Exodus of county players

A NUMBER of Armagh players have joined the continued exodus to the United States.

County skipper Ciaran McKeever, Jamie Clarke and Brendan Donaghy have all registered with a team in New York whilst Sarsfields clubman Michael Stevenson, who appeared for Armagh during the NFL, is also moving stateside to play for a team in Boston call Connemara.

It is believed that several other club and county players will be playing football in America this season as, with the continued recession biting, some of the Gaelic clubs in places like London, Australia and indeed America, are thriving considering the big numbers of players making the move.

Ironically those players who decide to move overseas to play Gaelic football will be governed by the rule that prevents them from playing for their clubs for a period of 60 days on their return.

There is nothing new in inter-county players making the move overseas to play for clubs, but they would traditionally have waited until their club side had been knocked out of the county championship before going.

Carrickcruppin in particular, who play in the first division of the Armagh All County League, have been badly hit by the recent trend and although some of their players returned from Australia before the start of this year’s club campaign, it has been gathered that more of their senior squad are flying out.

With Armagh being knocked out of the All-Ireland qualifiers at such an early stage, it was no surprise to learn that several players would be heading overseas for the Summer.

This means, however, that Clonmore will be without their best player Brendan Donaghy for the majority or all of their remaining games this year.

Crossmaglen and Cullyhanna will be missing Jamie Clarke and Ciaran McKeever respectively for their Senior Championship openers in August and Sarsfields will be without Michael Stevenson.