Danny Murphy is relishing the prospect of a more competitive Ulster senior hurling championship.
The action gets up and running tomorrow with three games on offer.
“We ran a similar type format last year but we had to make a number of modifications this year to facilitate Antrim’s involvement in the Leinster championship.
“It was always intended that Antrim would remain in Ulster. To do that we had to get a certain level of co-operation from the counties to restructure the championship.
“I’m convinced though that the end product should make for a better balanced and a more competitive championship as teams are coming in at their own competitive level”. said the Ulster Council secretary.
“Every game is relatively well balanced so we should see the best teams progressing through to the next stage.” he added.
The Ulster Council’s aim is to put a better focus on the county hurling scene with the hope that some of the so called minnows can cause one or two shocks before it’s all over.
Armagh meet Monaghan in the Athletic Grounds and should progress to the quarter-finals.
The Orchard county has made significant progress in recent seasons, drawing with Derry in last season’s championship and again finishing level with them in the league.
Armagh finished mid table in Division 3A, but ended their campaign on a disappointing note, losing to both Mayo and Meath.
Fermanagh will fancy their chances of beating Cavan at Brewster Park and qualifying for the quarter -finals.
Tyrone will be very much up against it when they go head to head with Donegal in Letterkenny.
The latter came up trumps in their league clash earlier in the season, Tyrone coming out on the wrong side of a 19 points defeat.
Donegal’s league campaign saw them winning three and losing three, while Tyrone had to be content with a solitary victory, which hardly augurs well for the championship prospects.
Any games finishing level will be replayed on May 23, while the the second round of fixtures are pencilled in for next weekend.