Monday 20 January 2020

Armagh's Grimley urges GAA to regulate media behaviour

Armagh manager Paul Grimley
Armagh manager Paul Grimley

AISLING CROWE

ARMAGH manager Paul Grimley broke his self-imposed vow of silence last night to call for regulation of the media by Croke Park.

Speaking after his side narrowly lost their All-Ireland quarter-final to Donegal, he called on Croke Park to take action against the media and impose restrictions on how they operate.

"I would suggest that Croke Park regulates the media from here on in because, I know you have a job to do and that's to be respected. I'm not being disrespectful for the sake of it, I'm being disrespectful at this time to people who disrespect us," said Grimley.

"What I'm saying to you is that, whenever I get a phone call at three or four in the afternoon or 11 in the morning, you're nearly expected to take that call. What I'm saying now is that maybe in the future it is going to have to be regulated in some way."

Grimley accused the media of engaging in 'ugly' behaviour which he claimed only served to escalate the dispute and forced Armagh into remaining silent.

"We took a stance towards the media and the media took a nasty approach to this. An ugly side of the media appeared, so it only enforced the decision that we made to keep that going. It became a situation where, because we had a right to keep our own counsel and we weren't winning favour with the media for doing that, then they started into, as I've said, schoolboyish-type insults and stuff like that towards myself, towards the team and towards the county board. That's not acceptable to anybody."

He also levelled charges at the media of treating GAA people and those involved in an amateur sport with less deference and respect than professional sports people.

"You don't do it to professionals, I can assure you," he argued, before rowing back slightly and adding, "well, maybe you do . . . but you don't do it to professionals so why do it to amateurs? Why call amateurs names and insult them when you don't do it to professional people?

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"Even last week our county board was called spineless, that's completely a disgrace that anybody can stand by that, of men who give their lives, our chairman has given five good years to the county and to turn around and call them spineless by someone who doesn't even know them. . ." he trailed off.

Grimley, who was involved in a couple of heated exchanges during the match, said he felt some of the frees awarded to Donegal were generous.

When asked if he was remonstrating with referee Joe McQuillan as he encroached on the pitch and moved towards the referee in injury time, Grimley responded: "The ball was kicked away and I ran onto the pitch to make sure that he gave us the appropriate advantage."

Tempers flared during the first half and Grimley got up close and personal with a Donegal player on the sideline before assistant Kieran McGeeney intervened. Grimley said of the Donegal player: "He just wanted to get a closer look at me."

There has been speculation that Grimley may make way for McGeeney next year and he did little to quell the speculation.

"There is no better man to lead Armagh forward than Kieran McGeeney. Whether that is the case or not is irrelevant at the moment. I have made my position very clear from the day I took over this but we will see. I have a lot of people to talk to before I make it public. The management team and the county board will have to speak to them. Whether I am involved or not next year is irrelevant at this stage, what is important is the progress that these boys have made. Certainly McGeeney is the man to keep that going if that is the case." When pressed to elaborate Grimley said: "I'm quite happy to do whatever Armagh wants me to do."

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