Revenge is sweet
Tuesday, 10 June 2014
ARMAGH manager Paul Grimley has predicted that the future is bright and indeed orange - but he wasn't getting carried away after Sunday's Ulster Championship victory over a poor Cavan side.
The mass brawl before start of the game only heightened tensions and cranked the pressure and excitement that you associate with Ulster Championship football.
The sheer number of players involved make the incident seem worse than it was, but still when a player gets injured such as Cavan's Martin Dunne and the young Enniskillen Band members feel the need to scatter promptly due to highly charged pre-match jostling, it is worth changing tact.
But the scuffle shouldn't detract from what was an encouraging performance from Armagh and Grimley said that the hurt from last season's Ulster Championship exit to Cavan was great motivation for Sunday's win.
“It was like a replay from last year and thank God we learned from it," said Grimley.
“We were suffering as much as the fans were over results last season and the way things went earlier this year, so I am genuinely delighted for them and the County Board and absolutely delighted for the players."
Players coming back from injury such as James Morgan, Charlie Vernon, Eugene McVerry, Kevin Dyas and Aaron Kernan made Armagh a transformed team from the side that got relegated to Division Three earlier this season. And while the Armagh manager admits that it has been a long and difficult process of transition, he believes that with a bit more work, the Orchard County aren't far off from challenging for honours.
“Whatever happens the rest of this year we will have a fantastic side in the future," he said.
“People have got to understand that after many years of relative success, that it was always going to come to an end sometime. And when that came to an end the changeover was going to be difficult and people didn't seem or maybe didn't want to realise that the changeover would be hard and while it is not fully completed, we are nearly there."
Grimley admitted he would rather play the all-out attack policy he stuck with last year, and it is apparent that his assistant Kieran McGeeney has helped a change in mindset.
“I would rather play the way we played last year but it didn't work, truth be told and I had to learn from it," he added. "It would have been madness to come into an Ulster Championship with an attack only option.
“We came in with a system that is really an Armagh of old, of what we worked on ten or 12 years ago. Of course we had Kieran in the camp, who was the main man in that era."
Indeed, Armagh were strong in defence but still cut a stringent Cavan defence to shreds with lively forward play and had Armagh's shooting been on song, they would have won by a bagful.
And with an Ulster semi-final clash against the winners of Tyrone and Monaghan, Grimley suggested he his not inclined to change tactics.
“In Ulster the matches are fairly all the same. If you went to Croke Park to play against a Leinster opposition you would probably have to think differently," he said.
“But I think in Ulster what you seen today is very much the norm. I don't think it will change that much because I don't think Tyrone or Monaghan will change that much."
Sunday was also a memorable day for Armagh Ladies who hammered Tyrone to reach the Ulster Championship semi-final.
And neighbours Down have had a good weekend too with the Ladies reaching back-to-back Ulster Finals and the men receiving a plumb home draw in the All-Ireland Qualifiers, where they take on Division Four side Leitrim.
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