A-Z of 2021

We take a look back at all the highlights of the 2021 season in Armagh at both club and county level!

A – All-Stars

Simon Doherty picked up a Champion 15 All-Star for his efforts between the sticks for Armagh this season. Both O’Neill brothers, Oisin and Rian, picked up nominations, as did Aimee Mackin and Lauren McConville.

B – Black Jersey

The new black Armagh away strip, revealed in November is one of the nicest in the country. It was saw in action during the second half of Armagh’s challenge game with Tyrone.

C – Ciaran McKeever

Former Armagh captain McKeever was added to the senior management team as a defensive coach. McKeever spent two years as the minor manager and is back with the seniors once again for the new year.

D – Dream Team Podcasts

With no football action at the beginning of the year, The Sideline Eye Podcast returned with the ‘Dream Team Podcast’. Eight club players joined us to discuss their Dream Teams and the podcasts are still available to watch/ listen to on YouTube and Spotify.

E – Eight Goals

Aimee Mackin rattled the net eight times throughout 2021. Armagh played 10 games across league and championship and Mackin almost averaged a goal a game. This included a hat trick against Mayo as well as two goals in the Ulster final.

F – Familiar

Surely by now Armagh fans are fed up with their Ulster rivals, most notably Monaghan, Tyrone and Donegal. Thankfully, a full National league campaign will be played this year to change it up! The Ladies however will once again play off a regional league and take on Monaghan, Cavan and Tyrone just as they did last year.

G – Gerry Fegan Cup

The Clann Eireann players belted out “He’s coming home, he’s coming home, Gerry’s coming home” as they climbed the steps in the Athletic Grounds after winning their first championship in 53 years.

H – Home Advantage

Armagh enjoyed home advantage in the opening round of the Ulster championship against Antrim for the first time since they lost out to Donegal in 2015.

I – Impact Subs

Conor Turbitt and Tiernan Kelly will be pushing hard for starting berths next season. They’ll be remembered for their impact off the bench in 2021, netting in both championship outings.

Conor Turbitt hit the net in both of his 2021 Ulster Championship appearances
Photo Credit: John Merry

J – (Broken) Jaw

During the Armagh ladies championship tie against Mayo, Caroline O’Hanlon picked up a broken jaw and missed out on the quarter final clash with Meath. She did however surprising play in the Ulster final win against Donegal just four weeks later.

K – Keith Higgins

Following his retirement from football, Higgins concentrated on the small ball in 2021. His decision to do so made Armagh’s Nicky Rackard Cup campaign all the more difficult. Higgins top scored with 0-11 as the Westerners knocked the Orchard out in the semi-final.

L – Long wait is over

All three football championship winners ended long waits to finally get their hands on the trophy. Clann Eireann ended a 53 year wait, Carrickcruppen won their first title since 2004 while Belleek were crowned Junior champs for the first time in 20 years.

M – Minors

The county minors earned their first opening round win of the Ulster championship since 2016 with a narrow one-point win over Derry.

N – New Managers

The Armagh Camogs will be under new management in 2022 as Jim McKernan takes over from Mattie Lennon, who spent one season in the hotseat.

O – Outside of the boot

One of the highlights of 2021 was Aimee Mackin’s wonderful pass to set up a Caroline O’Hanlon goal against Monaghan. The vision, the strike, the weight was all from the top drawer from the Shane O’Neill’s star.

P – Play Off

Three good performances against Monaghan, Tyrone and Roscommon, wasn’t enough to save Armagh from a relegation play off. Despite a shaky opening quarter, they ended up steam rolling Roscommon to remain in Division One.

Q – Quarantine

Perhaps not the way Shea Magill wanted to make his Armagh debut. The youngster sprang into action against Monaghan as Kieran McGeeney’s regular number one Blaine Hughes was forced to miss out due to Covid-19.

R – Retained

The Armagh Ladies ended the year on a high. Although they didn’t enjoy the best of league and championship campaigns, they overcame Donegal by the minimum to retain their Ulster crown.

S – Star

Kieran Donaghy’s addition to the Armagh management team was quite a shock but seems to have been one that played off. ‘Star’ will hope to reach new heights with his side in the upcoming season.

Kieran Donaghy was added to the Armagh set up for 2021
Photo Credit: John Merry

T – Treble

Both Middletown and Ballymacnab Camogs completed three-in-a-row champions in a memorable season.

U- Ulster Champions

An emphatic 6-33 to 0-6 win over Antrim 2nds saw the Armagh Camogs crowned Ulster champs. Craobh Rua also enjoyed provincial success when they defeated Carrickmacross by five points.

V – Volume

The first few National League games were played behind closed doors this year, before crowds finally returned. While there was only 500 attended Armagh’s clash with Donegal, it sounded like the stadium was packed. No doubt the return of the fans helped Armagh over the line against Roscommon.

W – Wexford

Armagh Camogs will be glad to see the back of the Yellow bellies. The sides clashed four times this season, twice in the league and twice in the All-Ireland series. The Orchard lost out on each occasion, including the league final and the All-Ireland decider.

X – Xmas Cracker

Armagh and Tyrone played out a charity game in aid of the Time2Play James Reel Playpark. It was a nice way to finish the year and allowed Armagh fans to see some of the new players in the squad.

Y – Youngsters

Carrickcruppen experienced an unbelievable 2021 as their youthful side completed the league and championship double.

Z – Zero

The amount of games Ciara Donnelly played this year without scoring. Zero. The Armagh Camogie captain has a sensational year in the orange and white and has been nominated for Junior Player of the Year. The Eglish star ended the season with and incredible 14-76.