ARMAGH under 21s are in full blown preparation for their Ulster Championship first round tie against 2011 provincial winners Cavan.
Paul McShane’s team will face the Breffni Blues in Kingspan Park on March 21.
The young Armagh team is laced with members of the historic All-Ireland winning side of 2009, including Robbie Tasker, Eugene McVerry, who has been hitting the headlines recently with Paddy O’Rourkes senior outfit, Rory Grugan and Gavin McPartland.
The Armagh under 21 team, which has been playing challenge games recently, also includes Andy Murnin, who is currently injured, Stephan Campbell from Clan na Gael and Maghery duo Aidan Forker and Kevin Nugent.
A player who is catching the eye at present is Chris McCafferty, from Clann Eireann, and two Wolfe Tones men, James Lavery and Ruairi McCaughley. are also showing good form.
A number of years ago local representation on county squads had slowed to a trickle but in more recent times things have changed dramatically with a balanced approach and more dedication from players paying dividends.
St Peter’s players Aaron Findin and Niall McConville, who will pick up the division three Player of the Year award at Friday night’s Armagh annual dinner, swell the number of north Armagh representatives on the under 21 panel to eleven.
The side have played nine challenge games in their build up to their Ulster tie with Cavan.
This Saturday at the Athletic Grounds they play Kildare under 21s who are managed by former Armagh captain Kieran McGeeney.
Recent challenge games have taken place against Mayo, Meath, Roscommon, Antrim and Louth.
Armagh won the All-Ireland under 21 title back in 2004 and although the provincial series contains sudden death games this year’s team looks particularly strong.
It is understood that the under 21s will play Crossmaglen in a challenge game before the Rangers play in the All-Ireland club final on St Patrick’s Day.