The Orchard County
Athletic Grounds, Armagh
The Armagh County Board of the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) (Irish: Cumann Lúthchleas Gael Coiste Chontae Ard Mhacha) or Armagh GAA is one of the 32 county boards of the GAA in Ireland, and is responsible for Gaelic games in County Armagh. The county board is also responsible for the Armagh inter-county teams.
Kits, colors and crest
Armagh's county colours are Orange and White. Originally they wore black and amber striped shirts until 1926 when Dominican nuns from Omeath, in County Louth knitted the team a pair of Orange and White kits ahead of an Junior clash with Dublin which they have kept since.
Armagh has a long tradition of football. Several clubs were already in existence before the formation of the County Board in 1889. Armagh became only the second team to win the Ulster Senior Football Championship in 1890. In the early years of the GAA, a club that won its county championship went on to represent the county and would also wear the county colours. Armagh Harps represented Armagh in the Ulster final, beating Tyrone (Cookstown's Owen Roes), but losing to All-Ireland Champions Cork (Midleton) in the All-Ireland Semi-Final.
Despite early success at provincial level, national success at junior and minor level and All-Ireland final appearances in 1953 and 1977, it took until 2002 for Armagh to win their first and only All-Ireland Senior Football Championship under manager Joe Kernan. The county won the All-Ireland Minor Football Championship, in 1949 and again in 2009. It lost the 1957 All-Ireland Minor final to Meath.
After a disappointing 2009 campaign which resulted in Armagh being defeated by Tyrone, Peter McDonnell stepped down as Armagh manager. He was replaced by Paddy O'Rourke, who is from the neighbouring county of Down. In his first year as manager, Armagh won the Division 2 NFL title and was promoted to Division 1 for 2011. They remained in Division 1 for 2012 but moved to Division 2 for 2013. Paul Grimley took over in 2013 and after a mixed year took the county to the quarter final of the All Ireland losing by a point to Donegal in 2014. It was the first quarter final appearance since 2008 and Grimley resigned afterwards allowing his assistant Kieran McGeeney to take over.
All-Ireland Senior Football Championships: 1
All-Ireland Under-21 Football Championships: 1
All-Ireland Minor Football Championships: 2
All-Ireland Junior Football Championships: 1
National Football Leagues: 1
Armagh has a total of 24 All Star awards.
Current football squad
Squad as per Armagh vs Donegal, 2015 Ulster Senior Football Championship Quarter Final, 14 June 2015
Like most counties outside of the game's heartland of Munster and south Leinster, hurling has ended to live in the shadow cast by Gaelic football in Armagh, with the exception of border areas such as Keady, Derrynoose and Middletown. However, in recent years the county hurlers have shown a marked improvement under the guidance of manager Mattie Lennon and his assistant Ger Rogan.
In 2006 Armagh won the NHL Division 3 championship, winning all their games in the group stages before beating Louth 3-10 to 1-11 in the final at Breffni Park in Cavan. The step up to Division 2 proved to be a difficult one for the men from the Orchard County. While the team failed to win any of their group games they were unfortunate to lose to Meath and also managed to come within a point of the 2006 Christy Ring Cup finalists Carlow. Heavier defeats were suffered at the hands of more established counties such as Derry and Laois.
Armagh returned to the Ulster Senior Hurling Championship in May 2007 for the first time in almost 60 years with a match against Derry. Despite putting in a strong performance the team lost out on the chance of a semi-final encounter with neighbours Down to an injury-time score.
The advances made in the county over the past two years placed them as favourites in the Nicky Rackard Cup encounter on August 12 against Roscommon; however they lost this game by two points.
In 2010, Armagh won the Nicky Rackard Cup, beating London on a scoreline of 3-15 to 3-14 on 3 July in Croke Park. The Minor team won the Ulster Minor Hurling League Division One title and reached the Ulster Minor Hurling Championship Final. The Under 21 team also reached the Ulster U21 Championship Final.
In 2011 the senior side reached the Ulster Senior Hurling Championship final for the first time since 1946 and made it to the Ulster Under-21 Hurling Championship final for the second year in a row for the first time in their history.
In 2012, Armagh won the Nicky Rackard Cup for the second time, beating Louth 3-20 to 1-15 on 9 June in Croke Park.
Ulster Minor Hurling League Division One Winners: 2010
The high point in Armagh's camogie history was an appearance in the National Camogie League final of 1995 against Cork, beating Galway and Wexford's first teams en route to the final. It came just one year after they qualified for senior status having won the All-Ireland Intermediate Camogie Championship in 1994, the "Premier Junior" championship for the Kay Mills Cup just twelve months earlier in 1993. The bulk of that team had emerged from an under-16 squad who reached the All Ireland final of 1988.
Armagh won Division 2 of the National Camogie League four times, 1980, 1988, 1993 and 1994, and the Nancy Murray Cup in 2006. Armagh qualified for the All Ireland Minor B final of 2003 and won the Minor C championship in 2011.
Crossmaglen won the 2005 All Ireland junior club title. Keady Lámh Dhearg qualified for the finals in 2006 and 2007. Keady Lámh Dhearg and St Brenda's Ballymacnab have won divisional honours at Féile na nGael. Notable players include young player of the year for 2005 Colette McSorley.
Under Camogie's National Development Plan 2010-2015, "Our Game, Our Passion", five new camogie clubs are to be established in the county by 2015.
The Armagh County Board negotiated a number of new sponsorship deals in 2012, including telecommunications company Rainbow Communications as principal jersey sponsor, and Simply Fruit for the Minor team. Previously, the county's main sponsor had been Morgan Fuels, but that 17-year relationship ended somewhat acrimoniously in 2012.