Páidí Ó Sé's Kerry the most aggressive side Kieran McGeeney ever faced

Páidí Ó Sé's Kerry the most aggressive side Kieran McGeeney ever faced
Armagh's Kieran McGeeney tackles Kerry's Dara O'Cinneide in the 2000 All-Ireland Senior Football Championship Semi-final replay. Picture: Aoife Rice/SPORTSFILE

Kieran McGeeney has pinpointed the All-Ireland winning Kerry side of 2000 as the hardest and 'most aggressive' football team he ever played against.

The 2002 All-Ireland winning captain and current Armagh boss said he enjoyed when football was played that way 'because I felt I could exist in that game'.

McGeeney was speaking in a wide-ranging feature interview with Kerry great Tomás Ó Sé for his new Comhrá Le Tomás podcast.

'Geezer' also acknowledged his own 'obsessive' streak towards sport, describing how he still trains 'at a high level' as a martial arts enthusiast and revealed he's currently recuperating from a shoulder reconstruction.

"The toughest team that I've ever played against was yourselves," McGeeney told Ó Sé, referencing the 2000 side managed by Páidí Ó Sé. "Against the top teams there's never a quarter asked or given, it's just toe-to-toe stuff. Our games in the 2000 semi-finals, and it went to extra-time, were probably the two hardest physical games I played outside of an Aussie Rules game in Galway.

"It was just incessant. Tyrone brought a different game into it afterwards, they were far more mobile. That physical confrontation wasn't as strong with them but with yourselves, even when we played in 2006 or '07, the game had started to change then but we still wanted to take each other on physically and I loved that type of game.

"I slag ye about it but I thought that was the way football should be played. It's changed now and it's a better game now but I suppose I liked it because I felt I could exist in that game. Around that time those games were, to me, the ultimate, the peak of what our team was about."

McGeeney is currently in his sixth season managing Armagh, making him the third longest-serving football boss behind Mickey Harte and Clare's Colm Collins.

He suggested to Ó Sé that both of them were 'obsessive' sportsmen and said it's a personality trait that can be difficult for wives and partners to live with.

"I think probably, and I definitely could put the Ó Sés into this category, people like myself and yourself become a wee bit obsessed about the sport and that affects our character," said McGeeney. 

"When you become obsessive about anything, and give your time...like, people forget that it's not just that you ignore everything around you but the people who love you the most allow you that space and sometimes you get lost in that when you're an athlete, even in management too, and they have to put up with different character traits that allow you to become that obsessive athlete or person.

"I think that's the hardest thing about being around anybody who is obsessive, those character traits that are residual of that type of personality. She (wife Maura) could get a sainthood for some of the stuff she has to put up with me."

Páidí Ó Sé's Kerry the most aggressive side Kieran McGeeney ever faced
Kieran McGeeney was speaking on the first episode of Tomás Ó Sé's new weekly podcast Comhrá Le Tomás which is powered by Benetti Menswear. The full interview can be accessed on Tomás' YouTube channel and a back catalogue of previous interviews will also be available shortly.

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