Shane McConville seemed to get the best out his Pearse Ogs side this season as they pulled together for a big year. League winners and Championship quarter finalists points to a great year for the city club and McConville has been reinstated for another year to try and get Pearse Ogs back to the top table of Armagh football.
The picked up 22 out of a possible 28 points throughout the league and won their final eight games to guarantee their place in Division 1A for next season. They did experience a shaky period however, losing three games on the trot to promotion rivals Clann Eireann, Granemore and St Peter’s but done enough to end the campaign on top of Division 1B.
Things continued to improve and they dominated their championship group with wins over Killeavy, St Patrick’s and Culloville to book their spot in the quarter final. McConville seemed to have found the perfect balance of youth and experience in the Pearse Ogs ranks and their most notable win was their demolition of St Patrick’s away from home.
They came up against an improving Ballymacnab side and although they kept the game tight for the opening 30 minutes they couldn’t live with the intensity the Nab brought to the second period and exited the Championship. McConville will be delighted with his sides’ progress in 2019 and a big year could be on the cards for Pearse Ogs next season.
Like their Pearse Og counterparts, Granemore’s new manager dragged the best out of his side in 2019. Promotion and a kick of a ball away from their first Senior Championship Final, Eamon Kavanagh will be targeting a big 2020 for Granemore, starting with retaining their Division 1A status.
Granemore lost just four games this season, three of which came during the league with Madden (twice) and Pearse Ogs both getting the upper hand. However this wasn’t enough to derail them and The Ogs victory on the final day of the league over Clann Eireann meant that Granemore only needed a draw away to Annaghmore to gain promotion, a result they got.
Drawn into a decent Championship group, Granemore really let fly and earned three wins from three, stealing one point wins over both Armagh Harps and Silverbridge to confirm their place in the last eight before beating St Peter’s by five in the last round, 1-9 to 0-7, to continue their winning form.
Madden were their opponents at the quarter final stage and after slugging it out for 55 minutes, Granemore stole the show and gained redemption for their league loses with Ciaran Boyd kicking the last minute winner. Their unbeaten run was halted in the semi final however with Ballymacnab seeing them off after extra time but the St Mary’s Club will be happy with their 2019 and will look to build on this next season.
Just missed out on promotion and for the second year in a row the Lurgan side failed to get out of their Championship group. Clann Eireann will look back on this year with regret as they lost a raft of key players during the summer months and yet could have gained promotion but for their final day loss to Pearse Ogs.
They did have a marvellous 3-17 to 0-15 victory over Pearse Ogs in round 4 that kick-started an impressive 7 game winning run but it was when the season got into the final few games that they started to wane, losing three of their last four game against Sarsfields, Granemore and Pearse Ogs to remain in 1B for another season.
They were placed in the ‘group of death’ for the championship and suffered two heavy defeats at the hands of Crossmaglen and Ballymacnab. They put up a decent fight against Cross as the sides were tied 0-4 each after 15 minutes but three goals sent Cross into a 3-18 to 0-9 lead by the final whistle.
Things got worse in round two when The Nab put five goals past the Lurgan men to gain a 25 point winning margin. Clann Eireann’s championship hopes rested on a playoff spot if they could see off Sarsfields but a draw was all they could muster. Next season Clann Eireann will make the push for Senior 1A and should target an improved Championship campaign.
For a few years now Madden’s pre-season goal has been to get out of Division 1B but inconsistency has halted their progress, and 2019 was no different. They experienced a decent league campaign, winning 8 of their 14 games and confirmed a top four spot while also experienced a good championship run that saw them reach the quarter finals.
They started the league in blistering fashion seeing off Sarsfields and Granemore but three defeats on the trot dented their hopes of promotion. They did end their league campaign in brilliant fashion beating St Peter’s, Annaghmore and Granemore to confirm their top four spot, although they lost out on the final day to Culloville when they had nothing to play for.
Up first in the championship came Maghery in a game no one expect Madden to win but they battled hard and proved to be the better team on the night, winning 1-9 to 0-6, providing them with the perfect opportunity to top the group. They failed to do so however as their round three win over Annaghmore wasn’t enough to compensate for their loss to Dromintee.
They saw off Killeavy in dominant fashion and set up a winner takes all clash with rivals Granemore in the quarter finals. Madden will live to rue a host of missed chances and Granemore just piped them, hitting the final three points of the game. The Raparees will look to secure promotion in 2020 and build on a progressive Championship campaign after displaying their ability to mix it at the top table this year.
The Lurgan side failed to capitalise on a brilliant start to life in the Senior Division and ultimately lost their way throughout the year. After five games of the league St Peter’s remained unbeaten and looked to be heading to the top division but a one point defeat to Sarsfields turned the year on its head.
After their impressive start they only won one more game, at home to an already relegated Culloville side in the second last round, and by the conclusion of the league they were nine points adrift the league leaders and failed to make it into the top four, finishing on 13 points, three behind Madden in 4th place.
In the Championship they were drawn against Granemore, Armagh Harps and Silverbridge and became the whipping boys of Group 2. Their best performance came in round two when they led the Harps 1-4 to 0-6 but a strong second half performance allowed the Harps to claim maximum points winning 0-19 to 1-8.
Looking forward to 2020 St Peter’s will once again target a good league campaign and if they can generate similar performances that saw them beat Culloville, Annaghmore, Clann Eireann, Madden and Pearse Ogs at the beginning of the year then promotion can once again be within their sights.
While their Championship record may not make for good reading, Annaghmore had a hugely positive 2019 as they retained their Senior status for at least another 12 months. They came out on top in just four games in the league but achieved the ultimate prize in staying clear of the relegation zone.
Victories over St Peter’s, Culloville (twice) and Sarsfields were their only wins of the campaign but it was the point picked up on the last day that was the most important. They welcomed Granemore to Annaghmore knowing all they needed was a point to remain in the division and three goals later that had achieved their target, drawing 3-6 to 1-12.
They were dealt a difficult hand in the Championship with rivals Maghery, Madden and Dromintee making up the group. They were hugely competitive in all three games, losing to Dromintee by three points in round one while Maghery and Madden both enjoyed five point victories over Annaghmore.
Although crashing out of the Championship at the earliest junction wouldn’t have been within Annaghmore’s plans, they did achieve their main goal for 2019. Next seasons target will once again be to secure their Senior status and they will have to battle to pick up enough points to do so, just as they did in 2019.
Only a few years ago the High Moss club experienced the highs of defeating Crossmaglen Rangers in the league, but next season will have to battle it out in the Intermediate Division. They almost achieved the same feat in the championship this season but couldn’t repeat their heroics throughout the year.
They achieved the exact same results as Annaghmore but scoring difference let them down and ultimately saw them relegated. Wins over St Peter’s (twice), Clann Eireann and Culloville were their only victories while they also picked up points through draws against Culloville and Annaghmore to gain a total of 10 points.
They faced a difficult Championship group, drawn against Clann Eireann, Ballymacnab and Crossmaglen. They held their own, troubling both Ballymacnab and Crossmaglen before drawing with Clann Eireann in the final round robin game but headed for the playoffs due to better scoring average.
They showed tremendous fighting spirit against Silverbridge as the sides battled for a place in the last eight. Trailing by 13 points mid-way through the second period, goals from Paul McGeown, Paul McCaughey and Caolan Skelton dragged them back into contention only to miss out by one point. Next season they should have a big say in the Intermediate Division.
Admittedly Culloville wouldn’t have expected to challenge for any silverware in the Senior Division and yet would not have foreseen winning just one game in 2019, which came on the final day of the league when they had already sealed their fate for next season, with relegation to the Division 2A.
Culloville gained just two points from their first 13 games, drawing with Sarsfields and Granemore while losing out every other game. The final match of the league pinned them against Madden and saw them earn their first and only win of the campaign as they outscored the Raparees 5-11 to 3-13.
No matter who the Blues faced in their round robin group they were going to be up against it, and so it proved as they lost all three championship games to crash out at the earliest exit. Defeats to St Patrick’s, Pearse Ogs and Killeavy meant that Culloville won only once throughout the entire year and will now target an improved season in Division 2A in 2020.