National League Preview – Armagh Hurlers

The Armagh hurlers have been so unlucky in recent seasons when it comes to their national league success.

Two years on the trot they have fallen at the final hurdle while attempting to climb out of Division 3A.

It was Roscommon who denied the Orchard County a promotion spot in 2019 while Donegal did likewise last season.

Despite stringing a five-game unbeaten run together, Padraig O’Connor’s side couldn’t do enough in the showpiece and missed out.

It was also Donegal who halted Armagh’s progress in the Nicky Rackard Cup later on in the season.

Once again promotion will be at the top of their to-do list and a big emphasis will be placed on the league.

Some big names, including the Gaffney brothers Ryan and Dean, have stepped away for the year. A big blow so early in the season.

They have retained the services of some key personnel such as Simon Doherty, Tiernan Nevin, Aaron Fox, Danny Magee along with Nathan and Odhran Curry.

Junior Hurler of the Year and Craobh Rua star Tiernan O’Hare has been called up to the panel while Derrynoose’s Peter McKearney also returns this season.

Armagh face four tough encounters, two of which will be on the road while they’ll open and close their campaign in the Athletic Grounds.

The table-toppers at the end of the four-game round robin will be promoted, as there is no league final this season.

First up is Longford who put Armagh to their pin of their collars in 2020 and could prove a tough nut to crack once again this year.

The Leinster side were the first team to take any points off Armagh last year, so a difficult opener is expected.

Sligo gained promotion from Division 3B in 2020 and will want to consolidate their position in the division above.

Armagh have some recent history with Sligo, as the Yeats men defeated the Orchard County in the 2019 Nicky Rackard Cup decider.

Monaghan offered little challenge when the sides clashed last season, with Armagh winning handsomely in the end.

The Farney men will have home advantage this time around, which may provide a tougher test for the Orchard County.

Armagh’s campaign ends with a home game against old rivals Tyrone, who are now led by new manager Michael McShane.

These two teams provided an incredibly close contest in round five last year and couldn’t be separated.

Danny Magee stole the show with two goals that day and Armagh will be expecting another tight tussle.

Promotion is always the aim and this Armagh side will be extremely disappointed if they miss out once again.