Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 27 December 2014

I couldn’t say no to Armagh: Grimley

Paul Grimley
Paul Grimley

Big Paul Grimley has put on record his reasons for choosing Monaghan over his native Armagh.

The former Armagh player and assistant manager stunned the football world when agreeing to join Monaghan’s management team rather than succeeding Peter McDonnell as Orchard county manager.

“Despite what some people might have you believe it was a relatively easy decision to make.

“The thing about it is that there was only one real offer on the table that I had to decide on.

“The bottom line is that no other job had been offered to me by anyone else,” he said.

Perhaps still feeling hurt by the decision not to offer him the job two seasons ago, said: “Before you allow your name to go forward, you have to be sure just exactly where you stand and make sure you know exactly what it says in the small print.

“I was reluctant to go for an interview, but the bottom line was that if I had been offered the job, then I would have had to talk to the Armagh County Board to resolve a couple of outstanding matters.

“That process could have taken up to three weeks, but it was time I simply didn’t have as Monaghan manager Seamus McEnaney had given me a deadline which expired last Tuesday.

“That was and remained the only firm offer on the table. From past experience with Armagh, when I had left Cavan and applied for the Armagh job and been overlooked, I was very reluctant to make the same mistake again.”

Grimley, Joe Kernan’s assistant manager before enjoying spells with Cavan and Kildare, maintains that while he wanted to manage his native county he wasn’t able to operate to someone else’s timetable.

But when McEnaney made contact it was a different story in that everything expected of him was there in black and white and it was a role that greatly appealed to him.

Grimley then revealed that he actually requested a two sentence letter from the Armagh County Board, asking for two specific items to be clarified if he was to remain a runner for the Armagh job.

He said: “The two things in question had absolutely nothing to do with finance.

“All I wanted plain and simple was clarification in a letter signed by both chairman and secretary, but they weren’t able to do that.

“Their inaction convinced me that the only option I had was to take the Monaghan offer.

“I want to stress that there’s no animosity between myself and the committee set up to appoint a new manager. It just didn’t work out because my timetable was different to theirs. I wish Armagh all the best in the future.”

The long hours involved travelling to and from Kildare in his role as the county’s assistant boss under Kieran McGeeney eventually took a toll on Grimley and was central in his recent decision to step down.

Most observers then anticipated him becoming Armagh manager, but that all changed dramatically inside 48 hours. He will take up his new post in the New Year, but in the meantime he will continue in his managerial role with Monaghan’s Clontibret.

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