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Paul Grimley hopeful Armagh duo will be fit

By John Campbell

It is perhaps just as well that Armagh manager Paul Grimley is imbued with a liberal amount of patience.

Revelations in relation to his squad's injury situation would suggest that the Orchard County might be better to raise the white flag now in advance of Sunday's Allianz League Division Two opening game against Louth.

But Grimley is finding solace in morsels of information that persuade him the picture is not quite as black as it is painted.

Two such morsels surround the prospects of Mark Shields and Stefan Campbell seeing action at the Gaelic Grounds, Drogheda against Aidan O'Rourke's side.

They may not quite enjoy household name status but Shields and Campbell offered an insight into their respective talents in the O'Fiaich and McKenna Cups that convinced Grimley they could have a lot more to offer.

That's why he is prepared to wait until the eleventh hour to ascertain if they will be passed fit.

"Much is being made of our injury plight and I suppose you can't blame people for that since it has been well documented," concedes Grimley.

"But we are not quite on our uppers. Sure, there are players we would like to have available but we will have to go with what we have. And I sincerely hope that Mark and Stefan make the cut."

If they do, then Grimley will enter the game in better heart knowing that Brian Mallon, Charlie Vernon, Andy Mallon and James Lavery will be there to bring their experience into play.

Shields is proving a dynamic wing-back because of his forceful running and ability to pick off the occasional score while Campbell has looked sharp when included in the attack.

Louth boss O'Rourke is not immune from injury concerns either. Two of his most experienced players, Brian White and Shane Lennon, will be absent while Raymond Finnegan and William Woods are doubtful.

O'Rourke has tweaked his side during the O'Byrne Cup and believes he has come up with a formation that can provide early encouragement in the league.

Louth, though, tend to blow hot and cold in both league and championship although with home advantage they may have a spring in their step, especially as Armagh will enter the fray still bearing the psychological scars from that humiliating 5-16 to 0-7 drubbing from Tyrone in the McKenna Cup.

Belfast Telegraph


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