Armagh manager Paul Grimley's frustration keeps growing
Things have suddenly gone from bad to worse for beleaguered Armagh manager Paul Grimley.
Just as he was trying to come to terms with having no fewer than 10 defenders missing from his squad for the vital Division Two match against Meath on Saturday night, he has been dealt another hammer blow.
Skipper Ciaran McKeever will now miss the game after jarring his knee in training, while long-serving midfield ace James Lavery will also be an absentee, because of a neck injury.
To make matters worse, the prospects of either player returning in the near future are slim.
Having drawn with Louth and lost to Down to date, Armagh will mount a desperate quest for two points against Meath in a bid to avoid being sucked into a relegation dog-fight.
Now that he has been shorn of a further layer of experience, Grimley faces a tense build-up to what will be his team's most important match of the season.
"We cannot afford another injury. We had hoped to have players back for the trip to Navan on Saturday night, but instead we find ourselves plunged into even deeper trouble," sighs Grimley.
"In addition to the inordinately large number of players already out, Ethan Rafferty is carrying an injury and we're just keeping our fingers crossed that he will make the cut. Our luck appears to be right out. I think that if I launched a boomerang right now it wouldn't come back to me!"
Armagh will confront a Meath side anxious to redeem themselves after falling heavily to Monaghan in round two.
With difficult assignments against Donegal, Laois, Monaghan and Galway looming on the horizon, Grimley is resigned to the fact that several of his players might not see any league action.
"While the medical people have been working overtime in their bid to get players fit, they tell me that caution must be the watchword," he said.
"In the current circumstances, it's difficult to see light at the end of a particularly dark tunnel."