Armagh boss McGeeney reflects on ‘a good day out’
By Caoimhín Reilly
Kieran McGeeney is not somebody who publicly expresses much emotion, but the Armagh manager was full of praise for his team after yesterday’s victory over Louth in Drogheda.
“We’re trying to bring the culture back into Armagh that it’s a great honour to wear the jersey,” the county’s 2002 All-Ireland winning captain said.
“That takes time but the fellas are keen and they’re putting in a good shift.
“Losing a couple of players for today who have been playing well (was the most pleasing aspect) and then with the players coming in sticking to the same system and process and getting the result.
“Mark Shields was a big blow in terms of (losing) our paciest defender, but Gregory McCabe came in and done a great job, Ciaran McKeever came in and done a great job and Aaron Findon too. Everyone came in and done their jobs.
“I thought Stephen Sheridan was exceptional for us in the middle for us today, himself and Niall Grimley were absolutely superb. Those two were definitely leaders today.
“We moved the ball well and the players were trying to look out for each other and give the simple pass and not complicate it.
“We scored well, even against the breeze and up the hill, so it was a good day out.
“The bottom line is though that we’re still third and they’re still top so we still have a lot of work to do, (but) it is good for us to come away with the two points.
“Putting it into context though it has been a tough few days for Colin and his family and I’m sure it was hard (for him) to come here and get involved in a game,” McGeeney added.
The early dismissals of Aidan Forker (Armagh) and Anthony Williams (Louth) set the tone for a feisty affair and the Orchard boss feels that Forker was unlucky to have seen red.
“Aidan Forker was very unfortunate. The ref says he didn’t see it and Aidan was in possession of the ball so he deemed it ok but the linesman said (otherwise).
“I know the hand struck but he was just trying to push him back like everybody does and I thought it was a harsh decision.
“He did hit him on the head there’s no doubt about that but reputations proceed a lot of players and we see it last night where manly and robust are the words they use but with the teams further north it seems to be thuggish.
“It’s very disappointing for Aidan because he knew he was stupid against Laois but I don’t think he was today.”
On Williams’ sending-off, McGeeney said: “There’s possibly a bit of that (trying to even it up). I would say if the other one wasn’t a sending off then he probably wouldn’t have been sent off either. Refereeing is a difficult job and I’ve always said it’s a difficult job.”
Despite understandably being happy with his team’s 13-point win at the Gaelic Grounds, McGeeney insisted that Louth remain favourites for promotion and that his team will ultimately be judged on what they can produce in the summer months.
“All it is is two-points though and I’ll be very surprised if Louth aren’t going into Division Two. They have had a great year and I think they had a bad weekend and we had a good weekend, it was a tough weekend for them with the management no matter what anybody says.
“It’s hard to know, I probably would be more worried about getting a run in the summer months. We put a lot of emphasis on the league when we’re playing it but we haven’t had brilliant summers and we’re trying to achieve as a team.
“I firmly believe that every county has talent but it’s hard to find but that belief is a very difficult thing to give a person, it’s a very intrinsic thing. If you’re playing county football you’re obviously good but I think in order to be great you have to earn it.”
Armagh face Antrim next Sunday and ‘Geezer’ is again expecting the Saffrons to provide a stiff examination of their credentials.
“We have Antrim next and they beat Laois today. And again one thing they’re certainly not short of is talent.
“Antrim are fighting relegation and they could still have a chance at promotion so we’ll certainly have our work cut out today.
“Two points today was great but that’s where it stops.”