Armagh 1-11 Cavan 3-09
NEW Armagh boss Paul Grimley handed eight players their County debuts lass Saturday night at the Athletic Grounds but the result of this opening McKenna Cup game went the way of the visitors from Cavan thanks to two first half goals.
Grimley (right) had his stamp all over the game, the home sides tackling particular in the second half was commendable, but the Armagh men were forced to chase the game from the time when Martin Dunne rattled the Orchard net on nine minutes. Dedutants included St. Peter’s attacker Niall McConville who showed well for the ball and registered his first point in an Armagh jersey inside the opening quarter. With a midweek game away to Down bringing to an end the County’s involvement at least in the league stages of the competition, the new manager can look forward to hauling his side out of the Second Division.
Speaking after the game Grimley said, “The County set up needed a good shake up. To be fair maybe it should have been done a couple of years ago.
“We would like to give as many players as possible game time yet we would also need to win matches in the National League,” explained the manager
A player who had been left out of the panel during the former manager’s reign Stefan Forker finished last Saturday’s game as top Armagh scorer with six points. Stefan’s brother Aidan captained the side from his centre half back position where he had an impressive outing.
While the Armagh midfield pairing of new boy Steven Harold and Ciaran Toner certainly had their moments it was the performance from Breffni midfielder Gearoid McKiernan which cushioned his side to victory as he shot four points from play all at crucial stages and when the home side were struggling to gain a foothold. Although starting slowly and falling behind to two early Cavan goals, Armagh rallied gamely and thanks to a well worked Gavin McPartland goal brought the half-time deficit back to two points.
With the visitors swarming their defence and breaking at speed Paul Grimley’s side found it difficult to create clear cut chances. With Queen’s University pulling out of this seasons McKenna Cup competition the two games in the series will give the County’s management the opportunity to run the rule over squad members.
Early indications are suggesting that Sarsfield’s Michael Stevenson and Stefan Campbell from Clan Na Gael will start in the midweek game against derby rivals Down. Last Saturday nights game was a first for the County, the match was shown live on the internet via the new Armagh TV.