Competetive Winning Starts Wanted

January 5, 2010

Armagh manager Paddy O’Rourke and his Down counterpart James McCartan will both want to get their new managerial roles off to a competetive winning start as their teams go into Barrett Sports Lighting Dr McKenna Cup action this coming weekend.

It is James who faces the more difficult start as his Down team travel to Celtic Park (2pm Sun 10) in the top match in Group C which also contains beaten Ulster finalists Antrim and Queen’s University. Armagh will open up their Group A campaign with a home match in Crossmaglen on Sunday at 2pm. Monaghan and the Ulster University Jordanstown are the other two teams in Group A.

McKenna Cup holders Donegal open with a match with St Mary’s and then face Tyrone and Cavan in their other two Group B fixtures.

Like all managers in the competition Paddy and James have called up a lot of fringe players to see if they can do enough to firstly warrant a place in the league squad and progress from there to the 2010 championship panel. Armagh were due to play Monaghan on Sunday last to mark the official opening of the Paddy O’Rourke Stand in Pairc Grattan in memory of one of their most famous sons the late Paddy O’Rourke who served as a secretary of the Inniskeen Grattans committee for an astonishing 56 consecutive years along with filling many other positions during that time. Alas like a lot of other sporting fixtures this match fell foul of the weather and was postponed.

With the match in the McKenna Cup with Monaghan due to be played at the same venue on Wed Jan 20 it might be used to mark the official opening of the stand.

With new players on view and the new experimental rules being put into operation there is a lot of interest gathering in this year’s Barrett Sports Lighting Dr McKenna Cup which, over the past few years, has attracted good numbers and some very good games. Hopefully the weather will play it’s part in assisting the completion of this January competition on time.The three group winners and best loser qualify for the semi-finals with the final scheduled for Jan 30.