Belfast Telegraph

Friday 22 August 2014

McKenna gives Armagh a welcome boost

Armagh manager Peter McDonnell

Armagh manager Peter McDonnell is hoping that Lady Luck will eventually look favourably on the Orchard County.

The Ulster champions have been ravaged both by injuries and retirements.

As if things weren’t bad enough following the recent retirement of captain Paul McGrane, Paddy McKeever and Francie Bellew, accomplished midfielder Charlie Vernon broke his jaw last Sunday against Dublin.

One plus for McDonnell was the impressive showing of midfielder Donal McKenna against Dublin.

Chris Rafferty and Paul Duffy also showed up well in that game that marked the official opening of Peare Og’s new playing facilities.

“I’ve no doubt that had we a full squad available from the start of the year we would now be in Division One,” says manager McDonnell.

“Our panel is always open but there comes a time as the championship approaches that you have to say that’s it.

“I was delighted to have David McKenna back in the side.

“He’s a player of immense potential and he will improve with each passing game.

“We have players in the squad who are coming through but who need to be nurtured and David falls into that category.

“People sometimes forget that the vast majority of our panel are under 26 and they represent the future of Armagh football.”

Down meanwhile must pick themselves up after losing the All Ireland Under 21 decider in injury time.

It was a cruel way to miss out after they had played so well in the second half.

It’s not much consolation, but Cork are an outstanding side, a side that revels at this particular level.

Only three seasons ago they beat Armagh at the semi-final stage.

A number of that side have since progressed to the senior team.

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