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Paul Grimley opens up on Armagh media ban

Updated: Saturday, 16 Aug 2014 22:30 | Comments

Paul Grimley: 'When we weren't speaking to them, the media took on a different side to them and I felt it was a nastier side'
Paul Grimley: 'When we weren't speaking to them, the media took on a different side to them and I felt it was a nastier side'

Audio

Former Armagh manager Paul Grimley has spoken to RTÉ about his team's media ban this season.

Armagh had refused to speak to the media in protest at what they saw as biased reporting following a brawl at the Ulster quarter final against Cavan. 

“It started off fairly harmlessly," he said. "The Ulster championship was launched and we sent Peter McDonnell [assistant manager]. Peter is a former manager and he’s very articulate.

“He was there for two and a half hours and nobody thought it worthwhile interviewing him. He was rightly upset about it and when he told me I thought ‘well if nobody’s interested in what we have to say then we’ll not be saying anything to anybody’.

“I said, we’ll suspend this till after the Cavan game, and that’s what we did. I did the interviews as normal on match day, but it took another turn, I wasn’t happy about a certain way the Cavan incident [pre-match row] was reported.

“My team lined up in an orderly fashion. They did nothing wrong, in fact they defended themselves and I felt some of the reporting afterwards was bordering on the hysterical.

“People were saying women and children had to run for cover and that we targeted players on the Cavan team. It got out of hand really.

“It’s an unwritten rule that the home team lines up on the inside. They could have swapped the flags.

“I thought our boys defended themselves and got punished for it - we came out of it with three suspensions and Cavan came out of it with two.”

“I’m not condoning any type of violence but we had a right to defend ourselves and that’s what we did but we bore the brunt of it.”

“It’s doesn’t matter here nor there now but at the time it really annoyed me and annoyed the camp and it went on from there.

Grimley said he was surprised by how the situation escalated and that some of the media reaction to the team's vow of silence was over the top.

“When we weren’t speaking to them, the media took on a different side to them and I felt it was a nastier side," said Grimley.

“There were derogatory comments, they were calling us childish, ignorant, calling our county board ‘spineless’.

“Would this be the type of thing they would do to professionals? The answer is no - they would know they couldn’t afford to this to professionals.”

“The media started to create a story about us not speaking, rather than the reasons behind it, and it became more about their situation.”

Grimley insists the media boycott had little effect on the team, either positive or negative.

“It wasn’t a big issue,” he said. “It was never mentioned between management and players.

“There were issues maybe between ourselves [team management] and the county board,  we spoke about it, but really it had no effect at all on the team."

Listen to the full interview here

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