Armagh players can line-out with colleges, says Grimley

Paul Grimley has confirmed Armagh will allow their third-level players play with their respective universities in next month’s Dr McKenna Cup.

Last year, Armagh, Tyrone and Fermanagh kept their college players within their county squads – a decision which annoyed the university sides with Queen’s pulling out of the competition.

The universities have submitted their squads for the pre-season competition and are waiting to see whether all the county managers are going to release their college players.

It’s expected Tyrone boss Mickey Harte will not allow his third-level players to play for their colleges, but his Armagh counterpart revealed he has had a change of heart.

“The college players are playing with the universities,” said Grimley.

“Last year we had the Crossmaglen players still involved in the club championship, plus we had a lot of injuries so I couldn’t let them play last year.

“Our circumstances have changed so they will be playing for the universities – albeit they won’t be able to play against Armagh.”

Armagh are due to begin their competitive season against Queen’s on January 5 in the Athletic Grounds.

Jamie Clarke, who recently returned from several months in America, will miss the game as Crossmaglen are having a team holiday to Florida.

However, the forward, who missed a penalty and also scored a penalty on his return for Armagh in Sunday’s Ó Fiaich Cup final defeat to Derry, is committed to the county’s McKenna Cup campaign, Grimley insisted.

“Cross are going for 10 days but Jamie is coming home early, I think he is only going for five or six days or a week. He’ll be back for the Donegal and Tyrone game so he is only missing the one game (against Queen’s).

“He is a bit ring rusty obviously as he has been out of football for six months,” added Grimley, “but once he got into the swing of things (on Sunday) I think he showed that class is permanent.”


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