Paul Grimley has taken the unprecedented step of issuing a statement to offer a personal apology to Armagh supporters and County Board in the wake of Sundays four point defeat to Cavan in the Ulster championship.
Grimley sounded a strong note contrition as he explained the rationale behind their strategy in Kingspan Breffni Park on Sunday.
In the statement, conveyed through the fans forum on Armagh’s official website, he absolved his fellow members of the management team and the players from the defeat and said he was sincerely sorry if the supporters felt they had been “hurt”.
“Firstly, let me apologise to all our loyal supporters and to our County Board who put their faith in me six months ago,” the statement reads.
“If you feel I have let you down with the way we approached the game with reference to our tactics, let me sincerely say sorry for the hurt I have caused.
“I met with the players and management last night and I conveyed the same (message) in what was a very positive meeting.
“I am proud to manage a talented, loyal, committed bunch of lads who were only doing what they were told last Sunday. No blame should be brought to bear on them or my management team as I have a very astute team around me.”
Grimley, who took over from Paddy O’Rourke last year after serving with O’Rourke as his assistant in 2012, reiterated his position that the tactics employed needed time to bed down.
“As to what went wrong, as you may or may not know, we have adopted a very attack minded approach from the start of the year, a high pressure high risk strategy which was practiced throughout the league with limited success,” he said.
“But we will persist with our plan although we shall address the risk element of our tactic and plan B will arrive when plan A is polished as these need to be worked on over months, if not years, to get right.
“Finally I hope that our players, both young and the more seasoned lads can count on your continued support As for my long term position no doubt that will be decided by our club delegates at year end.”
The issuing of a statement of this nature by a manager to supporters after a championship game is unprecedented. In the past a manager or a player may have apologised in interviews but through such a forum as a fans page.
Meanwhile, Derry manager Brian McIver says Joe Brolly's criticism of Grimley was “over the top”.
The RTE pundit delivered a damning assessment of Grimley's capabilities as a manager after last Sunday’s game.
Like Grimley, McIver has experience of being a number two as well as an inter-county manager and insisted: “From a manager's perspective, Paul Grimley was going out last week to do his very best.
“I don't think anyone in the country can question that. All managers are open to criticism, I know that. But the other side of it is that sometimes the criticism can be a bit over the top.”
McIver, now preparing for his championship debut in charge of Derry against Down in an Ulster quarter-final at Celtic Park on Sunday week, said: “On the day, it didn't go for Paul but that's not taking away from the amount of work and preparation that he would have put into it.
“People need to realise that. Through his own work-rate and commitment he would have given it everything. And the game was on a knife-edge at one point.”