Armagh footballer Kevin Dyas believes that media coverage of the county’s senior team is being distorted by preconceived notions about their manager Kieran McGeeney.
The Ulster county has been generating headlines and getting tongues wagging already in this early pre-season period with stories emanating about the team training up to eight and nine times a week.
Dyas, who is based in Dublin where he works for PwC, was adamant that his alarm clock wasn’t sounding off at 6am for county training sessions and claimed the rumours have grown legs simply because their manager is who he is.
“100%, yeah,” he said yesterday. “There’s this perception that Geezer is flogging us every day of the week or every day of the month, that he’s ruthless with lads if they can’t make training.
“I’m working in here now (at PwC) and he’s been more than accommodating if I can’t make training because of work. It’s absolutely no problem. I know he’s the same with lads working in Belfast or some of the lads with kids.
“There’s never any issue with not being at training.”
For the record, Dyas claimed that Armagh train collectively on a Tuesday and Thursday, play a game at the weekend and that the rest of their week’s work consists of the gym work, which every other team indulges in.
Still, that McGeeney is box office has never been up for debate. He was one of the country’s most high-profile players — and fascinating characters — during his own career and his lengthy spell as Kildare manager generated considerable copy as well.
McGeeney has himself recently called for the media to report on Gaelic football in a more positive manner although the reaction to the county’s recent McKenna Cup meeting with Tyrone was all too predictable. Nineteen cards were handed out in the course of the game at the Athletic Grounds at the start of January. Four of them were red even if Mickey Harte was among those who said the tie was far from bad-tempered, one early furore aside.
“I don’t even think it’s the Armagh (versus Tyrone thing),” said Dyas. “It’s the whole fascination around people trying to have a pop at Geezer. Everybody knows that Geezer is into his MMA stuff. People automatically associate that with a scuffle on a GAA field.
“There’s no connection between the two at all. The row against Cavan last year, Geezer copped a bit of the blame for that as well. The same against Tyrone. As you said, there was nothing really in the Tyrone game. “It was a pretty clean game bar a bit of pushing and shoving.”
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