Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 17 September 2014

Armagh boss Grimley left to curse his luck

Armagh manager Paul Grimley
Armagh manager Paul Grimley

Armagh manager Paul Grimley is not prone to making a drama out of a crisis but he could be excused for believing that the gods are conspiring against him as he strives to keep his side in Division Two of the Allianz Football League.

In going under to Louth at home on Saturday (0-12 to 0-10) Armagh were without key defenders Aaron Kernan and Ciaran McKeever, midfield strongman Kieran Toner and the red-hot Jamie Clarke in attack.

Now Grimley is confronted by even bigger problems as he prepares for Sunday's make or break showdown with unbeaten Westmeath at Cusack Park, Mullingar.

Not only are Kernan and McKeever still rated doubtful but Grimley's midfield options have been further restricted following the thigh injury incurred by James Lavery in the last quarter against Louth.

Lavery, who had been outstanding in the central area where his aerial ability had underpinned Armagh's attacking strategy, had to be helped from the field and could be out for a few weeks.

"I was gutted to have to come off. We were in with a chance of winning the game but when we were down to thirteen men this paved the way for Louth to close the game out," admits Maghery clubman Lavery.

Lavery's withdrawal from the action followed the earlier retirement of corner back James Morgan with a hamstring injury.

He too is unlikely to play against Westmeath and manager Grimley will certainly have to trawl deeply within his squad if he is to come up with a formation that can halt the midlanders' promotion surge.

Grimley admits that a repetition of this lack of fire-power could have serious repercussions against Westmeath.

"We had enough chances to make that game safe but we did not take them. No matter how well you are playing if you don't put the ball between the sticks it counts for nothing.

"We had controlled the game for spells and should have been able to make more of our territorial advantage," he stated.

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