Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 21 August 2014

Kernan out of running for Armagh job

Joe Kernan has ruled himself out of contention for the vacant Armagh management job, with Paul Grimley emerging as the favourite to replace Paddy O'Rourke.

O'Rourke announced after Sunday's qualifier defeat to Roscommon that he was stepping down after three years in charge.

As his assistant for the last of those three years, Grimley is well placed to take over and become an inter-county manager for the first time after spells as a coach in Cavan, Kildare, Monaghan and Meath.

Kernan has ruled out a return, however, five years after stepping down from the position himself.

“I don't think it's a lifestyle I want to get back into. And anyway with sons still involved I think that would be a factor,” he said.

Kernan admitted “huge disappointment” with the Roscommon defeat and has called for much greater unity in the county.

“There are good players in the county,” he added.

“We possibly need four or five more.

“But we have to get unity. We have to have everyone pulling in the same direction again.

“We've worked too hard to pick ourselves up over the last two decades to allow things to slip back again. I hope whoever comes in will have full support.”

Tony McEntee has committed to a third season with Crossmaglen Rangers, and with a third successive All-Ireland title up for grabs it is impossible to see McEntee doing anything to derail than prospect.

His twin brother John could be an outside bet for the position, however, having managed Culloville last season.

Inevitably, Kieran McGeeney's name will be mentioned and a link-up with Grimley again could not be discounted completely.

Grimley and McGeeney were poised to take over in 2007 when Peter McDonnell got the job instead.

McGeeney still has a year left on his current agreement to manage Kildare and, given his loyalties there, he may be reluctant to move on.

Few counties can claim to match Armagh’s number of high-profile natives currently involved in team management.

Justin McNulty (Laois), Kieran McGeeney and John Rafferty (both Kildare) and Aidan O’Rourke (Down) are some of the Orchard County representatives striving to bring success to counties other than their own.

And due to their commitments, this means the county board might be forced to trawl rather deep to find O’Rourke’s successor.

While the Armagh county board takes stock of its situation, a scheduled meeting of the Derry board tonight is certain to debate the team’s exit from the Ulster and All-Ireland championships.

“It’s hardly likely that we will convene for maybe three hours or so without mentioning this topic,” said one official.

Manager John Brennan is under fire along with his players, but county chairman John Keenan is adamant that all aspects of the year to date will be considered.

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