By Shaun Casey
ARMAGH are just missing the bit of luck needed to make it to the top suggests Orchard boss Kieran McGeeney, who referred to his own playing days as an example, pointing to their All-Ireland winning season of 2002.
“It was a decent year,” said McGeeney after his side were defeated by Galway on penalties in the All-Ireland quarter final.
“We probably should have made the playoffs for the league final, we let a couple of games slip. A bad day in Ballybofey but just our shooting let us down for a 12-minute period that we normally would score all of those and it probably gave a worse reflection.
“Outside of that I think we’ve had a decent year but you’re constantly looking for those marginal gains. Armagh’s a great football county and it’s hard to stay up there at the top with the rest of them.
“Sometimes people get a wee bit carried away with our history. One team won seven Ulster’s and one All-Ireland and we won seven (Ulster titles) outside of that so it’s a tough ask to get up to the top, it takes a couple of years.
“I think the group out there have the potential, they’re definitely better footballers than we ever were. It’s just getting that wee bit of luck.
“I read today there about the Sligo game in the (2002) quarter final, it’s funny the year we won it, we’d luck falling out of us. And the two years before against Kerry and Meath and even the years after against Fermanagh, they went the other way.
“You just need that wee bit of luck sometimes. When you see McDaid’s point out there, screamer, I remember Kevin Cassidy doing a similar one to me (while Kildare manager) in a quarter final here against Donegal. And some days you just can’t do much about those ones.”
Reflecting on the game, McGeeney was filled with regret that his team could have played better.
“Even with four minutes left with five points (between the teams), we’d made that mistake in Donegal, we started going for goals but it’s funny when we went for a couple of points the goals opened up, so it was good to get them.
“We have quality forwards and possibly didn’t take enough brave chances. There was about 40 minutes in the middle there where I thought we were a wee bit sloppy and hesitant where normally we’d be a wee bit braver than that.
“But sometimes the occasion can get to you, a lot of them are young players, a first real sort of go at this type of football so it can put the brakes on you a wee bit.”
In terms of the melee that ensued at full time, the Armagh boss feels more can be done to prevent such incidents in the future.
“I always think those things shouldn’t happen, definitely shouldn’t. I think there’s a few simple things we could do to stop it, like they shouldn’t be going in together at half time. I know how it started but that’s the thing, once it starts then it can get out of control.”