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Grimley accepts Armagh need minor miracle

By John Campbell

Armagh manager Paul Grimley’s wish that he might just have a lengthening queue for the two midfield positions in the do-or-die Allianz Football League showdown against Galway on Sunday is closer to being granted.


A shaft of light infiltrated the gloom that engulfed the orchard county squad following their defeat by Westmeath nine days ago when it became clear that Charlie Vernon could nose his way into the frame for a starting place against the Tribesmen.

Conspicuous by his absence since the start of the year because of injury, Vernon was sprung from the bench against the unbeaten midlanders and responded by whipping over a point and reminding all and sundry that he still has much to offer.

If injury tested his patience and resolve then because of it Vernon, brother-in-law of Tyrone ace Sean Cavanagh, located an inner stubborness.

Now Armagh hope to recycle this as fuel as they fight for their Division Two lives against an increasingly depressing backcloth.

When James Lavery hobbled away from his duties in the central area against Louth, his side having already deployed their quota of five substitutes, this served to hand the initiative back to Aidan O’Rourke’s side and they did not look a gift horse in the mouth.

But Lavery returned to face Westmeath, the vastly experienced Kieran Toner is rapidly acquiring full match fitness and rookie Stephen Harold is maturing with each outing, thus justifying Grimley’s faith in him.

With the emerging Fiontan Ó Currain and seasoned stormtrooper Niall Coleman likely to form the Galway midfield, Armagh can expect to be put to the pin of their collar in this department.

“Obviously Galway have gained in confidence particularly now that they are safe in Division Two for another year so they will come to us in bullish mood,” admits the Armagh boss.

 “Yet I believe that our performances have been good enough for us to stay in the division. We have not always had the rub of the green but we know we need to win this game on Sunday and get other results to go for us or we are in trouble.

“Back in November, when I picked this Armagh panel, I had belief in them and nothing has changed in that respect.

“I believe that there will be a time when all of this turns round for us.”

If that time were to come on Sunday and a combination of circumstances contrive to help the orchard county retain their present status, then Grimley would have wrought his first minor miracle in charge.

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