u21 triumph can lead to senior success: Rice

Lee Rice feels that Killeavy’s U21 championship success can lead to further silverware down the line at senior level.

Killeavy needed extra time, and a late goal from Tiarnan Brown, to edge their way past Clann Eireann on Sunday evening.

Rice captained Sean King’s side to victory, where five points splitting the sides when the full-time whistle sounded.

“It’s the perfect way to end the season,” said the former Armagh U20 captain. “I know with the seniors we didn’t get as far as we would have liked to.

“But the U21 team, throughout the year this has been the team to win it all. This was the team that could drive Killeavy on, now we have proved that.

“We got unlucky with the U19s, we got unlucky with the minors, we got unlucky with the U16s; this U21 team deserved to win tonight.

“We put the hard work in over the last ten weeks. Clann Éireann gave us a good game, but we dug deep, we kept our composure, and we definitely deserved to win that.

“It will definitely drive us on in the senior team. Most of them boys are still minor, so they’re the future of Killeavy.

“We’re going to go on and represent the senior team and hopefully this drives us on to go on and win our first Senior Championship in I don’t know how long.

“That U21 Championship is our first one in 26 years,” continued Rice, a guaranteed starter for the seniors.

“We’re up there now with the likes of Stevie McDonnell as players who have won an U21 Championship and it’s definitely going to benefit the senior team. It’s a good morale boost going into pre-season.”

Lee Rice feels that Killeavy’s U21 championship success can lead to further silverware down the line at senior level.
Photo Credit: Sinead Snaps

Team game

The bench made a telling difference for Killeavy last Sunday. The substitutes contributed 1-3 of their final tally and were a “massive” help.

“They have been massive for us in every single game,” added Rice, who made his Armagh debut in the McKenna Cup this season.

“It’s one of our tactics not to start all of our forwards, because they’re the perfect super subs. They help us keep our composure and our discipline within the forward line.

“They’re not afraid; some of those lads who came on are only 16 or 17. The likes of Fergal Boylan and Aron Magennis, those lads are the future of Killeavy.”