Blow for Armagh as four leave for USA

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At least four members of Paul Grimley’s Armagh squad are to jet off to America just weeks before the county are set to face an All Ireland Qualifier game.

Ballymacnab’s Gavin McPartland, Declan McKenna from Armagh Harps, Sarsfield’s Michael Stevenson and Peter Carragher from Silverbridge are all heading Stateside over the coming weeks.

Both McPartland and McKenna were members of the Armagh minor side which won the All-Ireland back in 2009. Peter Charagher has just recently rejoined the Armagh senior panel having been out with a broken leg. Michael Stevenson, who didn’t feature for Armagh in the recent Ulster Championship opener against Cavan, but showed good form in the league said Paul Grimley wished him all the best. The Sarsfields player said, “Paul was very supportive of me in all of this, he said if he was still around when I return in a year he would bring me back into the panel.”

Michael, who plans to fly out to San Francisco next Thursday, will reside in the States for two months before moving to Doha the capital city of Qatar which will host the 2022 World Cup competition, to take up a teaching post.

The ‘Trasna man hopes to return home towards the end of 2014 to study for a masters degree in music at Queens University. Ironically his brother Colin, a former county minor player, is set to return from the States in two weeks and no doubt he will immediately rejoin the High Moss senior ranks. Michael added. “We will miss each other as I will be away before Colin comes home.

“I will miss all the boys from both the Armagh and Sarsfields squads. When Sarsfields reach this years Championship Final I can fly home for it.”

With Armagh losing their Championship opener it was almost inevitable that the county would lose players. Declan McKenna, one of the players heading off, captained the Armagh minor side which won the All Ireland in 2009, the Harps player had been substituted in the early stages of the county’s game against Cavan in Breffni Park.

Michael Stevenson’s father Dennis is a former Armagh and Ulster player who had been selected on the Armagh team of the Century back in 1984.