Armagh under 21s 1-05 Down under 21s 0-11
SINCE 2004 when Armagh under 21s won the All Ireland title the County has failed to gain a foothold at either Provincial or National level.
Following an impressive away win over Fermanagh in the first round of this seasons Ulster series Armagh entered last Wednesday nights semi-final against near neighbours Down in a quietly confident mood. Mattie Lennon’s team however struggled from start to finish against the Mourne men and although Maghery’s Aidan Forker’s well struck injury time goal put a veneer or the home sides performance, in fairness they were comfortably beaten by a better drilled and much more fluent Down outfit. Eddie English was Armagh’s only scorer in a forgettable first half where Down playing slick first time football tore lanes through the Orchard defence.
Although the introduction of St. Peter’s midfielder Aaron Findan stemmed the tide in the second half Armagh had no answers and left the venue a well beaten team. Two Niall McConville points and a nice effort from Jemir Hall were the highlights of the evening from an Armagh point of view, also considering the amount of coaching having been undertaken in the County in recent years it is somewhat surprising to see Armagh’s under 21 team struggle to make an impression.
Last season Armagh Minors, under 21s and seniors were all defeated in Ulster first round games,
The recent good fortunes for St. Paul’s Junior High School, St Michael’s Grammar and the rise of St. Paul’s Bessbrook in the McCrory Cup competition could lead to success in the future for Armagh
sides particularly at minor level. But a lot of work still remains to be done to bring the County back to the top level.