THE Management Committee of the Armagh county board met last night in a bid to help smooth the path leading to the appointment of a new football team manager in succession to Peter McDonnell.
Appointment of new boss seems as far away as everWHO’S NEXT: the quest to find a successor to Peter McDonnell as Armagh manager has proved difficult
Amid denials from a county board spokesman that the five-man selection committee tasked with choosing the successor to McDonnell has disbanded, it has now become clear that the selection process has become much more convoluted.
And with followers of Armagh — the team, a dominant force in the Ulster championship for the past decade, boasts one of the biggest and most vociferous fan bases in the entire country — growing increasingly impatient as the team management matter becomes a more controversial issue, the county board is coming under increasing pressure to speed up the appointment process.
The fact that Paul Grimley, initially thought to be a frontline candidate for the Armagh post and even at this stage still enjoying a huge volume of support as a potential successor to McDonnell, has already thrown in his lot with Monaghan and Joe Kernan has been snapped up as the new boss of Galway has added to the feeling of frustration within the Orchard County.
It is understood that at least two senior players from the Armagh side have met with Grimley of late to acquaint him with the squad’s feelings but nothing as yet has emanated from this get-together.
The Ulster Council’s Eugene Young, who has been chairman of the selection committee, was non-committal earlier in the week when queried about the appointment of a new boss — understandably, too, at that juncture given that the interview process had apparently already been initiated — but now there seems to be a growing demand for a further approach to be made to Grimley to perhaps re-consider his decision to link up with Monaghan.
Grimley had initially indicated his enthusiasm for the Armagh post but had apparently been reluctant to undergo a detailed interview process, citing the personal disenchantment he experienced when he was in line to succeed Joe Kernan two years ago.
For now, Grimley will be engaged on important Monaghan club business tomorrow night when the Clontibret side he coaches will meet Magheracloone in the county championship semi-final at Inniskeen (7.00pm) having overcome Castleblayney in last Saturday’s replay.
It is believed that the names of Justin McNulty and Neil Smyth remain in the frame for the Armagh post.
Former Donegal manager Brian McIver has said he will not be the next Armagh boss — but hasn't ruled out being involved in the new Down managerial set-up.
“I wouldn't be managing another inter county team, certainly not next year,” said McIver, who is being linked with involvement in a new Down management team alongside James McCartan and Paddy Tally.