Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 21 August 2014

Grimley staying calm as calls for McGeeney remain

Tipped: Kieran McGeeney is expected to join the Armagh set-up

The clamour to see Kieran McGeeney installed as part of the Armagh management team shows no sign of abating.

Yet it's team boss Paul Grimley who remains cool, calm and collected as he painstakingly draws up his plans for the 2014 season.

Since McGeeney was shown the exit door by Kildare following a contentious 29-28 vote by club delegates, Armagh has been seen as his logical next port of call.

But Grimley and his current back-up team, while aware of the desire to see Mullaghbawn native return to the Orchard County in some capacity, are pressing ahead with their blueprint for the future.

And although he faced criticism when he initially came on board and removed fourteen players from the panel he inherited and again encountered the ire of fans when he was berated for the tactics he employed in the Ulster championship loss to Cavan, Grimley remains steadfast in his efforts to formulate a new-look Armagh side.

"Obviously there is a lot of speculation on a number of issues but my brief is to do what I feel is best for Armagh and in this respect I hope to bring new players on board," stresses Grimley.

"When you enter team management you know that you are going to encounter criticism and you have to be able to take this.

"When you look at someone like Cork hurling manager Jimmy Barry-Murphy who is a legendary figure in his sport and see the barbs that he was subjected to last year when he made changes, then it's hardly surprising that people like me will face brickbats."

McGeeney is believed to have finished 'tidying up' his affairs with Kildare and while coveted by other clubs and counties, it would seem that he might be prepared to throw in his lot with Armagh, the county he skippered to All-Ireland final glory in 2002.

Like Grimley, he unearthed a fistful of new young players this year and saw them thrive in Kildare's colours even though silverware again eluded the side.

Grimley is even more convinced that youth is the way forward following the All-Ireland football and hurling finals.

"While I admire the way older players performed in both matches, I think that when you look at the contribution of people like Ciaran Kilkenny, Jack McCaffrey and Cillian O'Connor in the football and the marvellous feat of Shane O'Donnell in scoring three goals for Clare on Saturday you just know that they are the faces of the future of he game," stresses Grimley.

"Players like these have raised the bar for other counties such as ourselves and we have to work harder to get up to the standards they are setting."

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