Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 22 October 2014

Armagh manager Paul Grimley hopeful as star trio bid to overturn brawl bans

Armagh manager Paul Grimley
Armagh manager Paul Grimley

Armagh manager Paul Grimley expects to learn tonight just how strong his team will be to confront Monaghan in the second Ulster senior football Championship semi-final tomorrow week.

An appeal by three of his players against one-match bans proposed by the Central Competitions Control Committee will be heard at Croke Park and the outcome is crucial to Armagh's prospects of reaching the Ulster final.

Andy Mallon, Brendan Donaghy and Kieran Toner are due to appear in front of the Hearings Committee in a bid to have their suspensions, imposed following the Armagh v Cavan pre-match fracas on Sunday week last, rescinded.

Grimley is keeping his fingers crossed that the sanctions can be overturned and is anxious to have a full-strength side to face reigning champions Monaghan.

The Armagh boss insists he has the support of his county board in the campaign to have the bans overturned.

"We will be putting what we feel is a strong case tonight and obviously the hope is that the bans can be rescinded. It's important that the whole focus remains on our match against Monaghan whatever happens," states Grimley.

Dublin-based Mallon, along with fellow-veterans Donaghy and Toner, were outstanding in the quarter-final win over Cavan, a result that has sparked a renewed bout of football fervour within a county which has claimed seven Ulster titles since 1999.

The potential loss of three such seasoned players for the confrontation with Malachy O'Rourke's buoyant Monaghan would be a massive blow to the Orchard County.

The flare-up between members of the opposing teams made national headlines – something that is known to have disappointed Grimley in particular, who continues to back the stance taken by his side in respect to their positioning in the already infamous pre-match parade.

Farney county boss O'Rourke will certainly be among those paying close attention to tonight's hearing.

"Armagh are going to present a serious obstacle to us. I was very impressed with their performance against Cavan. They are very physically strong so we have to keep our heads down and prepare as best we can for them," said O'Rourke.

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