"I'm not Al Qaeda, I can't threaten them"

20 April 2017

Armagh's Fiachra Bradley in action against Eoghan Campbell of Antrim.
©INPHO/Presseye/John McIlwaine.

Manager Sylvester McConnell is unhappy that Armagh were expected to play an Ulster hurling final six days before their Nicky Rackard Cup opener.

The Orchard County took on Antrim in Sunday's Ulster decider and will open their championship campaign against Donegal this Saturday. Adding to their frustration is the fact that Donegal didn't fulfil their Ulster relegation play-off final against Down last weekend and will benefit from an extra week to prepare for the Nicky Rackard Cup clash in Letterkenny on Saturday afternoon:

“Ulster Council fixed the fixture. They knew we were playing in the Nicky Rackard. If they'd felt us progressing in the Nicky Rackard and maybe getting to the Christy Ring was going to help Ulster hurling, they'd have been coming to me and asking if the game should be off or on. They're not going to change for Armagh," McConnell told The Irish News.

“I'm not Al Qaeda, I can't threaten them. Antrim felt it was a stepping-stone, they weren't interested in changing it. The Nicky Rackard is our championship and we felt going into it, we were better with it off.

“Look what Donegal did, they went away for a training weekend, wouldn't even play Down. Donegal are probably getting more money pumped into them than Armagh is. Who's right and who's wrong?

“We're trying to make the progress through the Nicky Rackard by winning the division, by playing in Ulster finals. We're not going to turn around and say we don't want to play in an Ulster final.

“No one from the County Board in Armagh came to me and said ‘Sylvester, are you looking that game off?' No one from Ulster Council came to me and said ‘are you looking that game off?'

“It's not up to me to hunt down and try and make progress if Armagh County Board and Ulster Council aren't interested in trying to make progress. What happens to Donegal now after they went away for a training weekend and didn't even play Down? What message does that send out?”

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