Monday 23 April 2018

Grimley set on getting the job done against Armagh

Ahead of this Sunday's Ulster SFC quarter-final at Casement Park, Monaghan's assistant manager Paul Grimley has admitted that he was "very close" to taking the Armagh senior manager's job last September.

Grimley is hoping to plot his native Armagh's downfall just a couple of months after looking set to land the Orchard job which was eventually handed to Down All-Ireland winner Paddy O'Rourke.

"There's no getting away from that," Grimley stated. "But one or two requests I asked for, they weren't forthcoming."

Following Peter McDonnell's resignation last July, then Kildare assistant Grimley was quickly installed as the favourite to land the Armagh job but the situation was complicated for a couple of weeks by the Lilywhites' involvement in the All-Ireland Championship.

After Kildare lost to Tyrone in the All-Ireland quarter-final, Grimley resigned as Lilywhites assistant and the way seemed clear for him to be appointed new Armagh boss.

But the situation drifted without a resolution during the remainder of last August despite the setting up of a five-man selection committee by the Armagh County Board and eventually Grimley accepted the Monaghan role in early September.

"Plain and simple, I couldn't take any notice of it until the season was over with Kildare," explained Grimley. "Once that was over, there was contact made and I showed my intentions.

"From my point of view, everything had to be in the right place. All the right boxes had to be ticked. I had to be totally happy. Unfortunately that didn't come about.

"I respect the decision of the Armagh County Board. They wanted to go through a process. (But) I really hadn't got time to do that. I was was approached by Monaghan and a deadline was put in place. It was as simple as that."

Grimley acknowledged that he felt that there was a "lagging discontentment between the County Board and myself and other parties as well" after he was overlooked for the Armagh job in September 2007, when McDonnell was appointed.

"I had to be careful. Nobody likes to be made a fool of once and certainly not twice. I was fearful of that," said the former Kildare selector.

Ironically, Grimley sees a lot of comparisons with the current Monaghan team and the Armagh side which he -- along with manager Joe Kernan -- helped guide to Sam Maguire glory eight years ago.

"Armagh in 2002 had been knocking on the door for three or four years. We (management) met them for the first year in November 2001 and they were a team tired of losing .

"People were saying at the stage that they were over the hill but they went on to prove everyone wrong. It was sheer leadership and self-belief which brought that through," said Grimley.

According to Seamus McEnaney's assistant, the heartbreaking defeats Monaghan have suffered against Kerry (twice) and Tyrone over the last four years can serve as an inspiration.

"Although, they were hugely disappointing for the players, those defeats have made them mentally stronger," asserted Grimley.

Irish Independent

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