Players set to miss out

Paul Grimley.
Paul Grimley.

Early season predictions surrounding the fortunes of vlub sides have taken a pounding with the news that no county players took part in games last weekend.

Armagh are scheduled to face Cavan in their Ulster opener on Sunday, June 8 and as things stand county players could be ruled out of participating in all league games in the lead up period.

It is understood that it was the players themselves who took the decision to concentrate solely on county affairs.

Although several of the squad would only have a slim chance of participating in the Ulster Championship, it would appear that the decision was made in relation to the unprecedented number of injuries sustained by the side since the turn of the year.

Last season team boss Paul Grimley took a relaxed approach to the issue, and club players were permitted to compete in the All County Leagues in the weeks leading up to the Ulster Championship.

While a win over Cavan would certainly vindicate the stance made by the players, should the county be forced to participate in the All Ireland qualifiers some club sides who had been fancied for promotion could struggle in the relegation zone.

A meeting was held at the Athletic Grounds last night (Wednesday) where club representatives were invited to air their views on the issue.

Some clubs are more affected than others, St Peter’s lost to Forkhill last Sunday and the whites were without county players Aaron Findon and Niall McConville.

Although Wolfe Tones were comfortably beaten by St Paul’s they almost certainly would have been closer to their North Armagh opponents had Finnian Moriarty been available,

Maghery should have the resources to cope without their county players. They are unbeaten this season and their victory on Sunday over Killeavey came without Aidan and Stefan Forker and the injured James Lavery,

Sarsfields and Eire Og would be seen as beneficiaries should club players miss games on a constant basis, but Clan Na Gael would no doubt suffer if attacker Stefan Campbell missed a sustained number of games.

Clann Eireann who play in Division 2 would be free to focus on their league campaign with none of their squad affected by county affairs.

While club managers await news from last night’s meeting it should be noted that the highly rated Robbie Tasker, who is currently on the Armagh, squad lined out for St Pats Cullyhanna last Sunday and scored a hat-trick.