December 7th, 2022


Richard Bullick

New Armagh manager Shane McCormack is casting his net far and wide to ensure that his panel for the forthcoming season reflects the breadth and depth of ladies footballing talent across the Orchard county.

Although he is from further afield, former Kildare goalkeeper McCormack has been very visible at local club matches since his appointment and the ambitious Armagh gaffer is well pleased with what he has seen.

“I’ve been to some 19 club games, from Junior Shield quarter-finals to Intermediate and Senior, and there’s a lot of talent out there in Armagh at all levels.  We’ve eight new girls coming into the panel including a couple of players from junior teams,” he reveals.

“We as a management team have been around all the matches so far and have seen some fantastic talent.  That’s very encouraging and we’ve been able to bring in a number of fresh faces for the season ahead.”

McCormack spent two seasons as assistant manager to Tyrone native Ronan Murphy, who steered the Orchard outfit to an historic hat-trick of Ulster title triumphs, and now takes the helm with former Armagh goalkeeper Denise Hagan (now Jordan) as his number two.

Ex-Orchard county footballer Joe Feeney, who has been so instrumental in the resurgence of Armagh Harps ladies over recent seasons, comes in as one of a trio of coaches along with Tony Reilly and Stephen Sheeran from McCormack’s Kildare.

The highly-regarded Ruairi Grimes continues as strength and conditioning coach, supported by Conor McVerry, with Bernie Durkan as psychologist and Patrick Garvey and Eileen McConville as medical support.

Former county captain Maebh Moriarty, who recently won another Armagh Senior Championship medal with Clann Eireann, continues as female liaison officer with Killean local Barry McAuley filling the role of kitman.

“I’m delighted and very, very proud to be manager of this brilliant bunch of girls and it’s an exciting time because we’ve been there or thereabouts the past few seasons and feel that we’re very close to success,” says McCormack.

“We’ve learned a lot from a brilliant manager in Ronan and the new backroom team has several of the same people as last season in Denise and Ruairi, Eileen and Paddy along with some great additions.

“Everyone in Armagh knows who Joe Feeney is.  He’s a fantastic coach who has done great work with Armagh Harps the last couple of years.  Then we’ve three from Kildare, so the management team is a mix of the two counties.

“Tony Reilly is in as performance coach, Stephen Sheerin as stats and analysis and Bernie Durkan is our sports psychologist.  They’re all from Kildare like myself,” says McCormack who ironically had Armagh’s Kieran McGeeney as his county manager back in the day.

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