Armagh county board officers have urged all units of the GAA within the county to adopt a more positive attitude as the quest to find a new football team manager is stepped up.
Chairman Kevin Brady addressed last night’s special meeting of board delegates, club chairmen and secretaries and pleaded for a more unified approach in resolving what has become an embarrassing impasse.
It was decided that another sub-committee will now be set up to resume the process of finding a candidate to succeed Peter McDonnell and recommending his name to the county board for ratification.
It is believed that some officers met with players’ representatives prior to the meeting to ascertain their opinions on the issue although there is a feeling within the squad that this may prove to be too little, too late.
This year’s county team captain Ciaran McKeever along with several of the long-serving players such as Stevie McDonnell, Martin O’Rourke and Enda McNulty have made it known that the squad favoured the appointment of Paul Grimley as manager but now that he has linked up with Monaghan, the orchard county players are anxious that the best ‘replacement’ can be found.
McKeever, who captained Armagh to their 2004 All Ireland Under 21 final triumph and subsequently replaced the now retired Paul McGrane as senior team skipper, is certainly helping to keep the players’ feet on the ground, though.
“We recognise that after we went out of the All Ireland qualifiers this year our squad in a sense ceased to exist and there is the possibility that a new manager coming in might not want to pick some or all of us,” said McKeever last night.
“But the fact is that we have been representing Armagh on the field of play in recent years and we feel that maybe our views should have been sought initially.
“We would not have expected to have had any voting rights or anything like that but maybe if a trawl of the players’ views had been taken before now it might have helped.
It is understood that both he and Stevie McDonnell, one of Armagh’s most celebrated players who has captained Ulster in the past and represented Ireland in the International Rules — as has McKeever — met with Paul Grimley last week but by then it was obvious that the latter was about to pitch camp in Monaghan.