NICKEY RACKARD CUP ROUND FOUR
Armagh v Fermanagh
Saturday, Crossmaglen, 2pm
By Mark McGoldrick
NOT for the first time this season, Joe Baldwin is unhappy with a decision taken by the GAA hierarchy.
On Monday morning, the Fermanagh manager received communication from the Armagh County Board to say that the Nickey Rackard Cup clash between Fermanagh and Armagh would be moved to Crossmaglen, instead of being played in the proposed Athletic Grounds.
The reason for the venue change was unclear and Baldwin, once again, feels that county hurling is being disadvantaged by the GAA CCC decisions.
“There is work being done in the Athletic Grounds, the Ulster Senior Championship semi-final must be there,” explained Baldwin.
“It is a wee bit disappointing. We had to do it ourselves this year when we couldn’t have a game in Brewster Park and we had to move it to Ederney.
“It is what you come to expect with hurling at the minute. We definitely sort of feel that we are being looked on quite unfavourably by the GAA but it is what Armagh has decided and we can’t do anything about it and just have to get on with it.”
Fermanagh head to Crossmaglen confident after their 26-point win over Warwickshire last Sunday week.
This weekend’s clash with a seasoned Armagh outfit will be a much tougher challenge for Fermanagh, but one that Baldwin and his players ‘are relishing.’
“They have played at a higher standard for a lot longer than we have and they reached the league final this year in the league above us, so we are very much underdogs heading into the game.
“They are at home, they are very much favourites and they will be looking to cement their place in the Nickey Rackard this year.
“It is a challenge that we are relishing. We haven’t shied away from anyone in the group so far, we were very close to Donegal and Tyrone and confidence is high after last week, so it is a game that we are very much looking forward to and relishing.”
Baldwin made the decision to allow his dual players, like Tom Keenan, Ben Corrigan, Daniel Teague and Caolan Duffy, the opportunity to play in the Club Players’ League competition with their clubs last weekend.
With almost a full complement to pick from, Baldwin hopes that the time away from the hurling pitch will help motivate his players ahead of the clash with the Orchard men.
“We gave the guys the weekend off,” explains Baldwin. “We will get the players back in and assess what the bodies are like after the football.
“We still don’t have Francie (McBrien) and John (Duffy), but we hope to have JP (McGarry) back and that would leave us in a good place for the weekend.”