Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 28 December 2014

Armagh's Finian Moriarty following in father's footsteps

All set: Finian Moriarty is in line for Championship action
All set: Finian Moriarty is in line for Championship action

When Armagh reached the All-Ireland final in 1977, Paddy Moriarty was a central figure in their defence, his consistently impressive displays earning him an All-Star award.

His son Finian is a member of the current squad and is hoping to get game time against Cavan at the Athletic Grounds in the Ulster Championship on Sunday, a match in which Paddy hopes to see the Orchard County replicate the spirit and drive which marked their run into the '77 decider.

"We were beaten in the end by a very good Dublin team who were at the peak of their powers," muses Lurgan solicitor Moriarty.

"But I thought we showed a great spirit in getting to the final.

"I think that if the present team can go in against Cavan in very positive mode and put their league disappointment behind them they could get the right result."

Relegation to Division Three has bitten savagely into Armagh's pride.

Indeed, in the aftermath of the defeat to Galway in their final league game which copper-fastened relegation, fears were being expressed that manager Paul Grimley would experience considerable difficulty in lifting his side for the Championship.

But Moriarty, known for his zealous commitment and fierce resolve as a player, is not particularly surprised that Grimley and Kieran McGeeney in particular have played major roles in rekindling the team's thirst for success.

With memories of last year's below-par display against Cavan still vivid, Armagh are under huge pressure to come good on this occasion.

And Moriarty believes that the management team's attention to detail and motivational skills will elicit a concerted team effort on Sunday.

"I was well pleased with the team's performances in the early stages of the league but then they fell away," points out Moriarty.

"The fact that so many players were missing did not help and you could not fault the boys who were in action in terms of effort," he adds.

"There are some good young lads in there but Sunday will be a big test for the side.

"Paul Grimley and his management team have been working hard to get things right and obviously a lot hinges on how the team does on Sunday.

"The players must stand up to be counted and there can be no excuses this time round."

Moriarty makes it clear that he does not enthusiastically endorse the short-passing game to which so many teams currently adhere.

"I have to say, though, that Armagh seem to be able to do this very well at the minute.

"But other teams are sharp in this area too and I just hope that everything comes together for the boys this weekend," concludes Moriarty.

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