Minors Mission

After a season full of stoppages, delays and question marks, the Armagh minors finally begin their Ulster Championship campaign this weekend.

It’s been 287 days since their last competitive outing, a three point win over Monaghan during the league, way back at the beginning of March.

That was their second and final league encounter for the season, with Antrim gaining a 2-6 to 0-10 victory in the first round.

Now, they face into familiar territory as they take on Derry in the opening round of the Championship, just as they did last year.

In fact, this will be the third time in four seasons where orange and red clash at this age group, with Derry capturing wins on all three occasions.

Extra time was needed in the Ulster Semi-Final back in 2016, but the Oak Leaf County did enough to gain access to the showpiece with a 1-17 to 0-14 win.

A 15 point drumming in 2018 tells its own tale, although Armagh were able to close the gap when the sides met twelve months after.

Far from a classic, Armagh trailed by four by the time the final whistle sounded. Although defeated, it was clear the side were beginning to make progress.

Read our recent history article between Derry and Armagh at this age bracket!

They’ve retained the services of James Walsh, Ciaran Donnelly and captain Michael McConville, all of who started in the same fixture last year.

Adam Garvey and Niall Dummigan also took the field as substitutes in the 2019 clash and both should play starting roles this weekend.

Derry on the other hand will look to the likes of the Downeys, Matthew and Calum, along with Charlie Diamond as the go to men upfront.

Armagh haven’t tasted victory in the first round of the Ulster Championship since 2016 when they overcame Cavan.

Ciaran McKeever is now in his second year in charge and his side will hope to change that record come Sunday.

It’s been a tough year for this side, with the first round of the Ulster Championship cancelled three times this season.

Armagh should have been lining out against Monaghan back in April, but due to lockdown the game didn’t go ahead and the draw was changed.

It was decided the minor layout would follow the same as the Seniors, with Armagh meeting either Donegal or Tyrone should they complete their task on Sunday.

Like the Senior Championship, this is knock out football and a winning will have to be decided on the day.

After a long wait and a difficult year, let’s hope Armagh can do themselves justice and put in a performance that’s worth the wait.

Check out our article on the long season the minors have experienced!