Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 23 July 2014

Armagh manager Paul Grimley tells players to stay positive

Jamie Clarke was in hot form against Meath

Armagh boss Paul Grimley is in no doubt about it – attack is definitely the best form of defence.

And as his team seek to take a giant step towards securing their place in Division Two of the Allianz League by beating Laois tomorrow night, he promises to adhere to the "positive stance" that saw Meath humbled in their own back yard last weekend.

He may still be missing a raft of players through injuries, cynicism clearly remains evident within the Orchard County's vast army of support and massive league challenges against well-drilled teams like Donegal and Monaghan hover on the horizon, but Grimley's vibrant gung-ho approach will ensure that the Athletic Grounds turnstiles will click merrily when Tomás Ó Flatharta arrives with his rejuvenated midland outfit.

Far from cursing the darkness occasioned by a shattering defeat to Down, Grimley instead lit a beacon of hope by formulating an ambitious game plan that sabotaged Meath's strategy and could see his side retain their current status.

The Armagh boss, who has not had his sorrows to seek on the injury front since virtually the start of the season, plans to go for broke against a Laois side that hammered Galway on Sunday.

"I thought the best aspect of our win over Meath was the fact that we didn't panic when their two early goals went in," said Grimley.

"We kept our structures in place, drove forward at every opportunity and the fact that we got 13 points against their six during the greater portion of the game speaks for itself."

Jamie Clarke's haul of 11 points (eight frees) highlighted a towering performance by the elegant forward, while Stephen Harold's immense contribution in midfield and the defensive solidity of Mark Shields and Charlie Vernon, ensured that the Royal county were reined in during the second-half.

"Obviously when you decide that you are going to take the game to the opposition you have to be careful to mind the house at the back," said Grimley.

"We have players who are capable of doing that and I honestly believe that when we found ourselves in a hole against Meath at one stage it was the positive stance which the boys took that helped to dig us out of it."

And he makes no bones about what he sees as a priority for the remainder of the league.

"It's important we find consistency. Laois are a good team and will be well fired up after their win over Galway – in fact, they'll have promotion in their sights," he said.

"This is the kind of challenge our younger players in particular have to get used to, but I feel with the backing of a huge crowd, their increased self-belief and the considerable carrot of cementing their place in Division Two they could just make it back-to-back wins."

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