MAGHERY’S Stefan Forker has been added to Paul Grimley’s McKenna Cup squad which opens their 2013 season with a home game against Queen’s University on Sunday, January 6.
Stefan will join his brother Aidan on the squad along with their fellow clubman James Lavery. The Maghery man is highly rated and had a very successful year with his club who won the First Division title having finished runners up over the past two seasons. Stefan’s scoring feats played a huge part in his clubs league success and the Lough shore men gave Crossmaglen their closest run in championship football in 2013.
Paul Grimley’s Armagh panel will be without all of the Crossmaglen players who are currently focused on the All Ireland club series. Following their opening game, the county will host Cavan at the Athletic grounds on Sunday January 13th, and then they will play a midweek game against Down in Newry four days later.
St Paul’s player Andrew Murnan, Caolan Rafferty and Eugene McVerry, who were part of the Armagh Minor side which won the All Ireland title back in 2009, will be on the Queens University squad who will also compete in the McKenna Cup in the forthcoming season. One of the county’s best defenders Clonmore’s Brendan Donaghy is currently carrying an injury and could miss the start of the McKenna Cup campaign.
New county boss Paul Grimley will be keen to get off to a winning start with the early season emphasis being placed on securing promotion to the First Division. Although the county have embarked on a rigorous youth coaching policy over the past decade, the current Armagh senior side have fallen from grace and would appear to be on a par with the team from the early nineties who struggled to win Ulster championship games.
While many supporters would agree that new boss Grimley has the drive to dramatically improve the current Armagh team, the real test will come when the side travel to Breffni Park to face Cavan in next season’s Ulster Championship first round game. With the geography of the provincial series going through wholesale changes since the period when Armagh and Tyrone enjoyed total domination, new kids on the block Donegal will still be the team to beat. Paul Grimley’s Armagh team will face a Cavan side which will contain a backbone of players from their Ulster winning Minor and U21 sides.