When Queen’s University charted a lively course through the Gaelic Life Dr McKenna Cup to reach the final in which they lost to Donegal, Aidan O’Rourke proved himself a very capable manager while Charlie Vernon and Paul Courtney underlined their considerable talents at midfield.
Now the trio are united in a bid to reach fresh goal - achieving success with Armagh.
O’Rourke, who shared in Armagh’s All Ireland triumph in 2002, slotted hom the penalty goal that broke Kildare’s hearts last Sunday while Vernon’s powerhouse display in midfield and Courtney’s valuable input as a substitute contributed handsomely to the orchard county’s unexpected victory.
When Peter McDonnell’s side host Meath at Crossmaglen on Sunday (2.30pm), all three will again be at the coal face.
Having overcome Fermanagh immediately prior to eclipsing KIldare, the orchard county outfit have their sights on a hat-trick of league wins - and it’s some time since that has been achieved.
Armagh, indeed, have tended to live rather dangerously in the second most important competition in recent seasons but not only would a win over Meath hoist them further up the table - depending on other results, that is - but it could conceiveably thrust them into the promotion race.
And while Armagh make their push for enhanced status, a number of other players from the Queen’s side that illuminated the McKenna Cup have been showing fine form in the league, much to the delight of Aidan O’Rourke.
Luke Howard, Paul McComiskey, Jamie O’Reilly Conor Maginn and Benny McArdle (all Down), Ryan Dillon, Sean Leo McGoldrick, Joe O’Kane and Dermot McBride (all Derry), Justin Crozier (Antrim) and Shaun O’Neill (Tyrone) have all been impressive so far with their respective county teams.
Aidan O’Rourke says: “I’m delighted to see all these boys doing so well. They are very committed and they have a great attitude to the game. While Queen’s were naturally disappointed to lose the McKenna Cup final, the fact that so many of the players have moved on to the highger level in such a smooth fashion is greatly encouraging.”