Action takes over from talk

August 19, 2013

• Armagh T-Met Senior Football Championship

The vulnerability of the defending Armagh and Ulster Champions Crossmaglen Rangers and the list of pretenders to their throne have been bandied about in conversations these last few weeks. Well the time for talking has stopped as the action in the T-Met Armagh Senior Football Championship gets under way without the champions who were one of 3 teams, Sarsfields and Carrickcruppen the other two who got byes into the quarter finals which are scheduled for mid- September.

So we will be minus 5 contenders after next weekend’s action where the pick of the ties is the meeting of Dromintee and Pearse Og. It is well documented that the Armagh City side were the last team to beat Cross in the Championship back in 2009 but Dromintee have also been the big losers in Rangers 16 titles in 17 years having lost like the Og’s 5 finals to the men in black and amber. Armagh Harps, beaten in the 2009 final, and Ballymacnab losing 2011 finalists, are in the senior Championship this year but the remaining teams who have lost finals since 1996 Mullaghbawn (2), Clan Na Gael (2) and Madden are involved in the Intermediate Championship.

With one of the 2 top contenders from previous years bowing out at the first hurdle and the winner of that match taking on the Champions in the quarter final , all the other clubs will fancy their chances of at the very least reaching the County Final. Will it be the case “that rumours of our demise have been greatly exaggerated?” or will there be a new name going on the trophy as it is now time to walk the walk as 5 knock-out games are down for decision next weekend and are previewed.

Friday 23rd August double header in Athletic Grounds

@ 7.00pm Granemore v Armagh Harps Ref – S. McKinley

Harps are on a lot of peoples lips as championship contenders following some good league performances. The beaten 2009 finalists face a tricky opening hurdle in Granemore, who more than held their own in the league. Harps are given the verdict to advance as Granemore are not the force of a few years ago, whilst the City side have got a new found imputus, that will need to be at full throttle, as their opponents will not be brushed aside that easily.

@ 8.30pm St. Patricks v Whitecross Ref – J. Slevin

In different league form from both teams going into this local derby match. Whitecross have failed to set the championship alight this last number of years, with their lack of scoring power costing them, in a few close encounters. Pat’s will be without Eugene Casey, but have the talented Robbie Tasker back to supplement their cause. With Ciaran McKeever and Mal Mackin still championing the cause for the Pat’s they should have enough in hand to see off a Mark Shields inspired Whitecross team.

Saturday 24th August 5.00PM @ Cullyhanna Ballymacnab v Culloville Ref –  K. McNeice

Culloville have had one of their poorest years to date and will not be going into this match with an abundance of confidence. The return to the colours by top marksman Kieran Hatzer will certainly boost the blues cause but Balllymacnab hold all the aces in this one and can book a quarter final berth.

6.30PM @ Carrickcruppen Dromintee v Pearse Og Ref-S. Murray

The big tie of the round may not be all it is cracked up to be as these teams have displayed opposing traits throughout the league. Dromintee have gone for a youthful approach while the Og’s were trying to fine tune a championship 15. Dromintee will greatly miss the services of free taker and scorer in chief Miceal O Rourke while Og’s possess a much sharper slicker set of attackers. Still the underdogs in this tie, Dromintee, might see their youngsters come of age in their debut championship outing, which might make this a lot tighter than what is expected.  Still it is hard not to see a repeat of last years Co Final occurring in the next round.

Sunday 25th August 7.00pm @ Abbey Park double header Killeavy v Maghery Ref – K. Murphy

A poor year to date for Killeavy, got worse with the possible absence of Ciaran O Hanlon, for this tough championship assignment against a hotly fancied Maghery. Killeavy have the players to make this a real close affair against a team who have constantly failed, come championship with expectancy so high. A disciplined Maghery are a handful for anyone and will have enough to get past a Killeavy side that will need a complete turn in form from recent displays.