Armagh Minors begin league campaign

The Armagh minors get their 2024 season underway on Saturday as they welcome Down to the BOX-IT Athletic Grounds.

It’s the first of two league fixtures that Aidan O’Rourke’s side will play as Monaghan are also in their group of three.

They take on Monaghan in the final round, in Clones, on Saturday 9 March. Down and Monaghan will face off in round two.

It’s a change in structure from last year’s minor league when Armagh played four games before the championship.

They overcame Antrim on the opening day, but lost their remaining fixtures to Derry, Monaghan and Down.

Buncrana Cup

There are a few players that remain from last years panel, but as is usually the case at this age grade, there’s plenty of change as well.

This year’s squad is backboned by the u16 Buncrana Cup winning team from last season. They saw off Tyrone in the final.

Carrickcruppen’s Shea Loughran, Clann Eireann’s James McCooe and Aaron Garvey of Culloville all netted in that 3-10 to 0-8 win.

Keady’s Sean Woods captained that u16 team last season and he could be a key player for the Orchard County.

Not only that, but the Dromintee side that won the Paul McGirr Ulster Championship last season are also heavily represented on the minor panel.

Calvin Mooney guarded the goals for Dromintee when they defeated Errigal Ciaran by 10-points in the final.

Conor Dunne, Fergus Toale, Gavin O’Rourke, Jarlath O’Neill, Tomas Fox all played that day as well.

Conor Laverty, Diarmaid O’Rourke, Fionn Ó Tuathail and Michael Walker all got on the scoresheet for Dromintee.

O’Rourke top scored with 1-2 on the day and he earned the Player of the Tournament for his performances.

The likes of O’Rourke, Ó Tuathail, Ross Marsden and Loughran played for the minors last year. They all featured in the championship.

Down won this fixture last season when the teams met in Pearse Og Park, but both will be fairly changed.

The Mourne men will once again be managed by Down legend Benny Coulter. It will be a challenge and Armagh will hope to get off to a winning start.