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Armagh manager Paul Grimley still fears relegation after successive wins

Armagh 2-18 Laois 1-12: From little acorns mighty oaks grow. Back to back league wins for the first time in four years is scarcely a statistic designed to inculcate fear into future opponents but for Armagh boss Paul Grimley this modest achievement represents a significant phase in his team's development after a depressing start to the season.

Having now totted up an impressive 2-37 in beating Meath and now Laois, Grimley's side might be deemed to have cause for rejoicing.

Nothing could be further from the truth, though, according to their manager.

"We are not in any great position of comfort. We may have five points but to my mind we are still fighting against relegation. Ulster champions Monaghan will represent a massive test for us next weekend," said Grimley.

He may still be shorn of a raft of experience and striving to find a settled blend with the resources that are available to him but the spirit, skill and towering work-rate that ultimately brought Laois to their knees offer considerable hope for the future.

"The thing we have learned from last year is that once we have put in a good performance it's over and done with. In the recent past we might have been clapping ourselves on the back after a win like this for maybe too long but now the total emphasis is on the next game," he added.

The outcome indeed might have been different had Laois availed of a litany of scoring chances that came their way after the break but wayward shooting was to prove their undoing.

They had remained in touch at half-time when John O'Loughlin's 34th minute goal ensured that Armagh enjoyed just a three-point advantage at 0-12 to 1-6, Tony Kernan (4) and Stefan Campbell (3) claiming the lion's share of the scores.

But when Armagh turned up the heat after the break, Laois were effectively stifled.

Fittingly, man of the match Campbell rifled home Armagh's first goal in the 52nd minute and when Rafferty stabbed home their second in the 67th minute the Armagh renaissance was in full swing.

Armagh: P McEvoy, P Hughes (0-1), A Mallon (0-1), M Murray; M Shields, E Rafferty (1-1), F O'Neill; A Findon, S Harold (0-1); T Kernan (0-6, 0-3 frees), K Dyas, C Rafferty (0-1); J Clarke (0-1), S Campbell (1-4), S Forker (0-1). Subs: R Grugan for O'Neill, B Mallon for Forker (both h-t), E McVerry (0-1) for E Rafferty (69), K O'Rourke for Dyas (72).

Laois: G Brody; D Booth, M Timmons, P O'Leary; D Strong, P Begley, P McMahon; J O'Loughlin (1-1), K Meaney; J Finn (0-1), D Kingston (0-5, 0-4 frees), C Begley; R Munnelly (0-2, 0-1 free), D Conway (0-1), B Sheehan. Subs: G Walsh (0-2) for Finn (h-t), E O'Carroll for Conway (62 mins).

Referee: Joe McQuillan (Cavan).

Belfast Telegraph


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