Belfast Telegraph

Friday 19 September 2014

Paul Grimley won't stifle Armagh's attack

Injury woe: Paul Grimley has lost captain Ciaran McKeever

It's viewed as the irresistible force meeting the immovable object – and with good reason, too.

After all, Donegal and Armagh are acknowledged as two of the most structurally sound sides in the country in terms of defence mechanisms.

Yet when these two teams clash in Saturday's mouth-watering All-Ireland quarter-final at Croke Park there is the possibility that a score-fest could ensue.

Armagh may be known for erecting the barriers in order to suffocate the scoring talent they may encounter but they do not necessarily sacrifice their own potency in this regard.

In their last two games against Roscommon and Meath, Paul Grimley's side have totted up a total of 1-35 – hardly the return of a side totally consumed by defensive measures.

And against Mick O'Dowd's outfit last Saturday, all six Armagh starting forwards scored from play – and that's not something of which too many teams can boast lately. Aidan Forker, Tony Kernan and Stefan Campbell each scored three points in Armagh's 0-18 to 0-13 victory.

Manager Grimley said: "Our defending is normally good but we also put a strong emphasis on attack.

"We have players who have come in and shown they can take scores and we also have capable boys on the bench."

But with captain Ciaran McKeever now out for at least six weeks because of a heel injury, Grimley acknowledges that there is greater pressure on his players to rise to the occasion.

"When we knew before the Meath game that we would have to do without Ciaran McKeever it was a big blow but the boys stepped up to the mark," observes Grimley. "Now we need them to do that again against Donegal."

On Saturday, Armagh will adopt a cautious approach but not to the extent that they will surrender their creativity nor their penchant for landing scores, quite often from outrageous angles and distances.

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