughes (Sligeach), Kevin Conlon (Liatroim)
Munster: Aidan O’Mahony, captain, Dáithí Casey, Conor Cox, Alan Fitzgerald, Fionn Fitzgerald, Mark Griffin, Brendan Kealy, Paul Murphy, Gary O’Sullivan (Ciarraí), Eoin Cadogan, James Loughrey, Brian O’Driscoll, Kevin O’Driscoll (Corcaigh), Seanie Buckley, Ian Corbett, Pa Ranahan, Brian Scanlon (Luimneach), Peter Acheson, Steven O’Brien, Michael Quinlivan (Tiobraid Árann), Gary Brennan, Jamie Malone (An Clár), Thomas O’Gorman, Paul Whyte (Port Láirge)
Leinster: Pádraig Rath (An Lú), Eoghan O’Flaherty, Pádraig O’Neill, Cathal McNally, Tommy Moolick, Ollie Lyons (Cill Dara), Ray Connellan, Kieran Martin, Paul Sharry, John Heslin (An Iarmhí), Donie Kingston, Evan O Carroll (Laois), John Maloney, Graham Guilfoyle, Alan Mulhall, Niall McNamee (Uíbh Fhailí), Dean Healy (Cill Mhantáin), Brian Malone (Loch Garman), Stephen Bray, Donal Keoghan, Graham Reilly (An Mhí), Daniel St Ledger (Ceatharlach), Barry Gilleran, Paddy Collum (Longfort)