Convery ready to point the way to better things for Armagh hurlers
Padraig O'Connor believes he has made one of his best signings as Armagh hurling manager, but his capture will not strike a sliotar in anger for the county.
Instead former Derry ace Ruairi Convery, who was part of the Oak Leaf squad from 2003 until this year, is deploying his coaching skills on behalf of the Orchard County to such an extent that O'Connor is already filled with optimism as he surveys his team's 2019 itinerary.
They may have already lost to UUJ earlier this month in the Conor McGurk Cup competition but O'Connor is confident that Armagh will provide a more accurate barometer of their talent when they face Tyrone in the same tournament at The Dub tomorrow (2.00pm).
And it's largely because of Convery's input to date with a squad which has undergone changes but which is fired with enthusiasm.
"Ruairi has already lifted the side and breathed confidence into the lads," reveals O'Connor. "He is a hurling man through and through."
That might not always have held good, though. Immediately prior to Armagh's only senior All-Ireland football triumph to date in 2002, Convery played for the Derry side that beat Meath in the minor decider and marked his appearance by scoring the only goal in their 1-12 to 0-8 win.
Right now, though, Convery is dedicated to bringing out the best in Armagh's elite hurlers. Stephen Renaghan, Danny Magee, Simon Doherty and Ciaran Clifford underpin a line-up that will confront a Red Hands side managed by ex-Armagh player Mattie Lennon.