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Joe Kernan: Armagh’s new-look citadel fit for a King

The patience of Armagh followers will be rewarded on Saturday week when the new-look Athletics Grounds are formally unveiled for the visit of Dublin in National Football League opener.



It has taken many years of hard work on the part of a lot of people to bring the venue up to the standard it enjoys today — two magnificent new stands, excellent floodlighting and state of the art facilities overall.

But while people from high-ranking county board officers down have played their part, no-one has done more in my estimation to make the Athletic Grounds dream come true than the indomitable Seamus King.

The Camlough man has not spared himself in any facet of the work — not only has he been willing to roll up his sleeves, but he has played a pivotal role in helping to secure much-needed funding to help finance the venture.

Seamus epitomises the volunteer ethic and for his sake, as much as anyone else’s, I hope that the Armagh county board meets with success in their innovative ‘My Armagh’ fund-raising campaign — ‘A seat for life’ — through which they are selling every seat in the new East Stand for £100.

I myself, as an ambassador of the campaign, have nominated former Armagh full-back Tom McCreesh to have his name inscribed on a seat and I have also purchased one in memory of my late uncle James who died some days after incurring a sporting injury.

Croke Park, the Ulster Council and Sport NI have all chipped in and done their bit. Now I cannot wait to sample the atmosphere when Dublin come calling on Saturday week but this will be nothing compared to the buzz that will ensue when Armagh host neighbours Down in the Ulster Championship at the end of May.

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