The Armagh u20s get their league season up and running this weekend with a home tie against Monaghan, in St Paul’s.
It’s the first of three upcoming league games as Armagh face Louth and Westmeath in the coming weeks.
Silverbridge clubman Sean Conlon will captain Barry O’Hagan’s side this season. Thomas Og Duffy (Crossmaglen) and Antoin McParland (St Paul’s) the vice-captains.
“It’s an absolute privilege to be captain of an Armagh u20 squad,” said Conlon. “But I think as a captain, you only go up for the toss.
“You should have 30 captains on your team, as a squad pushing the thing on. You should have your own captaincy as in your individual preparation, you should be a leader in yourself.
“There’s a leadership group there with seven or eight boys and we’re all looking to push the thing on and push the other boys on.”
Conlon is just one of a number of players in the squad that were invovled last season. Their campaign ended with a championship defeat to Donegal.
Caolan Finnegan, a Senior championship winner with Crossmaglen last year is still there, as is fellow 2022 College All-Star Emmet Magee.
Patrick McAteer and Fergal O’Brien of Mullaghbawn remain in the panel. Armagh Harps trio Cathal Agnew, Tadgh Grimley and Luke McKeever are likely to see game time.
Madden men Paddy Carr and Darragh McMullan are involved. As is Brendan O’Hagan (Clan na Gael), Gareth Murphy (Killeavy) and James O’Hara (Keady).
The panel has been training away, but Conlon insists their looking forward to competitive action. “We’ve been training really well, there’s a great bunch of lads here.
“It’s a very small panel but we’re all brothers. We’re a tight group of players and there’s some quality players that will hopefully be the future of Armagh.
“We’d a few challenge games but it’s night and day between playing challenge games and playing league and championship.
“You can win as many friendlies as you want but if you’re not getting points in the league or if you’re not winning championship games, what’s the point?”
It’s Monaghan up first and Armagh will also face the Farney County in the Ulster Championship.
“It’ll be a very tight game; Monaghan are a big team and they’ll be aggressive. Both teams will be looking to put down a marker for the championship.
“We have a serious group of lads I think and the management and the group as a whole. We’re looking to push on this year.”