IT was announced over the weekend that former captain and Armagh player, Jim McCorry had joined the coaching staff of Kieran McGeeney’s back-room team.
Jim, whose own club was St Paul’s, Lurgan and for whom he gave years of sterling service, was associated with Armagh county team in the 1980s as a great reader of the game at centre half back. Jim later went on to captain the team and he was part of the 1982 Ulster Championship winning team who beat Fermanagh 0-10 to 1-4.
Jim is better known, especially in recent times, as a successful manager and coach who won the Down county final with Mayobridge (2001) but lost out in the Ulster final.
Later on Jim had a very successful time with Down club Kilcoo, with whom he won four county titles and four Down Division One League titles, but lost out in his only Ulster club final appearance when beaten by Crossmaglen in 2012.
Three years ago, Jim, now living in Rostrevor, was appointed manager of the Down county team and gained promotion for the Mournemen back to Division One of the National League and in many ways he laid the foundation for the Down team who reached the Ulster final this year.
Illness has kept Jim out of sporting involvement these past few years but he is relishing the idea of being back working with Armagh again.
I was delighted when I heard the news of his appointment as I had been his assistant manager and coach in the early 1990s with Armagh.
We didn’t reach the heights of success in our four year term as we were beaten each year by the All-Ireland winner, namely Down, Donegal, Derry and Down again. We did reach a 1994 National League final in that time but suffered a controversial defeat to Meath. In that year, (1994) we exacted revenge on All-Ireland winners, Down in the Marshes by being the last Armagh team to win the Dr McKenna Cup.
In that time we managed and coached some of the finest ever Armagh players like Neil Smyth, Jarlath Burns, Benny Tierney, Ger Reid, Martin Toye, John Rafferty, John and Mark Grimley, John Toner, Ger Houlahan (who received his All-star award in that period), Jim and Oisin McConville, Des Mackin, Martin McQuillan, Diarmuid Marsden, Dominic Clarke, Kieran McGurk, Mark McNeill, Aidan Short, and Damien Horish.
Kieran McGeeney, Armagh’s current manager, Paul McGrane and Denis Hollywood of Armagh’s managerial team were also part of that team and squad.
Jim will bring forensic and deeply thought out ideas to the coaching of Armagh. He will earn his players’ respect largely by his knowledge, know-how and application and by the fact that he deeply cares for the betterment and well-being of every player in his charge and players will quickly realise that and buy into readily and whole heartedly to all he does.
His tactical and game sense thinking and ability are of the highest quality. I’m energised and delighted for Jim’s appointment and I do believe Jim and Kieran will ‘be good for each other’.
In his fourth year of rebuilding Armagh, I feel Jim will be the last piece in the jigsaw on the way to a successful future for the Orchard.
On behalf of all Armagh gaels, I wish that meaningful success will come to Kieran and Armagh in the year ahead.