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Harbinson laps up big Orchard boost ahead of Antrim debut

 

By John Campbell

It's not often that a county team boss is the recipient of a message of good wishes from an opposing side, but Antrim manager Lenny Harbinson is currently lapping up plaudits from Armagh as he prepares to make his managerial debut against holders Tyrone in the Bank of Ireland Dr McKenna Cup on January 3.

Up until he succeeded the Frank Fitzsimons-Gearoid Adams Saffrons partnership, Harbinson had been in charge of Armagh club Ballymacnab, and it's from there that a shoal of goodwill messages has just reached the former St Gall's All-Ireland winning club boss.

Rory Grugan, one of Ballymacnab's most experienced players and a regular in the Armagh side for several years, believes Harbinson has left the side in such a promising place that new manager Bernie Murray, the former Monaghan county ace, will be able to take it to the next level.

Enniskillen-based schoolteacher Grugan, who is expected to help form the bedrock of the Orchard County side, believes that Harbinson has the necessary attributes to plot progress for Antrim.

"Lenny has undoubtedly brought Ballymacnab on brilliantly over the course of the past two years," points out Grugan.

"You could always tell that he was destined for bigger things. I'm not surprised to see him enter inter-county management.

"He was superb with us and I would wish him all the best with Antrim.

"He has the passion and the enthusiasm to drive the team on. I know he is very determined to succeed in his new role."

While hailing Harbinson's step up, Grugan is nonetheless strongly focused on helping Armagh to make progress in the months ahead.

"I think with Jim McCorry on board now we will have a better handle on how to close out games. This year we lost some games that we should have won and this did not help our confidence at the end of the day," he stresses.

"In the important league game against Tipperary and in the championship against Down we slipped up badly, unfortunately."

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