Armagh manager Paul Grimley finally speaks out
‘Hysterical’ reporting kept Ulster man quiet until county’s exit in quarter-final to Donegal
Armagh manager Paul Grimley has a word with Eamonn McGee of Donegal in the All-Ireland football championship quarter-final at Croke Park. Photograpf: Inpho.
After waiting two months to hear exactly why Paul Grimley was so upset about what was being said and written about his Armagh team, it turns out he’s not exactly sure himself.
Blaming their silence against the media on a range of incidents which he ultimately claimed the GAA “is going to have to regulate in some way”.
Despite the general assumption that Grimley was upset by what he himself had described as the “hysterical” reporting of Armagh’s pre-match brawl with Cavan back on June 8th – resulting in fines and suspensions for both teams – his grievance actually stemmed from the day of the Ulster football championship launch in Belfast, and the apparent snub that “not one reporter” spoke to his assistant manager Peter McDonnell.
The question of whether or not Grimley would have afforded us 15 minutes of his time to recount these grievances had Armagh actually beaten Donegal on Saturday night went unanswered, although he did eventually open up on why he and his players had stayed largely silent for the last two months.
“Listen, this was not planned,” he started. “This was a simple thing, that started out over a simple gesture, where we sent people down to the Ulster championship launch, in Belfast. Peter McDonnell represented our management. He sat for two and a half hours, and not one reporter approached him.
“So I decided, prior the Cavan game, we would say nothing. If no one was interested in what we have to say, we’ll say nothing.”
However, that grievance was altered by what happed next, following the Armagh-Cavan brawl.
Three Armagh players – Brendan Donaghy, Kieran Toner and Andy Mallon – received one game bans. Two Cavan players – Martin Dunne and Feargal Flanagan – were also sanctioned and both county boards were fined €5,000. Cavan accepted the punishment, while Armagh lost both their hearing and appeal.
“Really and truly, the initial grievance I had was the way events were reported,” said Grimley, moving his grievance story along.
“It then transpired, because we took a stance towards the media, the media took a nasty stance towards us.
“We had a right to keep our own counsel, and we weren’t winning favour with the media, for doing that, then they started into schoolboy-type insults, towards myself, towards the team, towards the county board. And that’s not acceptable. Even last week out county board was called spineless. That’s a complete disgrace.”
With that Grimley became quite aggrieved again – and called on the GAA to start regulating how their games and incidents are reported: “I would suggest that Croke Park regulates that from here on. Why call amateur people names? When you don’t do it to professionals?
‘The future’“What I’m saying to you is that, whenever I get a phone call, you’re nearly expected to take that call. What I’m saying now is that maybe in the future it is going to have to be regulated in some way.”
As for incidents in Saturday’s game – particularly the minor melee after just 10 minutes, resulting in a booking for Armagh midfielder Aaron Findon – Grimley wasn’t at all aggrieved. “No, I don’t regret that. I don’t regret anything.”