Stefan Forker is hoping to get the chance to impress not one manager but two when he lines out for UUJ against Armagh in the Barrett Sports Lighting Dr McKenna Cup on Saturday at Crossmaglen (2pm).
While Maghery clubman Forker will be anxious to help the Jordanstown side get off to a winning start — and in the process provide encouragement for team boss Adrian McGuckin — he is also keen to catch the eye of new Armagh manager Paddy O’Rourke.
Forker’s shooting skills were in evidence for UUJ during the Ryan Cup recently and now the forward is keen to bring his skills onto the McKenna Cup stage.
O’Rourke, while strongly focused on what will be his debut fixture in charge, is certain to take on board Forker’s contribution to the proceedings.
While Forker, like his UUJ colleagues, will turn his attention to the Sigerson Cup following the January provincial competition, one of his main goals is to press his claims for recognition in the Armagh side for the National League.
He has not as yet been able to nail down a place in the orchard county line-up, but his displays in the McKenna Cup could bolster his prospects of inter-county action as the season unfolds.
While Armagh have been training at St Paul’s School, Bessbrook, UUJ have been using their 3G surface at their indoor High Performance Centre to reach concert pitch for the McKenna Cup.
Club spokesman John Farrell believes the spirit fostered within the university side during the Ryan Cup will stand them in good stead against Armagh, Fermanagh and Monaghan in Group A.
“These are three tough games for us, but they will be ideal preparation for the Sigerson Cup in which we are scheduled to meet our big rivals Queen’s,” said Farrell.
“It’s unfortunate that we will be without two of our best players Dessie Mone and Conor McManus for Saturday’s game because of injury and we are also without Raymond Mulgrew who is involved in Cookstown’s All Ireland Intermediate Club Football semi-final build-up.”