End of Year Review – Armagh Hurlers

2022 was a mixed season for the Armagh hurlers, with a disappointing Nicky Rackard Cup and they’ll hope to improve in the New Year.

In saying that, they could have ended the season with some silverware as they qualified for the league final.

Their season started with the McGurk Cup, where wins over Antrim and QUB followed a first-round defeat to Down.

That wasn’t enough for the hurlers to qualify for the next round, however. So, all attention turned towards the National League.

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Armagh once again set about trying to earn promotion to Division 2B, as they’ve been so close over the last few years.

The opening to the league was a classic against Louth and the Wee County really put Armagh to the pin of their collars.

It was a late Dean Gaffney strike that secured maximum points for the Orchard County, winning 2-16 to 3-12.

That was followed up with a huge 21-point win over Monaghan, with Ryan Gaffney, Dean Gaffney, Danny Magee and Tiarnan O’Neill all grabbing goals.

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The hurlers suffered defeats to Tyrone and Roscommon in the next rounds, but they were still in with a chance of making the semis.

Five goals powered them past Warwickshire and set up a semi-final showdown with Roscommon. The prize for the winner was a final date with Tyrone.

This time Armagh gained the upper hand, with Terrance ‘Sambo’ McNaughton now at the helm and reached the decider.

A Shea Harvey goal made the telling difference as the Orchard County earned a five-point win, 1-22 to 0-20.

Tyrone proved a step too far in the showpiece, however. The Red Hands edged a close fought contest to win by two and earn promotion and the league title.

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Nicky Rackard Cup

The Nicky Rackard Cup was one to forget however for Armagh. They suffered three defeats in a row to Roscommon, Donegal and Tyrone.

A fourth-round victory over Fermanagh eased relegation fears while they ended the campaign with a victory over Warwickshire.

Karl McKeegan will wear the bainisteoir bib this year and Armagh will be targeting another shot at promotion and an improved effort in the Nicky Rackard Cup.

They’ll have to do so with Simon Doherty and Artie McGuinness who have retired, while Dean Gaffney is heading down under.

Still, there’s enough quality in that squad to push on for silverware in 2023. Beginning with the McGurk Cup against Antrim on Friday 6 January.

Photo Credit: Richiespics