Early start for Armagh hurlers in Conor McGurk tournament
Armagh hurlers got their season up and running in the Conor McGurk tournament, which is organised by Queen’s University.
The opening game saw a big win against Longford on Sunday in the Peacelink facility in Clones. The Orchard hurlers were much too strong for the midlanders and two goals from Danny Magee and one from Glenn McKeown, who was celebrating his birthday, saw Armagh take a 3-6 to 1-2 lead at half time. And whilst Armagh could only manage a further five points, including one from Seán Óg McGuinness on his senior debut, Armagh were never in any danger of losing this game. A Longford goal with the last poc of the ball reduced the final margin to Ard Mhacha 3-11 Longfort 2-4.
Ard Mhacha: Paddy Kelly, Paddy Quinn, Stephen Renaghan, David Grant, David Bridges, Artie McGuinness, Barry Shortt, Glenn McKeown, Liam McIlroy, Odhrán McCann, Mark McClatchey, Tiarnán O’Neill, Joe O’Connor, Eoin McGuinness, Danny Magee.
Ionadaithe: Seán Óg McGuinness, Matthew Rafferty, Mickey Garvey, Stephen O’Keefe, Paddy Garvey
Armagh then travelled to the Dub to play an Antrim side, buoyed by an impressive win over Meath at the weekend. Antrim hit the ground running, taking a 1-8 to 0-2 lead after 15 miniutes, as Armagh unsurprisingly were trying to get up to the pace of the game after the referee wouldn’t allow the visitors time to warm up. Armagh did rally with a couple of good scores, but Antrim hit another three pointer before the whistle to bring the sides in at 2-11 to 0-8 at half time. After an extended half time period, Armagh started well with a few good scores and a superbly finished goal by Ruairí Convery to bring the margin down to six. Scores were traded in the final ten minutes of the game and an unfortunate late own-goal put an added gloss to the scoreline. Ard Mhacha 1-14 Aontroim 3-18
Ard Mhacha: Fintan Woods, Paddy Quinn, Ciaran Clifford, Glenn McKeown, Barry Shortt, Stephen Renaghan, Connor Devlin, Fionntán Donnelly, Paddy McBride, Eoin McGuinness, Nathan Curry, Tiarnán O’Neill, Dean Gaffney, Mark McClatchey, Danny Magee.
Ionadaithe: Kieran McKernan, Ruairí Convery, Oisín Keenan, David Grant, Odhrán McCann
Armagh will be pleased with their early progress in the McGurk Cup, as the panel continue preparations over the winter for their upcoming league and Nicky Rackard campaigns. The management team, led by Pádraig O’Connor, will have taken plenty of positives from the early games and will hope to continue building the positive momentum during December and January before their opening league game away to Donegal on Sunday 26 January.