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Armagh set to put faith in Grimley

Armagh club delegates will meet tonight when the formal seal of approval is expected to be given to Paul Grimley’s appointment as the new manager of the county football team.

Grimley’s credentials as successor to Paddy O’Rourke were discussed at a management committee meeting on Tuesday night and the Pearse Og clubman is now set to take over the reins just when the county’s football fortunes are at their lowest ebb for some time.

O’Rourke stepped down in the wake of the shock defeat by Roscommon in the All-Ireland qualifiers.

Under his three-year stewardship, Armagh failed to win an Ulster title and were relegated from Division One of the league in April when they lost their last game to Donegal after having built up a four-point half-time lead.

Grimley had served as No 2 to O’Rourke having previously worked in the same capacity with Joe Kernan when Armagh won the Sam Maguire Cup for the only time to date in 2002.

In the interim he had been lieutenant to Kieran McGeeney in Kildare and had spent a season working as assistant to Meath boss Seamus McEnaney.

Grimley’s impending appointment comes as no real surprise given his commitment to Armagh and his obvious determination to restore the county’s football pride.

Armagh won seven Ulster titles between 1999 and 2008 but Grimley will require time and the wholehearted support of his county board as he bids to rekindle some of that glory.

Under O’Rourke a number of new young players were introduced to the county squad and many have already made an impression during the league and championship this year.

Grimley is intent on further nurturing this fresh platoon of talent in the hope that it will form the nucleus of the Armagh side of the future.

A highly-respected coach, Grimley, as well as having garnered considerable inter-county experience, has also worked with several clubs including top Monaghan side Clontibret.

In the immediate aftermath of O’Rourke’s departure he said: “I think there are foundations on which to build in Armagh but it will take time.

“Obviously fans had grown accustomed to Ulster success in particular but those days are over for the time being at least.

“Whoever takes over will have to start from scratch and try and get into a position where we can challenge the stronger teams.”

l ULSTER Council president Aoghan Farrell has hailed what he described as the “staggering response” of fans to the Ulster Championship.

The series attracted a total of 124,000 followers.

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