Paul Grimley could yet find himself confronting his home town team in the Ulster Club Football Championship.
The former Kildare No 2 is currently in charge of Monaghan champions Clontibret and should they overcome Dromore in the quarter-finals on Sunday, then they may find themselves pitted against Pearse Og in the last four, assuming that the new Armagh champions see off St Gall’s.
Grimley has had a long association with Pearse Og where he is held in the highest regard and indeed there was surprise and disappointment within the ranks of the Primatial City club when he was not confirmed, as had been expected, as the new Armagh manager in succession to Peter McDonnell.
For now, though, Grimley, regarded as one of the best coaches in the business, is very much preoccupied with preparations for the showdown with the Tyrone champions, a side being tipped in many quarters to land the Ulster crown this time round.
Clontibret gained appreciably in confidence in winning their Monaghan title but Grimley has been keeping his players’ feet firmly on the ground in the knowledge that Dromore, with Ryan McMenamin and Colm McCullagh providing their inspiration, will be a difficult hurdle to surmount.
It was McCullagh’s injury-time goal from a penalty that gave Dromore victory in the Tyrone county final against Ardboe and the former Omagh Town and Newry City player is now viewed as a huge threat to Clontibret’s involvement in the Ulster series.
The Monaghan outfit are not short on defensive options, though. Dessie Mone is perhaps one of the three best right-full-backs in the country, Vincent Corey is an imposing centre-half-back and John Paul Mone can bring his strength and physicality to bear at the back or in midfield as required.
Paul McGuigan and Conor McManus are other key players in the Clontibret side, the latter having hit a rich vein of form of late. He has figured consistently on the scoreboard during Clontibret’s domestic campaign and his pace and accuracy can unhinge a Dromore defence in which the vastly experienced McMenamin and Sean O’Neill will be important.
Two years ago, Dromore fell victims to then Down champions Mayobridge in the semi-final and ever since then they have nurtured ambition to parade their wares on the provincial stage again.