Following last season's enterprising campaign, which was halted only at the provincial final stage, County Armagh started out on the 2019 All-Ireland Four-Ball Trophy road with a first-round clash against Clogher Valley.

With Tim Teahan having vacated the captaincy hot-seat after a couple of very productive years at the helm, new skipper Colm Shannon took his crew to Fivemiletown for the first leg on Sunday 7 April. A 4-1 reverse would ensue here but, as they concluded halfway proceedings a mere six holes down, County Armagh's hopes of progression remained very much alive.

0105191

Indeed, such belief proved justified seven days later, when Colm's charges turned in a dominant second-leg performance in the Cathedral City.

Comfortable wins for Eamon Connolly/Gareth Frizzell, Cathal Cullen/Stephen Miller and Paul Kelly/Gavin McElmeel soon put the home side right back in the frame. And as the often crucial hole count was now in their favour, County Armagh needed only one more point to secure a second-round berth. 

Match no.4 was a tense encounter from which Brian Clelland/Gerry Kelly eventually emerged with a half, before Davy Spratt's magnificent approach to the 18th closed out his game alongside playing partner, Andrew McBurney, and, consequentially, sealed overall victory for his team.

County Armagh's triumphant first round panel consisted of Brian Clelland, Eamon Connolly, Cathal Cullen, Anthony Fagan, Gareth Frizzell, Gerry Kelly, Paul Kelly, Gary McAleavey, Andrew McBurney, Gavin McElmeel, Tomas McElmeel, Stephen Miller, Davy Spratt and Paul Wasson.

Next up for the All-Ireland Four-Ball trophy men is a meeting with Gracehill in Ballymoney on Sunday 5 May. Captain Colm is keen to hear from anyone in the 14-20 handicap bracket who would be interested in joining his squad.

Meanwhile, Marty Daly's Ulster Cuppers, beaten finalists in the competition last year, have suffered an early first-round exit at the hands of Murvagh of Donegal. They will give it another rattle in 2020.