DROMINTEE manager John Kennedy has said that it’s important that the 2020 Armagh County Leagues are played out to a finish when the action does eventually resume this year.
The current Covid-19 situation means that the plans remain up in the air, although it’s understood that the Armagh County Board remain committed to playing out the games for two main reasons.
Firstly, with only a few rounds of fixtures left it wouldn’t take long to complete. Secondly, if they went straight to a 2021 league season then there would be serious headaches surrounding teams that were in line to be promoted and relegated.
Neither of those issues are a concern to Dromintee though with the south Armagh side sitting top of the Senior A league with four games left. It is likely that two wins from those fixtures would be enough to secure the club’s second-ever Senior League title.
Kennedy, however, said that it would be right to play it out, even if his side are overtaken in the final rounds.
“Obviously we are in a good position, but strong teams like Ballymacnab and Crossmaglen and others are still in there so we are not guaranteed anything,” said Kennedy.
“Even if we do lose out to one of those, I think it’s important to play them out. We put so much in last year in difficult circumstances, as did all clubs, and it just seems like it would be unfair for that season not to be finished.
“Really it wouldn’t take long when the situation, hopefully, improves. You play on a Friday and Sunday and it would be an extra week or two onto the season. When we do get back you’d imagine players will want games week-on-week rather than lots of training.
“For now though we are all just waiting to see what happens with Covid. I spoke last year about how seriously we took it in our camp and the boys were excellent when it came to being safe around the games.
“It’s looking like we may have to have measures in place again this season to deal with it, but GAA clubs the length and breadth of the country have shown that they can adapt so well.”
Although Dromintee excelled in the league last year, taking 11 points from 12 before the whistle blew prematurely, they were dumped out in the first round of the championship by eventual champions Maghery.
Kennedy said that players and management had reflected on the loss and he hopes that the hurt drives the side on this year.
“It was, of course, straight knock-out last year and when you were drawn with Maghery then you knew you had one of the worst draws,” he said.
“Still, we cannot blame a hard draw because we just didn’t perform on the day. You get days when nothing goes right and we had one of those.
“Fair play to Maghery though, they looked good that day and went all the way in the end.
“There are a lot of very good teams in Armagh at the moment so you have to be tuned in and working hard.”
Kennedy and his coach, former Down midfielder Stephen Kearney, are back for a third season.
County champions Maghery also will have Finnian Moriarty for a third campaign while Stephen Kernan is staying with Crossmaglen for a second term. Stephen Reel is also remaining as Cullyhanna manager while Peter Nugent will remain with Grange.
Ronan Clarke has moved on from Silverbridge with Kevin Franklin replacing him.
Ballymacnab have also made a change with Monaghan man Mick O’Dowd replacing his former Oriel teammate Bernie Murray. Warrenpoint man Ronan McMahon, who was previously part of the Down minor management team, will act as coach.
Some teams, such as Camlough pair Shane O’Neill’s and Carrickcruppen are still finalising their management teams.