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Carvill is sure Armagh can end Antrim's trophy reign


By John Campbell

When free-scoring Declan Coulter moved to take up residence in Donegal towards the end of last year, Armagh's hopes of making an impact on the hurling front this term appeared to have taken a savage blow.

For the past number of years, Coulter has been the team's top scorer, a player endowed with the gift of being able to convert half-chances and pot frees from all angles and distances for fun.

But while Orchard County boss Sylvester McConnell was disappointed to see Coulter ride off into the sunset and transfer his allegiance to the north west county, he nonetheless expressed the belief that his side could still come good.

That belief was not borne out in the league, though, as Armagh dropped into Division 3A, their inconsistency ultimately proving their undoing.

But last Saturday's Ulster Championship semi-final win over Down has suddenly transformed the outlook within the county in advance of Sunday's provincial decider against perennial champions Antrim at Owenbeg (2.30pm).

And Cathal Carvill, who has assumed the role of leader of the pack, is convinced that having played in last year's decider, Armagh will now be better prepared to lock horns with the Saffrons this time round.

"When we played them in the league a few weeks ago we lost by seven points but that was because Antrim produced a strong finish," stated Carvill. "I think we have gained in experience through the league even though we ultimately got relegated."

Nathan Curry, Artie McGuinness, Ciaran Clifford, Conor Corvan, David Carvill and Shea Gaffney will help to underpin the Armagh side for what Cathal Carvill describes as "a huge task".

"There's no point in saying otherwise," he added. "Antrim are in the driving seat but we are getting the chance to produce a shock. It's going to be a huge task, though."

Belfast Telegraph


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