Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 25 December 2014

Former Armagh manager Paul Grimley defends Orchard media ban and hits out at pundit Joe

GAA Football All Ireland Senior Championship Quarter-Final 9/8/2014
Armagh
Manager Paul Grimley
Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Donall Farmer
GAA Football All Ireland Senior Championship Quarter-Final 9/8/2014 Armagh Manager Paul Grimley Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Donall Farmer

Former Armagh manager Paul Grimley, who stepped down last Monday from the Orchard County job after an impressive Championship season, has revealed that the management team had considered employing a PR company to resolve the mess that their media black-out had caused.

"It was something that was happening that at the end of the day we had no control over," said Grimley over the weekend.

"If truth be told, it was getting to the stage where we were maybe going to have to take it to a PR company to solve the problem for us, because we didn't know what way to control it."

As previously documented, Armagh's media ban stemmed originally from what they perceived to be a snubbing of assistant manager Peter McDonnell at the Ulster Championship launch, and later became a reaction to what they felt was unfair reporting of the pre-match brawl before their Championship clash with Cavan.

He suggested that reporters were "cheeky," stating: "I didn't like the way reporters were reporting on it and I thought they were a bit cheeky at times so I said to myself we would teach them a bit of manners. It was something that had to run its course and so it did.

"There were derogatory insults out there, they were calling us comical, calling us childish, they called our county board spineless and the way they were reporting on things, maybe trying to cause a problem in the camp between me and Kieran (McGeeney), that kind of thing," Grimley told RTÉ in a radio interview.

"They were very shrewd in what they did but it wasn't a case of being over-sensitive.

"It's a case that, and I asked the question last week, would this be the kind of thing they would do to professionals? And the answer would be, no, they wouldn't. Because they would know that they couldn't afford to do that to professionals."

Explaining the Armagh management's feelings towards the events of that day they faced Cavan, Grimley explained: "If you were lining up to go into a concert and somebody pushes in front of you, knocks you out of the way to take your place, you wouldn't be too happy about it.

"Really, you would be looking to defend your position and that's what we did. I am not looking to condone any violence or any kind of fighting at all, but what I am saying is we have a right to defend ourselves and stand up for ourselves and we bore the brunt of that."

Grimley also answered a line of questioning about controversial television analyst Joe Brolly, who delivered some scathing criticism of Grimley after their defeat to Cavan in the 2013 Championship.

"Joe saw fit to give me a lash. It was a personal attack and a certain amount of it was true, but Joe can over-react. It's unfortunate Joe has gone down that road, but that's television now."

He continued: "My mother is 80 years of age and she wasn't too happy about it. And my wife and my family were very annoyed about it. There was a rush home here to make sure my mother did not see the TV.

"Maybe people do like to hear other people discredited on live TV and that's the society we live in. But I think it reflects poorly on the people who do it. I would have regarded that as below Joe and I would have thought he was far too intelligent to be involved in that. He should use the skills he has in a different way.

"He is a very articulate and intelligent guy, but he should use his skills for the GAA, arguing points outside the football remit. I think he belittles himself the way he goes on."

With Armagh facing life post-Grimley, the former manager believes Kieran McGeeney to be his natural successor.

"I was already appointed and I took Kieran in," he recounted. "The natural process was to bring him in, in the context that he would step up to be the new manager.

"It was the right thing to do. Kieran wouldn't be your normal number two, he is a manager and rightly so. So I stepped aside to give him that role."

He also revealed his thoughts on the upcoming All-Ireland semi-final between Dublin and Donegal, and said he could not go against the common consensus that Dublin will prevail.

"Dublin will obviously not get the same freedom they have been getting in movement in their Championship so far," he pointed out.

"They are an extremely attack-minded side in their movement.

"The way Donegal are set up they will restrict that, but I don't think Donegal have enough at the other end to beat Dublin. I don't think they have enough in the counter-attacking game."

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