Grimley’s men grab vital victory over Galway

Paul Grimley and his Armagh players managed to protect a position in Division Two on Sunday. Matchday pics by Conor Greenan.INLM15-152
Paul Grimley and his Armagh players managed to protect a position in Division Two on Sunday. Matchday pics by Conor Greenan.INLM15-152

ARMAGH survived the drop in dramatic circumstances on Sunday - thanks to success over Galway by 0-21 to 1-12, plus assistance from Laois against Wexford.

Paul Grimley’s players found winning form last weekend to boost confidence within the Orchard County camp.

In modern times, the county supporters have been forced to appreciate positive events of a smaller magnitude than in the past. Armagh are now no longer seen as All-Ireland challengers but under Grimley - who is as good as they come - they can make an honest attempt to put a provincial final at the top of the agenda.

Grimley gambled on the tactics he believed a soft-centred Galway side would employ and the Pearse Og man knew the Connaught side were akin to an exhibition team who, in footballing terms, were prepared to play the ‘beautiful game’.

“We knew Galway would play pure football and that it wouldn’t be a physical encounter,” said Grimley.

“They let us play and it was all about which side took their chances.”

The Westerners came to the Athletic Grounds with no real promotion ambitions and their manager, Alan Mulholland, stressed that his side had lost the midfield battle.

“Armagh’s two centre men were cleaning up round the middle, which put us under serious pressure,” said Mulholland.

James Lavery and Steven Harold did indeed rule the roost and could be in place for the county’s Championship opener.

Harold, in particular, has impressed since joining the squad at the start of the season.

With Kieran Toner providing another option, Armagh look strong in this sector.

Although Jamie Clarke is still over-seas, Grimley had the luxury of lining out his strongest side so far.

Paul McKeown made his seasonal debut and strong performances arrived from players like Aaron Kernan and Stefan Forker - with Cieran McKeever to return as skipper.

Armagh raced clear with scores from Kernan, Kevin Dyas and Harold for a lead of 8-2 before Galway grabbed a goal against the run of play.

Armagh’s response featured points by Kernan and Forker but Galway hit back to level the fixture on 43 minutes.

A strong finish by Armagh produced five of the remaining six scores to continue the evolution of the squad under Grimley.

ARMAGH ladies recorded a sixth straight win in Division Three on Sunday, by 2-9 to 0-8 over Longford.

As a result, the Orchard County players hold top spot in Division Three in search of promotion.

Mags McAlinden, captain during last season’s Mary Quinn Cup triumph in Croke Park, looks set to return from injury for the Tesco National League semi-final against Leitrim.

Victory for Armagh over Leitrim would secure promotion to Division Two, with the potential return of the Clann Eireann player serving up a significant boost.