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Biting Back: McGeeney's perspective is pitch perfect

By Declan Bogue

Published 10/06/2015

A general view of an empty Croke Park
A general view of an empty Croke Park

The trick when listening to managers and players is to identify when they are saying something for calculated effect.

Take the line about the Croke Park pitch, for example. There are many that will say a certain style of football is alright for the tiny pitches in Ulster, but when you reach Croke Park, things are different.

The most overused line in football is the talk of the 'wide open spaces' of the GAA's headquarters in Dublin 3.

Ahead of Sunday's meeting with Donegal, Armagh manager Kieran McGeeney has sounded some caution over the Athletics Ground pitch, stating: "It's probably for our style, not that big. Clones and Croke Park probably suits our style of football more. The tight pitch might suit Donegal's more."

By that, he can only mean that Donegal will be able to close avenues down and frustrate the freewheelin' Armagh attack. And it's fine to say those things, as that is what most people believe, until you drill down through the numbers for a minute.

An internet search would reveal that Armagh's Athletic Grounds is one metre shorter than Croke Park, but two metres wider. Now, that is perspective in practice, as the Armagh crowd is practically on top of players while the Croke Park stands sweep up majestically to heights.

And Clones is two metres shorter than Croke Park, but a metre wider. Fancy that.

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