Geraghty’s return won’t cause friction, says Farrell

MEATH’S management team insist the surprise return of Graham Geraghty to the Royal County panel won’t create tensions within the squad.

Geraghty was axed from the team after a heated clash with panellist Stephen Sheppard and missed the qualifier wins over Down and Fermanagh.

Despite the strong stance in dumping the 1999 All-Ireland winning captain there were consistent overtures surrounding a potential return.

That happened officially on Tuesday night when Geraghty completed a club game and sped straight away to address the panel after county training.

Geraghty is believed to have delivered an apology for his actions and that he’ll take a full part in tonight’s training session.

After that he’ll more than likely take his place on the bench for Saturday night’s qualifier clash with Galway in Portlaoise. Privately, there had been fears that Geraghty’s return could unsettle the players who were fully behind Wolfe Tones clubman Sheppard at the time of the dispute.

“There’s no doubt about the squad, no doubts at all,” selector Dudley Farrell. “The fact that Graham’s back means you now have a full hand to pick from and that means a lot to us. It gives us another option up front and, of course, Graham is a great option to have.”

Farrell, father of star forward Brian, revealed that Geraghty will train with the panel for the first time since his training ground bust-up with Sheppard tonight.

“Last night (Tuesday) he was brought in in front of the players and the whole thing was settled,” continued Farrell. “We wouldn’t have made the decision we did unless the players were happy.”

Farrell revealed that Brian Farrell and corner-back Eoin Harrington are carrying knocks but will be fit for selection tonight.

However, there’ll be no return for Geraghty’s former Seneschalstown clubmate, Joe Sheridan, who quit after the Leinster championship citing a lack of appetite.

“There’s been no word from Joe, he’s still taking the break,” said Farrell.

“But everyone is injury free and we’re looking forward to the Galway game.

“It really depends on what Galway team turns up. If their forward line clicks it’s as good as what’s in the country and we’d be in trouble.”

Former Royals manager Seán Boylan has welcomed Geraghty’s return to the county fold – and hopes that it will spark a re-think from Sheridan.

Boylan revealed: “I was talking to Joe after it happened and he said he had lost his ‘grá’ for it. “To play intercounty football, you have to have a hunger for it.

“He could have stayed there and worked through it but he was extremely honest with himself and with the other lads on the team.

“Please God, I just hope that these latest developments might give him the spark to come back because he’s a top footballer and a top fella and no team can afford to be without players of that calibre.”

Boylan added that he was “delighted” when news filtered through of former captain Geraghty’s return to the fold.

He said: “With players like Graham, you pay in to see them play. I’m just glad that they’ve got everything resolved there and it’s all been done nice and quietly too, which is good.

“I have huge faith in Coyler (Colm Coyle) and his management team to do what they felt was right.

“And as long as everybody is happy, it can only be good for the game.”

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