Belfast Telegraph

Friday 25 July 2014

Armagh v Cavan: Orchard win the argument

Disagreements at training were good preparation, says Grimley

Armagh and Cavan players clash as they line up for the parade during the Ulster Football Championship quarter-final on Sunday June 8 at the Athletic Grounds, Armagh
Armagh and Cavan players clash as they line up for the parade during the Ulster Football Championship quarter-final on Sunday June 8 at the Athletic Grounds, Armagh
Armagh and Cavan players clash as they line up for the parade during the Ulster Football Championship quarter-final on Sunday June 8 at the Athletic Grounds, Armagh
Armagh and Cavan players clash as they line up for the parade during the Ulster Football Championship quarter-final on Sunday June 8 at the Athletic Grounds, Armagh
Armagh and Cavan players clash as they line up for the parade during the Ulster Football Championship quarter-final on Sunday June 8 at the Athletic Grounds, Armagh
Armagh and Cavan players clash as they line up for the parade during the Ulster Football Championship quarter-final on Sunday June 8 at the Athletic Grounds, Armagh

It is often said among Kerry football and Kilkenny hurling aficionados, that they know their team is going well if there is a good bit of skelping at training.

Last week, reports emerged that there had been a disagreement within the Armagh managerial set-up, leading to one member walking off the training ground.

When this was put to manager Paul Grimley afterwards he did not deny it, but embraced the friction.

"The thing about our camp is we've got fierce, committed and driven men," Grimley began.

"I know (it was said) there was a hint of disharmony in the camp, that the Cavan camp were more harmonious than ours.

"To tell the truth I wouldn't be disappointed with that because I've never been involved in a team that there was total harmony in. It's not bad going into matches with a bit of a chip on your shoulder.

"If there was harmony in the Armagh camp I'd be a bit worried about it because they'd be all happy with what we're doing. They're not all happy because they're not getting their place.

"Training was tense. That's all it was," said Grimley.

Talking of tension, the pre-match brawl did nothing to cool things in the Athletic Grounds. The raw footage will show that Grimley did more than anyone else to calm the tempers of young men brimming with testosterone.

"It took me about five or 10 minutes to get over there and when I did reach it, I thought 'what took me over'?

"To be honest, I think it was more to do with nerves.

"I think the media built the game up as well. Well, what can I say about that?"

Cavan manager Terry Hyland chose to keep his distance from the affair, with selector Anthony Forde crossing the pitch on peacekeeping duty.

"I didn't really see what happened as I was around 80 yards away from it, why it started I don't know," said Hyland.

"It was an issue over flags and Armagh stood behind the Cavan flag. It shouldn't really have happened and I couldn't do anything to get involved in it."

Grimley was a relieved-looking man after shipping some serious criticism and public ridicule over the past year.

Nobody could have blamed him if he used revenge as a driving force going into this, but he didn't see it that way.

"Revenge wasn't in my mind. Cavan only done their job last year to the best of their ability. They were the best team on the day last year.

"I don't think there's any county in Ireland that's had to live for the last 12 months being lambasted from pillar to post about tactics. Even right up to this weekend, but that's just football I guess."

If Grimley's preferred attacking football was naive last year, Armagh were no debutantes here, mixing the physical with the tactical to smother Cavan's flow.

He said: "My players deserved a day like this because of the work they've been through in the last two years.

"Everything hasn't been great. We struggled last year and we got relegated this year. Boys stuck together, they believed. Sometimes you have to see before you believe."

Asked what pleased him in particular, he replied: "The defensive display they gave and the finishing. Cavan are a good team.

"They probably didn't play to their full potential but they made life difficult for us. We learned from last year."

Last year must have been painful, leading up to the point when he had wondered that if they suffered relegation to Division Three he might have to pay for it by losing his job and he revisited that topic here: "It's well known fact that I'm not here for too much longer and I've said that myself.

"But we'll see what happens. I'm not rushing out the door and I'll enjoy this at the minute."

Cavan head into the qualifiers with Hyland not exactly mining this performance for gems.

"The Championship is all about winning so you can't take anything from the game for us," he said.

"We are in the back door a bit earlier than we would have expected to be, but that's it, we got a good run in it last year. It's up to the lads to prepare themselves to get a run at it again."

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