GAA Football

'Geezer' would give up All-Ireland medal for Ulster glory: former Armagh boss Paul Grimley

Paul Grimley says opportunity knocks for this group of Armagh players Picture: Seamus Loughran

PAUL Grimley believes Kieran McGeeney would give up his All-Ireland medal to see this group of Armagh players make the provincial breakthrough in 2021.

Speaking ahead of tomorrow's fascinating Ulster semi-final between Armagh and Monaghan at Pairc Esler, Grimley is confident his native county can make their first Ulster final appearance since 2008.

Peter McDonnell, a Mullaghbawn club-mate of McGeeney's, was the man who last guided the Orchard men to the Anglo-Celt Cup, beating Fermanagh over two intriguing games in the final, a year after ‘Geezer' retired from inter-county football.

Since then, Armagh have rarely threatened reaching a provincial final, falling at the semi-final hurdle four times in the intervening period - 2011 (to Derry), 2014 (to Monaghan after a replay), 2019 (to Cavan after a replay) and 2020 (to Donegal).

Now in his seventh year as manager and having endured some tough provincial defeats in that period, McGeeney is hoping for a different outcome to tomorrow's last four clash.

Grimley, who handed the reins over to his assistant and close friend at the end of 2014, said Armagh have a huge opportunity in front of them.

“The potential at some stage has to be realised otherwise you're going to be patting boys on the back for 10 years,” said Pearse Og clubman Grimley who coached Armagh to All-Ireland glory in 2002.

“They have to make the breakthrough and bring it all to the table because they're into the last four and nothing's easy. Kieran will know this himself – you have to go out and play without fear.

“It might be there in the first 10 or 15 minutes but it has got to go after that and win the match by playing football.

“I think in this point in time Kieran would give up his All-Ireland medal to get these lads an Ulster title. I think that's how much it means to him. He really wants these lads to fulfil their potential.”

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GAA Football