The Armagh Hurlers kickstart their season this evening with a home tie against Down in the McGurk Cup.
Padraig O’Connor’s men will have at least three outings in the preseason competition. Games against Louth and QUB follow in the next few days.
Armagh are likely to the use the McGurk Cup to build towards a good league. Promotion from Division 3A will once again be high on their priority list.
They’ve been so close in the last few years and will hope 2022 is when they finally make the breakthrough.
Their league campaign begins on Saturday 5 February, when they host Louth. Games against Monaghan, Tyrone, Roscommon and Warwickshire will follow.
We could see some of the newbies in the panel take the field this evening as Armagh try to blood new players.
Experienced defenders Artie McGuinness and Ciaran Clifford have both retired from intercounty action.
McGuinness has been part of the squad since 2014 while Clifford has been around since 2009. He was part of the Nicky Rackard Cup winning team of 2012.
New panel members
Paddy Quinn and Caolan Rice will bolster their defensive options having returned to the panel.
Dylan McKenna along with Glen McKeown, Lorcan Oliver and goalkeeper Caolan McCann have also been called up.
Brothers Michael and Mattie Lennon are back on the hurling squad, having last featured in 2014.
The Middletown contingent will be back after their Ulster Championship run, although they mightn’t feature too heavily in the McGurk Cup.
Nathan Curry is sure to be given some game time as he missed out last year through injury. Fintan Oliver is expected to see some minutes in the forward line as well.
The Cuchulainns attacker will feature for QUB in the upcoming Ryan Cup, and is one to watch for Armagh over the next few weeks and months.
The Orchard are building towards the league, so a good McGurk Cup will set them up for a go at Division 3A.