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Armagh – Kieran McGeeney


ARMAGH manager Kieran McGeeney is confident his side can bounce back from the cruel championship quarter-final penalty exit to Galway and feels his side have the potential to go all the way.

The Orchard boss says he is lucky to have a squad of good footballers and he said it was decent year.

Most Armagh fans started the season thinking that staying in Division One was key and a good run in the championship would put the side in good stead next season. That big win over Dublin in Croke Park, the three wins over rivals Tyrone and putting Donegal to bed at the second championship bite, gave the supporters huge highs.

Croke Park has never seen a sight like Sunday, the colours, the noise, the amount of fans and the players and management have injected a lot of pride in the county.

We thought we would never see a thriller such as the Ulster clash between Armagh and Monaghan in Newry last year, but Sunday’s finish was off the scale. And it bodes well for the future, even if still a work in progress.

“It was a decent year, we probably should have made the play-offs for the League Final, we let a couple of games slip that we had,” McGeeney said.

“A bad day in Ballybofey, but again our shooting let us down for a 12 minute period and normally we would have scored all of those and that probably gave us a worse reflection of that.

Other than that, it was a decent year. You are just constantly looking for those marginal gains. Armagh is a great footballing county, and it is a tough to stay up at the top with the rest of them.

“Sometimes we get a wee bit carried away. In our history one team won seven Ulsters and one All-Ireland and we won seven Ulsters outside of that.

“It is a tough ask to get up to the top, it takes a couple of years but I think the group out there have the potential.

“They are definitely better footballers than we ever were. It is just getting that wee bit of luck. It is funny the year we won it we had good luck falling out of us and the two years before that against Kerry and Meath and the year after against Fermanagh, it went the other way. You need that wee bit of luck sometimes.

“The lads I have had over the years are good lads, really good lads. I have good people around me. I bring in people who argue with me and that doesn’t help the grey hair but they are strong individuals and I got strong players, who want to do stuff and are in it for the long haul.”

The Orchard manager condemned the fighting that occurred at the end of normal time and while disappointed to lose said he was proud of his players, especially the lads that stepped up to take the spot kicks.

“We are very disappointed we didn’t put our best foot forward for most of the game but we had probably done enough at times to win it,” said McGeeney.

“Sloppiness, but sure isn’t that sport. If we had to draw a straight line we wouldn’t all do it properly.”

And the Orchard boss praised the Armagh fans.

“They were fantastic, even the whole way through to penalties up to the end, they were backing you too the hilt,” said McGeeney.

“They have been fantastic I have been with Armagh since I was 12 years of age and they are the best supporters out there. We have a group of supporters who never miss a game and you get texts from.

“Everyday of life they are good people who just love football and it is a pity we couldn’t give them a wee bit extra today.”