Monday Blog – Armagh have a problem, but Grimley can solve it
By Niall McCoy
In September 2009, I received a statement directly from the Armagh panel condemning the county board’s selection process for a new manager.
In it they identified a ‘primary candidate… whom the players remain supportive but due to what we see as personal agendas, and a flawed process, their voices have been overlooked.’
Although not identified by name, the man was Paul Grimley. He was the choice of the players, the choice of the fans, the choice of the clubs but, unfortunately, he was not the choice of the county board as some shadow boxing from both sides eventually forced a knock out blow.
Paddy O’Rourke was appointed a month later and the Pearse Og man went to Mongahan as Seamus McEnaney’s assistant.
Fast-forward to July 2012 and Grimley has now been given his chance as Armagh’s leader, but the fanfare has not accompanied it this time.
Over the weekend I took in a few club games in the Orchard county and the general response among the average clubman was a shrug of the shoulders and a mentality of ‘it is what it is.’
Let’s make one thing clear, Grimley’s appointment has not raised expectations too much in the county, and there are a number of credible reasons for this.
Number one, and most importantly, is that he, and assistant Brendan Hughes, were part of the shambles of last year that led to relegation, two championship defeats and O’Rourke’s resignation.
Too many voices on the line caused a ragged gameplan all year, and, in truth, not many could put their finger on what style Armagh were playing.
They kept up the trait of the last few seasons by being consistently inconsistent.
Grimley said last week that some people wouldn’t be happy with his appointment and they were entitled to that opinion, he knows he has work to do.
But with expectations low, Grimley has the chance to make a bigger mark than expected.
For all of the problems last year, one thing that can not be thrown at the management was that they didn’t give youth a chance.
Boys like Caolan Rafferty, Aidan Forker, Gavin McParland and Declan McKenna all got valuable gametime, and all will be expected to push on in 2013 as a result.
Grimley will persist with these guys, and now that he is the sole voice, he will be able to implement his plans in a more forceful manner.
The people that know him are well aware that he is an Armagh man through and through and he will give every ounce to take Armagh upwards rather than downwards.
The first issue should be to install some fight and character back into the team.
I listened to the Roscommon qualifier match on the radio. Armagh were comfortable at half time, cruising. Roscommon scored a goal after the break and I turned to the person I was listening with and said ‘Roscommon will win this.’
It wasn’t pessimism for the sake of it, Armagh haven’t battled properly in years. Grimley has the ability to change that – he’s a fighter.
In fact he has the ability to change a lot of things, and there’s no reason why he can’t be a success.
Armagh fans should shake off 2012 and remember that Grimley has been a respected coach wherever he has went, and that he played a major part in the county’s sole All-Ireland win back in 2002.
He is a man with Armagh’s best interests at heart, and if the county gets behind him, he has the tools and know-how to make the team a challenger in Ulster again.
For too long Armagh football has been at a low ebb, Grimley has the ability to make a statement of his own in 2013 – to prove that he was a good call for the job he’s coveted for so long.