The Armagh Poc Fada competition took place on the beautiful setting of Slieve Gullion last Wednesday evening and the competition proved a very tight affair. The senior competition was played out between Joby Burke from Keady, Kieran McKernan from Middletwon, Fiachra Bradley from Craobh Rua and Eamonn McAteer from Killeavy. The U16 competition had six competitors in total including Oisín Hughes from Cúchulainn’s, Oisín Keenan from Keady, Ben Toal from Middletown, Kane Laverty from Seán Treacey’s, Tiarnán O’Hare from Craobh Rua and Conor Doherty from Killeavy.
The course, which was laid out by Armagh GAA Hurling Coach James McKernan and Ulster Council Hurling Coach Ryan Gaffney, took in some stunning views of south Armagh, but the focus of the competitors was firmly on the competition. The senior section saw some stiff competition and all four competitors were neck and neck for much of the course. With all four finishing the course on the same number of pocs, the referees could only separate them by the distance beyond the finish line. However, it was impossible to separate Eamonn McAteer and Fiachra Bradley and a tie breaker ensued to determine the longest poc. After the first tie breaker, the two remained level and following the second poc, it was Craobh Rua’s Fiachra Bradley who came out on top to claim the Armagh Poc Fada title.
The U16 competition was also keenly contested and very much enjoyed by all six competitors. With the competitors broke up into two groups, it wasn’t until the second group approached the finishing line that it became obvious that there was a clear winner. Oisín Hughes from the Cúchulainn club in Armagh finished two strikes clear of his competitors and impressively, finished the course in the same number of pocs as the senior men. Four of the boys finished on the same number of pucks and Conor Doherty finished just one behind.
Fiachra and Oisín will now go on to represent Armagh in the Ulster Poc Fada competition on Tuesday 21 June on Pigeon Top Mountain outside Omagh, where they will be joined by the Armagh camogie poc fada winners, Gráinne Kelly from Granemore in the seniors and Ciara Hawes from Keady in the U16 section.