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Armagh wary of Meath's outrage

By John Campbell

Armagh manager Paul Grimley plans to drive home a two-point warning to his squad at training tonight in advance of the forthcoming Round 4B All Ireland qualifier against Meath.

Grimley, leaving nothing to chance in what is an intensive build-up to the eagerly-awaited Croke Park showdown, is convinced that Meath will derive inspiration from what might be perceived to be two 'negative' sources.

"I have absolutely no doubt that Meath will be out to show that they are a much better side than their performance in last Sunday's Leinster final against Dublin would indicate," says Grimley.

"And I believe that the brickbats fired in their direction by former Meath All Ireland winner Bernard Flynn will be another spur for them to get the better of us.

"As far as I am concerned the warning signals are there and you can take it from me that we will be heeding them."

Indeed, Grimley suggests that Meath might well have presented a much bigger challenge to Dublin but for incompetent refereeing.

"To be honest, I felt that Meath had what I thought was a perfectly good goal disallowed at a crucial stage and I have no doubt in my mind that had that score been allowed to stand – which it should – at what was a crucial juncture then Dublin would not have had things their own way to such an extent," insisted the orchard county boss.

And he believes that neither Armagh's win over Meath in the league in March nor Mick O'Dowd's team failure last Sunday will have the slightest bearing on the outcome when the sides renew hostilities on Saturday week.

"We thought we were going well in the league when we beat Meath and Laois in back-to-back matches, but the wheels came off when we got tanked by Monaghan and Donegal and that did not help matters," he pointed out.

"We may have beaten Tyrone and Roscommon in the qualifiers so far but that guarantees us nothing in terms of this Meath game. They will chomping at the bit to get at us and I will be stressing this strongly to my players tonight."

And the forthright Grimley is adamant that Bernard Flynn's scathing assessment of Meath's performance against the Dubs will merely fuel their desire to end his team's unexpectedly vibrant championship run.

Flynn, an All-Ireland winner with Meath in 1987 and 1988 when he was hailed as one of the best forwards in the country, suggested that the performance on Sunday "ripped the heart out of Meath football and set it back many years" before going on to blast it as "a disgrace."

And he added: "It was actually an embarrassment – a 16-point loss to the Dubs when it could have been a 26-point defeat such was the gulf between the sides.

"As a county we need to reassess now. This was a game we were supposedly prepared for and were meant to come close to winning. But we made no impact on Dublin from the very first minute.

"The way we were brushed aside physically was remarkable to behold – something you don't associate with Meath teams."

If the reverberations from Flynn's broadside were felt throughout Meath, then they were certainly experienced by Grimley in Armagh.

"If that sort of stuff is not motivation for any team to go out and do better, then I don't know what is.

"We would be very foolish not to take all this on board.

"Flynn is unlikely to win any popularity polls in Meath but he has been there and done that in terms of winning All Ireland honours and he's certainly airing his views strongly," said Grimley.

Belfast Telegraph

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