Chris Parker dreaming of special four-in-a-row for Armagh

Armagh are bidding to be the first club to win the Senior Cup four times in a row since North achieved the feat in 1896.

By Ciaran Donaghy
Saturday, 14th May 2022, 8:00 am

The Palace Grounds side face Queen’s at Kingspan Stadium this afternoon (3.30pm ko) and coach Chris Parker feels this could potentially be the trickiest final Armagh have faced on their cup run.

“It is going to be hard this year as well, there is no two ways about it that you could look at this as the most difficult of the four finals against one of the most in-form teams in the country taking away their play-off final result,” stated Parker.

“It certainly would be something very special to win four in a row, only a handful of guys will have played across all four finals, and it would be fairly special if we could achieve it.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

Armagh Coach Chris Parker. Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Bryan Keane

“At the start of the year the boys really don’t set goals and we don’t worry about the senior league that much, but they do see that day out at Kingspan as that big thing as very few club players get to play there and for that opportunity alone it is something they are very interested in.

“It also potentially leads into the Bateman Cup as well so you potentially get to test yourself against 1A sides next season.

“There re a lot of positives for the club, and it is something that we really look forward to, it would be special but it is going to take a massive effort to get there.”

Armagh missed out of the Division 1B play-offs.

“We wanted to try and push on in the AIL and while we finished sixth, when we looked at the table and some of our performances throughout the season, we felt we could and had the ability to finish higher ,” said Parker. “That is something that we are going to have to try to address over the summer and it is something that we certainly feel there is more in the tank.

“Hopefully we can produce a performance capable of some of the wins we had this year rather that some of the poor performances we had a times as well.”

The last time the final was contested before the Covid pandemic was in 2020. Shea O’Brien’s try in injury time gave Armagh a 38-34 win over Ballynahinch, since then the full back has been handed a development contact by Ulster and has played for Ulster A.

“We’re all delighted for Shea and that cup final was maybe when a few other people took notice of him even though he had a great season that year,” Parker said.

“Cup finals in any sport you sort of want those moments of magic to win games and I think both sides have players capable this weekend. It could be a quite high scoring affair and both teams have boys who have that X-factor and open a game up so it could be a good one for the neutral.”

Before the Senior Cup final Armagh 2nd’s face Clogher Valley in the Junior Cup final (1pm).

Parker said: “It’s fantastic.It’s a huge day for the club, the seconds had a fantastic performance against Instonians in the semi-final when they were massive underdogs, and there is no doubt that they will need to produce a similar performance again the All Ireland Junior Cup champions.

“It would be really special if we could win two trophies ,but given the opposition we’re playing could easily come away with nothing, it is a great day for the club.”

Centre Chris Colvin is ruled out by injury of facing his old club.