Tuesday, 5 December 2017

McCORRY COMES HOME TO ORCHARD thumbnail JIM McCorry is back on the Armagh coaching staff.

ARMAGH'S newest member of the coaching staff Jim McCorry insists he feels a special connection to each of his Dr McKenna Cup opponents including Down.

McCorry returns to the Orchard County, having captained and managed the county before winning Down Senior Club Championships with Mayobridge and Kilcoo.

Three years ago, Jim, who lives in Rostrevor, was appointed manager of the Down county team and gained promotion for the Mournemen back to Division One of the National League, but after losing to Derry in the Championship he stepped away from the role after a vote of no confidence was held.

Armagh play Down, Derry and Jordanstown in the Bank Of Ireland Dr McKenna Cup and McCorry admitted he feels a significant tie to all three counties.

"Obviously with Down because I managed them and I have lived here for 30 years there is a wee special aspect to me playing them," said McCorry.

"Playing Down in any competition I suppose, but even the last time I managed Down we played Derry and we were beaten by a point with the last kick of the ball in the Championship match.

"We played with 14 men for all of the second half as we had Conaill McGovern wrongly sent off in that game and widely acknowledged he was wrongly sent off in that game.

"And Jordanstown is where I completed my second Masters, so I have wee connections with them all and it is all about trying different players and trying things out and getting ready for the League, which starts immediately after the McKenna Cup."

McCorry was previously asked to join McGeeney but fought off cancer before agreeing to take up the role, which was announced last week and with driven men such as McGeeney and McCorry at the helm, the hope is that Armagh can get over the line, where they fell slightly short last season.

"Haven't not coached for a couple of years it is great to be back again. Like anything after a few years out you wonder if I was ever going to go back, so it is great to be back and physically get my boots on and getting back to doing what I enjoy," said McCorry.

"And it is great to be going back to my own county, where I first started all those years ago and in a great set-up with Kieran McGeeney and his management team.

"What people have said to me is that Armagh should have done a lot better than they have. I would agree into the extent that they were very unlucky in some games and some were of their own making.

"But Kieran McGeeney, Dennis Hollywood, Paddy McKeever and John Toal and the lads have done tremendous work over the years and the players have put a mammoth effort into getting where theyt are now.

"From my point of view, I am coming in at a time I feel they can move forward and that is very heartening and hopefully maybe in the few games during the year, where we lost games early on or we should have closed games out, maybe we can correct that and maybe have a wee bit of lady luck on our side and perhaps turn some of those results the right way.

"The prime objective to the early stage of the season is to move out of Division Three."

Paddy McKeever said that he feels McCorry will fit in perfectly to the Orchard management team.

"Personally I am very glad, he gives us a better blend, he has a wealth of experience and he is a passionate Armagh man," McKeever said.

"We have all met as a management team and we are all excited about his inclusion about what he can contribute and we know it is going to be positive.

"I would have known Jim when I was very young but I haven't seen him for years, but he does have that slight aura about him, so instantly you are taken away with him and I am looking forward to learning from him, as well as the players."

Since then McCorry has got his boots dirty and met the players and he has been impressed with what he has seen so far.

"I have been out on the field with the players already and with the McKenna Cup brought forward the players hadn't really done any pitch sessions to get them in shape, so we only got back onto the field last week and we are back again this weekend," said McCorry.

"It is fantastic to be back in and having met the players and had discussions with them and did some work and will do more again this weekend.

"The effort that the Armagh lads have put in is tremendous and they are a super committed bunch of players, they have fantastic ability and it will be good to see that come to the fore over the coming weeks and months." The Dr McKenna Cup gets underway on Wednesday, January 3, and McGeeney's assistant is looking forward to the new challenges.

"The McKenna Cup is valued by all managers because it is the first competition of the year and a way to see their players and assess where they are at, both physically and technically," McCorry said.

"Those are all big games in our section of the McKenna Cup. Down, Derry and Jordanstown, which arguably are the stronger of the universities sides. That's tough competition and it will be nice to get back playing.

"For all managers we want a few players coming through each year and certainly what I have liked about the Armagh panel is that players that have come through as young players are senior now and there is another new bunch coming in and starting the programme.

"And it is roller-coaster, because other than the break for Sigerson, the season starts from January 3, and goes the whole way until the end of March, so it is going to be an exciting time."


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