Armagh hurlers opened their season recently by competing in the annual Conor McGurk tournament at Queens. Armagh were drawn against Down and University of Ulster with both matches played at the Dub.
The first game against An Dún on Tuesday evening finished in disappointment for the Orchard side, who were chasing the game right from the off after a very early Down goal. Armagh did hurl their way back into the game, but Down showed no let up on the scoring front and went in ahead at half time 2-15 to 2-6. An Dún continued their scoring spree in the second period with points flying over and a third goal ensuring they would claim an easy win on a scoreline of 3-30 to 2-16.
On Saturday, an under-strength Armagh side traveled back to the same venue to take on a strong University of Ulster team. The game which ultimately finished 0-12 to 1-8 to the university side saw some great defending from both sides. Scores were traded in the first half with the sides level on four occasions, before a Danny Magee goal pushed Armagh ahead. At half time, Armagh held a 1-4 to 0-6 lead and with Conor Corvan hitting his fifth point early in the second, Armagh looked set to push on. However, the students produced a dominant spell hitting six consecutive points to push them well ahead. Points from Corvan, Dean Gaffney and Niall Strain left a grandstand finish, but the university side just held out to claim a narrow victory. Armagh, however, will take some encouragement from a good performance with a depleted team and will continue their preparations for their Division 2A campaign, which gets underway with a home game against Cill Dara on Sunday 12 February.