It's a family affair as sons follow their fathers into the Armagh GAA squads
FORMER Armagh manager Peter McDonnell and Martin McQuillan have developed a strong bond on the touchline over the years, but last weekend they experienced a different sort of achievement together.
The pair have worked together with the both the Armagh and Louth senior teams and are currently in charge of the Orchard’s U20 squad, and in a real coincidence both their sons made their inter-county debuts on the same day.
Kieran McGeeney summoned both Ross McQuillan and Eoghan McDonnell from the bench in last week’s 1-15 to 1-9 win over Offaly in Tullamore to give them their first taste of action at that level.
That meant that the duo have become the latest players who have represented the Orchard county after their father has been involved in the management set-up.
Famously, Joe Kernan’s four sons – Stephen, Aaron, Tony and Paul – all pulled on the orange jersey together while Paddy Moriarty, who managed the Orchard county in the late 1980s, saw his son Finnian play in the Armagh defence for years.
Current goalkeeper Paddy Morrison is a son of John Morrison, who was Jim McCorry’s right-hand man when he was in charge in the early ‘90s while, although not father and son, Johnny Murtagh also lined out for the county when his uncle Donal was part of Paddy O’Rourke’s backroom team.
There is a chance that McDonnell and McQuillan junior, who are also with the county’s U20s, could be in the squad for this weekend’s home match with Derry with McGeeney sweating on the fitness of a number of players.
Some of those are touch and go but one man who will definitely not feature is half-forward Ryan McShane.
The Armagh Harps’ man was brought into the squad following the Abbey Park side’s championship success last season and he has really taken to the inter-county game.
His direct approach has caught the eye and he landed two early points against Offaly before he was withdrawn just before the break with an ankle injury. It is feared that the injury could rule him out of the rest of Armagh’s League campaign.
It will certainly keep him out of the clash with the Oakleafers but McGeeney could be able to recall a few others who missed the last round.
Aaron McKay (hand), Mark Shields (ankle) and Brendan Donaghy (knock) could all possibly come back into the defence as the side attempt to rack up a fifth straight win in Division Three.
Oisin Lappin, Joe McElroy and Paul Hughes came in to replace them against Offaly and Hughes in particular put in a good shift.
There is also good news in attack with Andrew Murnin expected to be fit for selection.
The St Paul’s clubman missed the wins over Westmeath and Longford but kicked three points from play in the first half against Offaly.
He shipped a heavy knock though and had to be replaced at the interval but the extra week - due to the postponement of the original fixture - has given him more time to recover.
Meanwhile, Derry manager Damian McErlain may try and get some of the Slaughtneil contingent back for the game.
The Robert Emmet’s players were not expected to play if the match had went ahead as planned on Saturday as it came just a week after their All-Ireland semi-final loss to Nemo Rangers, but they could now feature.