Hurlers get championship campaign underway

The Armagh Hurlers begin their Nickey Rackard Cup campaign on Saturday as they take on Donegal in round one.

They welcome the Tir Chonaill men to the BOX-IT Athletic Grounds, hoping to get off to a winning start.

It’s been a difficult year so far for the Orchard County, who won just one game in the National League.

That came on the final day when they saw off Louth to survive the dreaded drop to Division Four.

They did pick up a round two draw with league finalists Sligo. But that came in between defeats to Mayo, Cavan and Monaghan.

Donegal on the other hand were operating in Division 2B and reached the league semi-finals, losing out to Tyrone.

Mickey McCann’s Donegal side remain one of the favourites for the Nickey Rackard Cup, having reached the final last season.

They overcame Armagh on their way to the decider, at the same venue where Saturday’s showdown takes place.

There was ten-points between the two teams when the full-time whistle went, but that didn’t tell the true tale.

While Donegal were unquestionably the better team, two late goals helped add some gloss to the final tally.

Last year’s performance may give Armagh some confidence that they can compete, as they were right in the game heading towards the final few minutes.

The Armagh Hurlers begin their Nickey Rackard Cup campaign on Saturday as they take on Donegal in round one.
Photo Credit: Richiespics

But they are without some key men that haven’t been able to shake off injuries and they’ll be huge misses.

Paudie Lappin looks set to sit out the remainder of the season. Fionntan Donnell, Peadar McBride and Odhran Curry are other injury woes.

They still have a good backbone of players that will drive the team on, led by captain Tiarnan Nevin.

Alex O’Boyle had an amazing league campaign, but Armagh need someone to help ease the scoring burden.

If they bring their A game, the Armagh hurlers can certainly compete and if it goes down to the wire once again, then anything can happen.