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Grimley returns to Armagh

Paul Grimley is to make a dramatic return to Armagh football as Paddy O'Rourke's coach for 2012.

The Armagh executive last night approved Grimley's appointment to the role, five years on from his departure from Joe Kernan's back-room team.

Grimley had been part of Seamus McEnaney's management team in Meath for the last 12 months, having worked with McEnaney in Monaghan in 2010.

His return to his native county will make it an interesting few weeks for McEnaney ahead of the September 12 meeting of the Meath County Board which is expected to discuss the senior team management.

McEnaney has a three-year agreement with Meath to be reviewed after two, so technically his continuation as manager into 2012 should be assured.

But at the early August meeting there was a request from the floor for McEnaney to address delegates at the September meeting to outline his plans. It's not clear if McEnaney will accede to such an unusual request.

McEnaney is not expected to replace Grimley and may instead appoint Martin McElkennon as a selector and coach, a role he fulfilled for three years with Monaghan from 2007 to 2009 and for three years with Cavan during the late Eamonn Coleman's time.

McEnaney must also find a second local Meath selector, having replaced just one of the two departed selectors in June.

Grimley has now gone full circle in a series of coaching roles. After splitting with Kernan, with whom he shared All-Ireland glory in 2002, he went first to Cavan in 2007 and then spent two years with Kieran McGeeney in Kildare.

Due to travel pressure, he cut his ties with Kildare and linked up with McEnaney in Monaghan for a year. McEnaney then brought Grimley with him to Meath.

His return to Armagh should help heal the rifts that developed in 2009 when he looked poised to take over as manager from Peter McDonnell.

An agreement wasn't forthcoming and in the vacuum McEnaney stepped in to lure him to Monaghan.

O'Rourke has been under pressure in Armagh after disappointing exits in successive championship seasons and he is only being nominated again on the understanding that he would make changes to the back-room team.

Aidan O'Rourke, assistant to McGeeney in Kildare for the last two seasons, had been tipped for the role but he may now link up with James McCartan at Down, where there are vacancies following the departures of Brian McIver and Paddy Tally.

Irish Independent