Old hands on deck for Armagh’s first outing in cup
Armagh manager Paul Grimley has thrown down the gauntlet to his senior players for next weekend’s Power NI Dr McKenna Cup opener against Cavan at the Athletic Grounds.
“I want the senior players to set the template for the younger guys who will be in the team,” explained Grimley.
“Obviously we are short a number of players for various reasons but the fact of the matter is that the 15 players who will start this game and those on the bench will be representing Armagh so certain standards will be expected from them.”
Grimley has already taken stock of Cavan’s performance against Down on Sunday and although Terry Hyland’s side lost that game, the new Armagh boss believes that they will provide a stern test for his untried outfit.
“Cavan have won back-to-back Ulster Under 21 championship titles and this is surely a measure of the talent that Terry has at his disposal,” points out Grimley.
“He has players coming through strongly just now and having lost to Down they will be very keen to put one over on us.”
For this reason, Grimley is looking to Ciaran McKeever, Brendan Donaghy, Brian Mallon and Finian Moriarty among others to set the tone for Armagh’s forthcoming display.
“I am hoping that our more established players can provide the inspiration for our performance.
“The fact that the match is at home is a help but Cavan will be fit and eager and we have to be prepared for this,” Grimley also warned.
Cavan appear to have unearthed a gem of a forward in Martin Dunne who scored 0-9 in the 1-11 to 0-12 defeat to Down last Sunday with seven of his points coming from open play.
Elsewhere, Gearoid McKiernan proved an imposing presence at midfield, John McCutcheon worked tirelessly in defence and Mark McKeever brought his considerable experience into play up front.
As a result, Grimley has been provided with considerable food for thought as he prepares to make his competitive baptism in charge of the Orchard county squad.
“Our training has been going well and the boys are clearly very committed.
“However you don’t know the real ability of new players in particular until they are tested under match conditions,” Grimley stated.
“I feel it is vital that our established players step up to the mark and show the way for the newer players.
“We must try and get into our stride early on,” Grimley added before going on to say, “Cavan will come to us with a match under their belts and they will be very keen to step up on their display against Down.
“So the challenge now facing us is to build up a head of steam early doors and try and establish a lead.”