by Richard Bullick
Armagh joint managers Lorraine McCaffrey and Fionnuala McAtamney will be back at the Orchard helm for a second season with the ringing endorsement of the county’s top players.
Their appointment last November ensure none of Armagh’s most experienced players hung up their boots over the winter and retaining the duo’s services is a big boost ahead of the 2019 campaign.
County chairperson Sinead Reel is pleased to have the highly-regarded duo back on board as she strives tirelessly to keep Armagh ladies football moving forward on all fronts.
“I am delighted that Armagh LGFA is now in a position to confirm that Lorraine McCaffrey and Fionnuala McAtamney will be continuing to manage our senior county team in the coming year and we all look forward to them building upon the firm foundations laid in their first season.
“Both these women are individuals of the highest calibre who have excellent credentials, a tremendous passion for Armagh ladies football and, as anyone who has worked with then can testity, exceptional commitment to the cause.
“Their initial appointment 11 months ago was widely welcomed at the time and since then they have gone about the job of managing our county team with complete professionalism, integrity and a great work ethic.
“Other recent developments point to how ambitious Armagh LGFA is regarding the future of ladies football locally and, as chairperson, I am very pleased to be working with two such forward-thinking women who share my vision and drive.
“Although Armagh is a relatively small county, the progressive initiatives we are taking are testament to our determination to be at the forefront of further developing ladies gaelic football in this country, being trailblazers for female sport and competing consistently with the country’s top teams.
“We are fortunate to have some of the most talented and dedicated players in Ireland, who wear the orange jersey with great pride and distinction. Working with Lorraine and Fionnuala, they will leave no stone unturned in their efforts to achieve success for Armagh and this County Board will support them in every way we can.
“Securing a return to Division One of the National League will be the first big goal of 2019 and achieving promotion would be the perfect platform for our championship campaigns at national and provincial level,” she concluded.
Captain Caoimhe Morgan is set to miss the first phase of next season after recent cruciate surgery but confirmation that McCaffrey and McAtamney are remaining in post will help push her along the hard rehab road for the 35-year-old Orchard hero is clearly an admirer.
McCaffrey was part of the Armagh management team when corner back Morgan won her All Star back in 2006 and McAtamney was behind her in nets for that September’s All Ireland final at Croke Park.
“It’s great for the progress of Armagh ladies football that Lorraine and Fionnuala are remaining in post. Armagh needs continuity, consistency and the continued professionalism of these two great ladies.
“Last season was the laying of foundations and the coming year will build on that. This team has great potential and there are no better women to lead Armagh on next season’s journey, which I hope is full of success,” enthused Morgan, who has been playing senior inter-county football since 2001.
Morgan’s endorsement of the management is echoed by triple All Star Caroline O’Hanlon, who said: “It’s really positive for Armagh that the girls are staying on. They’ve proven their value, earned respect and will have strong support within the county.”
During McAtamney and McCaffrey’s first season in charge, Armagh reached their first Ulster final for four years and reached the All Ireland quarter-finals, where they narrowly lost to Donegal.