Armagh senior hurlers get their All-Ireland championship campaign underway against Louth at 5pm on Saturday in the Athletic Grounds. Armagh manager Sylvester McConnell will lead his players into the Nicky Rackard championship, following a good league campaign in which Armagh picked up three wins against Donegal, Meath and Mayo and experienced defeat against Down and Kildare. Sylvester, along with his selectors Pádraig Ó Conchúir, Gabriel O’Kane and John Crossey, has named his side to face Louth. The side will line out as follows:
1 Síomón Ó Dochartaigh Simon Doherty Naomh Eoin
2 Odhrán Ó Camhraí Odhrán Curry Na Fianna
3 Ciarán Ó Clúmháin Ciaran Clifford Cú Chulainn
4 Conchúr Ó Doibhlin Connor Devlin Cú Chulainn
5 Ciarán Mac Thiarnáin Kieran McKernan Na Fianna
6 Nathan Ó Camhraí Nathan Curry Na Fianna
7 Pádraig Mac Aodha Pauric Hughes Na Fianna
8 Stiofán Ó Reannacháin Stephen Renaghan Lámh Dhearg
9 Sé Ó Gamhna Shea Gaffney Na Fianna
10 Rian Ó Gamhna Ryan Gaffney Na Fianna
11 Cathal Mac Cearbhaill Cahal Carvill Na Fianna
12 Eoin Mac Aonghusa Eoin McGuinness Na Seamrógaí
13 Máirtín Ó Mocháin Martin Moan Na Fianna
14 Dáithí Mac Cearbhaill David Carvill Na Fianna
15 Caolán Ó Gormáin Cailin Gorman Cú Chulainn
16 Pádraig Ó Mocháin Padraig Moan Na Fianna
17 Liam Mac Conchoille Liam Woods Na Fianna
18 Conchúr Mac Aoidh Conor McKee Lámh Dhearg
19 Pádraig Ó Ceallaigh Patrick Kelly Doire Núis
20 Déaglán Ó Coltair Declan Coulter Cú Chulainn
21 Adam Ó Tuathail Adam Toal Na Fianna
22 Tiarnán Mac Cnáimhín Tiarnan Nevin Na Fianna
23 Artúr MacAonghusa Artie McGuinness Na Seamrógaí
24 Seán Ó Coirbhúín John Corvan Lámh Dhearg
25 Rian Mac Conmhaí Ryan Conway Lámh Dhearg
26 Conchúr Ó hAinbhith Connor Hannaway Naomh Moininne
Armagh senior hurlers are preparing for their opening game in this year’s Nicky Rackard Cup competition, when they host Louth this Saturday at 5pm in the Athletic Grounds. Having competed well in the Allianz League Division 2B, they go into the campaign in a positive frame of mind. In spite of a seven point defeat to An Dún on the opening day, the performance of the Armagh side was very encouraging and offered a good platform for a decent home win against a much-improved Dún na nGall side a week later.
Last year’s Christy Ring champions Cill Dara were next to visit the Athletic Grounds and powered their way through the first half, going in at the interval with a comfortable victory looking inevitable. But rather than being demoralised, Armagh came back out in the second half and produced a great performance, although they still fell well short of the impressive Lilywhites. A visit to Trim proved a very fruitful one for the Orchardmen, as they pulled off a remarkable but deserved win against Christy Ring side Meath, with a late Conor Corvan goal securing the two points.
The final game of the league campaign saw Armagh head down to Castlebar to face another Christy Ring side, Mayo. Armagh produced a huge performance and fully merited their 13 point victory, with Cahal Carvill covering every blade of grass and inspiring his team mates to an impressive man-of-the-match display. The high-scoring Ryan Gaffney continued in his great vane of form in this game and for the second game in a row, scores came from nine different players.
The management team of Sylvester McConnell, Pádraig O’Connor, Gabriel O’Kane and John Crossey are delighted with the progress so far and the county hurlers are glad to have the knowledge and insight of their strength and conditioning coach, Eoin Cadogan, holder of an All-Ireland football medal, as well as numerous Senior, Under 21 and Minor Munster football and hurling medals. Armagh hurling is certainly heading in the right direction at present with a huge commitment to the small ball game paying off with a good league run. However, focus now turns to championship action as the senior hurlers knuckle down in their attempt to win the Nicky Rackard Cup for the third time and make the step up to the Christy Ring Cup. Guíonn CLG Ard Mhacha achan rath orthu uilig don chomórtas atá le teacht. Everyone involved with Armagh GAA wish them the very best for the Nicky Rackard campaign. Come along to the Athletic Grounds on Saturday and give the hurlers your support. Ard Mhacha abú!