Pictured – Co Armagh come up against a Tottenham Hotspur side featuring Harry Winks at the 2012 tournament
The name of Gerry McKee is intrinsically linked with the County Armagh setup and for 21 years he was manager of teams from the Orchard County that pitted their skills and talents against some of the world’s best.
Now working with the Irish FA, Gerry gave us his take on Armagh’s best eleven since the County setup was established in 1992.
GK – David Walsh – David has been a real stalwart in recent years and he was part of the Junior side that reached the Globe semi-final in 2017 when they were narrowly defeated by Manchester United. He’s also been involved in the NI underage teams and is a very highly rated goalkeeper.
RB – Andy Smith – Andy has served Armagh tremendously well over the years. As well as representing the county as a player, he came back and was a member of our Premier backroom staff for years with Brendan Grimes.
CB – Eoin Toal – Eoin really shone for Armagh in the centre of defence and it was no shock that he was snapped up by Derry City, where he is now a regular in their defence. He is very highly rated and the new Northern Ireland manager Ian Baraclough is a huge fan of his.
CB – Luke McCullough – Luke has just returned from England to sign for Glentoran but he made over 100 appearances in the Football League and was regularly called up to the NI squad. He was part of the squad that went to the Euros in France in 2016.
LB – Brian Mallon – Brian had a great career in the Irish League and was perhaps more well-known for his exploits in GAA with Armagh. He won the All-Ireland U21 championship with Armagh and we had a number of fantastic players who went on to star for Armagh in GAA after playing for us on the North Coast (Stevie McDonnell, Ronan Clarke and Aidan Forker).
RM – David Scullion – David played for Portadown at a very early age and was snapped up by Aston Villa. He was in their English FA Youth Cup winning team alongside Steve Davis. He came home and played for a number of high-profile Irish League clubs and had a stint at Derry City.
CM – Cameron Dummigan – Cameron went over to Burnley after impressing at youth level over here. He made the move to Oldham Athletic and played over 60 times for them. He is now at Dundalk and was on loan last year at Crusaders.
CM – Ryan Harpur – Ryan was an excellent central midfield player who was snapped up by Everton after impressing at the tournament and in the Victory Shield. He’s been a constant in the Irish League for a number of years now and was part of the Ballymena United team that reached the Irish Cup final this year.
LM – Marc McCann – Marc was a really tricky winner and loved getting at the full-backs. He was always a threat in the final third and he probably enjoyed his best football at Portadown.
ST – Sean Mackle – Sean won the Junior Golden Boot in 2003 and I’m pretty sure he scored 4 in the opening game at Mourneview Park. He had a real knack of being in the right place at the right time. He deservedly got a move to Hearts before coming back to have a good career in the Irish League.
ST – Alberto Balde – Alberto is probably one of our most recent graduates in this team. He played for our Junior team in 2015 when he was two years young. He won the Bertie Peacock Bursary and was named Player of the Tournament in 2016 and he was snapped up by Middlesbrough and is really making his mark in their Academy setup.
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