McGeeney looks ahead with purpose
Tuesday, 3 January 2017
KIERAN McGeeney looked relaxed and contented as he spoke to the press last week - he was calm, open and measured in his responses, even upbeat at times.
Acknowledging that the season had begun well for Armagh with the winning of the O'Fiaich Cup, Kieran retorted that the two wins suggested progress but even though his team impressed, he cautioned, "we'll not get carried away as it's early days yet".
Still, he was content that James Morgan, Ciaran McKeever, Andrew Murnin and Mark Shields were already back training.
Kieran expects Kevin Dyas to be back for part of the National League, and Andy Mallon will be there at the appropriate time for him.
Jamie Clarke was also back with Kieran urging him to seize the opportunity, commit wholeheartedly and work hard to be remembered as one of Armagh's greats.
Geezer spoke highly of the quality and contribution of Stefan Campbell, and his comments suggested that Jamie Clarke was not the only marquee player in the squad.
He was full of admiration for the commitment of the Crossmaglen lads in the squad - Paul Hughes, Aidan Rushe, James Morgan and Oisin O'Neill.
He was happy that a few younger players are coming through and will soon be squad members, e.g, Rian O'Neill (Cross'), Jarlath Og Burns (Silverbridge), Jason Duffy (Cullyhanna), Tom Kane (Harps), Barry McCambridge (Clann Eireann), and O'Neill from Killeavy.
Kieran believes his squad is nearing the quality needed for the top table yet their work ethic will determine if they get there or not.
He stated that some players, not yet known, will be released to the University sides and some will be kept 'in house' for the Dr McKenna Cup.
Training is moving along as it should be but Kieran is under no illusion that Division Three in the league would be easy.
He, in fact, spoke with a degree of candour as he outlined the 'danger' each game would bring and especially in the order they would come.
He reiterated that he will be playing a settled side as often as is possible in all of the competitions Armagh are involved in, in 2017.
Kieran is confident about the quality of his squad going forward and he rightly expects his strongest squad in some time to be available for the opening game of the National League away to Sligo on Sunday, February 5.
When asked about how he felt about having to meet Championship rival, Down in the Dr McKenna Cup before their June 4 clash, he philosophically replied that Armagh "can only deal with what's in front of them".
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