Armagh manager Kieran McGeeney has offered a thinly veiled response to the criticism he has received from Joe Brolly, retorting many pundits “weren’t as good as they remember” when playing themselves.
Pundit Brolly was heavily critical of McGeeney after their Ulster championship defeat to Cavan when he claimed the former Kildare boss “hasn’t a clue about... systems and how to play”.
Brolly described McGeeney’s game plan as “a mess” and pointed to poor returns of the Armagh forwards and the cautious nature of their play generally.McGeeney didn’t address Brolly by name but noted pointedly the 1998 Ulster final between Derry and Donegal, in which Brolly played for Derry and which finished 1-7 to 0-8, was equally difficult to watch. “I would love to have been around at the games, I must have missed them, because the way they used to play, it must have been fantastic football,” said McGeeney.
“It was all kick passing, they were brave and courageous, their decision making was spot on and they never made mistakes, I must have missed that, those few games those boys played in.
“The GAA wasn’t all everybody thought it was 20 years ago. I find it interesting to hear these boys talking about some of the games they played in. You hear stuff like, ‘oh there’s no forwards scoring from play out there today’.
“They just seem to forget we played against them and they weren’t just as hot as they remember they were. And our scores weren’t that high. If you look at the Ulster final, Derry v Donegal, it was 8-7 or something like that, wasn’t it? Albeit in terrible conditions but we’ve all played in those. Like, when you’re playing in the league now and you see the stats going back through 20 years against that same team, the next thing you see it and it’s 1-6 to 1-4 and games like that from years ago.
“Sometimes it mightn’t do any harm if some of our panelists and ex-footballers in the press took out the auld video recorder and shoved the tape in and had a look at themselves. They weren’t as good as they remember.”
McGeeney’s Armagh bowed out of the Championship last weekend following defeat to Laois in a Round 1A qualifier that had to be replayed after Laois fielded seven substitutes in the drawn game.
Of the campaign, he added: “The hardest thing this year really was losing our divisional status. We took a few chances at the start of the year with a lot of young players. We left out the older players at the beginning of the league to give them a bit of a break and the Crossmaglen boys were gone too.Then we went to take them back in, they had a lot of injuries so it backfired a wee bit.”
Interestingly, McGeeney suggested a central fund be created to allow all county teams to train, if they wish, an equal amount. He pointed out a single inter-county training session can cost up to €1,500.
He was speaking at the launch of eir Sport, a new six channel TV pack which is free to all eir broadband customers.
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