Grimley is open minded
Tuesday, 24 December 2013
ARMAGH manager Paul Grimley believes he is in a much better position ahead of these season's Dr McKenna Cup compared to last year.
As well as a strong management team, the county has had access to Crossmaglen Rangers players, even though only Paul Hughes are Kyle Carragher are the only Cross players fit, Grimley believes he has adequate cover throughout the squad, which remains incredibly young.
With Crossmaglen players going to Florida in January, Grimley will be planning without Hughes and Kyle, for the Dr McKenna Cup. Cullyhanna's Robbie Tasker will be given a pivotal role with Annaghmore brothers Oisin and Ciaran Mac Iomhair expected to shine.
Oisin is an exciting attacking pacey forward who should give Grimley plenty of options up front.
Last season Carrickcruppen's Stephen Harold got a foothold in midfield after initially impressing in the McKenna Cup and after having an impressive debut season in county colours the fitness instructor will be looking to secure his position in the middle.
Young Aaron Findon is a big lad with a lot of potential and Grimley admitted he is keeping an open mind as to who might feature ahead of the National League.
“We have players who are in the squad to develop over the next year or so and we have players who are ready for action," said Grimley.
“But that could change dramatically over the coming months as you could find out that the players you think isn't yet their time.
“They could change your mind very quickly by playing well in the McKenna Cup or one or two matches in the League.
“You have to be very open minded with your panel and very open minded of who can play where and who can come into the side.
“And you are talking about a 21 man game with six subs and who have to have players that can make an impact and when a black card is given to come in at a heartbeat and do a job for you. And that in itself is a difficult task."
Again Grimley is keen to stress that the positions players have for their club may not resemble where they feature for Armagh.
I have often challenged this theory and suggested to Grimley that the skills that natural good club corner-back who has played there successfully for several years would be more geared towards defending without conceding frees than a club corner forward forced to play corner-back for Armagh. We don't expect to see Jamie Clarke playing full-back.
But Grimley quantified his suggestion.
“We have a very strong quad of players and we are well covered in every position," he said.
“And people have to start realising that where players play for their club has no bearing on where they will play for Armagh.
“I have told the players that in county football that the number on their back means nothing.
“If you look at someone like Paul Hughes, the one thing that struck me about him is that as well as being a good defender he is great at going forward and he is not afraid to go up and down the pitch.
“Likewise Paul McKeown, Andy Mallon, Mark Shields, Aaron Kernan, Brendan Donaghy, or James Morgan, they are not afraid to get themselves at the opposition's 14-yard line. That's what I am trying to say." And Grimley detests the introduction of the black card.
“I for the life of me can't fathom why it was brought in," he said.
“If you are winning the game by three points and you don't have any black cards and a player is bursting through on goal the very fact that there is a black card in place is going to encourage you to take advantage of it and take a player down whereas beforehand you couldn't do it or you'd risk being sent off. Now you can replace them."
“My players are fairly clear, a pull-down, a trip, a body-check are all black cards but again that is open to the referee's interpretation.
Armagh begin their Dr McKenna Cup campaign against Queen's in the Athletic Grounds on Sunday, January 5, at 2pm
Armagh's Dr McKenna Cup Squad
Philip McEvoy (Dromintee), Mark Shields (Whitecross), Ciaran McKeever, captain (Cullyhanna), Gary McCooey (Cullyhanna), Charlie Vernon (Harps), Stephen Harold (Carrickcruppen), Kieran Toner (Granemore), Stefan Campbell (Clan na Gael), Stefan Forker (Maghery), Caolan Rafferty (Granemore), Jamie Clarke (Crossmaglen) Eugene McVerry (Mullaghbawn), Ethan Rafferty (Grange), Brian Mallon (Tir na Og), Niall McConville (St Peter's), Andy Mallon (Parnells), Robbie Tasker (Cullyhanna), Kevin O'Rourke (Mayobridge), Oisin Mac Iomhair (Annaghmore), Ciaran Mac Iomhair (Annaghmore), Phelim O'Neill (St Paul's) Ciaran Rafferty (Madden), Niall Geoghan (Middletown) and Finnian Moriarty (Wolfe Tones).
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