By Shaun Casey
REIGNING Armagh Senior champions Crossmaglen have changed managers for the season ahead, with former midfielder Anthony Cunningham replacing Stephen Kernan.
Kernan led the Rangers to the Armagh title this season with a 12-point win over Granemore, following back-to-back final defeats to Maghery (2020) and Clann Éireann (2021).
Cunningham captained Crossmaglen to an All-Ireland Club title in 2000 and will be joined in the job by Jim McConville.
Beaten finalist Granemore have retained the services of Niall McAleenan, while last year’s league winners Armagh Harps are still on the hunt for Benny O’Kane’s replacement.
Tyrone’s two-time All-Ireland winner Ryan Mellon has joined the Madden management team, led once again by Mickey Grimley.
Barry Dillon remains in charge of Ballymacnab while Wayne Kierans (Killeavy), Ruairi Lavery (Clann Éireann) and Peter McDonnell (Mullaghbawn) are all back for another season.
In Division 1B, Ronan McMahon, who formed part of James McCartan’s Down backroom team last year, takes over at Clan na Gael with Diarmaid Marsden and Joe Lavery stepping down.
Ex-Meath coach Colm Nally, who helped the Royals reach Leinster finals in 2019 and 2020 has taken over the reigns at Silverbridge.
Former Antrim manager Frank Fitzsimmons is the new St Peter’s boss, while Chris Rafferty takes his first step into management as he takes over Grange.
Armagh minor manager Brendan Hughes is set to stay with Sarsfields and is heading into his second year in charge while Patrick Gregory, who guided Shane O’Neill’s to the Intermediate title this season, will oversee the Camlough men’s fortunes at senior level.
Pearse Óg are under new management with Garreth Thornton, who led Belleek to a Junior title in 2021, taking over and they will compete in the Intermediate Championship. Frank Dawson will form part of his management team.
Two-time All-Star and former Ógs forward Ronan Clarke has replaced Shane McConville at St Paul’s while Peter Nugent and Barry Flynn remain with Wolfe Tones and Carrickcruppen respectively.
Kieran Hatzer is back with Culloville having guided them to the Division 2B league title last season. John Devine and Davy Harte will lead Tullysaran for another year while Stephen Reel (Cullyhanna) and Jim McCooe (Tír na nÓg) remain in charge.
Shane Quinn, Caolan Quinn and James Doyle have been appointed to form the Belleek management team while Peter McMahon takes over Crossmaglen IIs with Phelim McGuinness appointed the new Whitecross boss.