Former Armagh forward Jamie Clarke has insisted that his absence from the team this year has “absolutely nothing to do with Kieran McGeeney”,.
Armagh manager McGeeney has attracted controversy for his defensive style, with RTÉ pundit Joe Brolly inciting a large reaction for his comments at half-time during the live broadcast of their game against Cavan.
As part of a tirade against McGeeney’s system, he said that the manager was “not working with any of the Crossmaglen boys, one of the top five club teams in Ireland over the last five years, because they won’t play for the team.”
However this has been denied since then by Crossmaglen players, including Clarke, who has relocated to New York, in his statement.
“My decision not to play for (the) Armagh Senior Football Team this year has absolutely nothing to do with Kieran McGeeney being the manager,” Clarke wrote.
Statement from Jamie Clarke pic.twitter.com/ojG3ZqxglT— armagh_gaa (@Armagh_GAA) June 3, 2016
“It is no hidden secret that I have other ambitions outside of football resulting in the need to travel and live outside of Ireland.
“This has been the case long before Kieran ever got involved in the Armagh management setup.
“I have nothing but respect and appreciation towards Kieran who has given me so much support and guidance.
“As an Armagh man I fully support all he is trying to achieve with the current group of players.”
Clarke expanded upon those “other ambitions” and his relationship with McGeeney during a
“Kieran wanted us to run with the ball whereas the likes of the Gooch when he gets the ball he turns his head to look to make the pass,” he said.
“To have that freedom wasn’t really allowed because you were playing to the team’s system and you don’t really want to alter that.”
However, Clarke added: “Kieran changed me for a better way outside of football.
“Under Kieran, I became a lot more humble and even playing the soccer you could see that. I wasn’t going around with my head up my ass saying ‘I’m too good for you’.
“It’s only a bit of fun at the end of the day.”