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Major rejig may herald a new dawn in Orchard county

By John Campbell

Wholesale changes at the top both on and off the field in Armagh have already triggered speculation that the county could be about to enter a new era.

The progress attained by the senior county football team under the baton of Paul Grimley this year is viewed as a catalyst for perhaps even greater achievements in 2015 and to this end there has been a significant changing of the guard.

Kieran McGeeney, of course, has already been installed as Grimley's successor, Steven McDonnell takes charge of the Under-21 team and Aidan O'Rourke is poised to take over the minors.

And the wind of change has blown through hurling, too. Sylvester McConnell becomes senior county team manager in succession to John Lennon, who now chairs a more vibrant fund-raising committee while Pauric O'Connor is the new liaison officer.

In the administrative sphere, Middletown man Paul McArdle replaces Paul Duggan as chairman while Sean McStay from the Derrynoose club assumes the role of PRO with Fr Rory Coyle becoming assistant secretary.

Duggan now takes on the job of secretary and Raymond Kerins now fills the post of Irish Officer.

The Armagh shake-up is viewed within the county as a formula for an entirely new approach in 2015 when strong efforts will be made to enhance the county's image.

Armagh football was cast in a poor light when a pre-match melee marred the championship encounter against Cavan at the Athletic Grounds while a subsequent media ban deprived the county of publicity.

One former county official pulled no punches when he declared: "It's not a bit of harm to see these changes in the administrative set-up. Armagh has to move with the times and show they are capable of meeting the challenges that all counties are confronting at present. Every county requires leadership if it is to deliver on the core values of the Association."

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