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Manager Kieran McGeeney takes swipe at Armagh's critics

By Declan Bogue

Armagh manager Kieran McGeeney has hit back at media reports suggesting the level of training Armagh are doing is excessive, and took a few well-aimed swipes at various commentators at the launch of the National League in Croke Park.

"I've talked to the people who wrote them and gave them our training schedule," explained the 43-year-old. "But a lot of people just aren't interested in the truth. I can't put it any plainer than that. I showed them our exact training schedule.

"It's very hard to lie when there's 40 people there so that's it.

"Some are saying we're training 10 times a week, at six in the morning, and then two games at the weekend, or 12 times a week."

He continued: "The reality is that we're training three or four times a week and that's it, there wouldn't be any more than that, other than gym sessions.

"Of all the teams in Ireland, I would say that we were probably doing the least. The more you tell people the truth, the less they want to print it."

He also directly refuted claims that they had trained twice on the day of Charlie Vernon's wedding, stating: "The story was that we'd done 12 training sessions that week. The truth is, we had actually done two.

"We had Christmas, and then Charlie Vernon's wedding, so we probably did more drinking that week than training."

Praising the knowledge of modern-day trainers and describing some of the training he undertook in his playing days as "demoralising", McGeeney added to the assembled press corps: "But it's not people who are sitting here who are writing it. It's people who don't want to lose their passes to All-Irelands. And that's what happens with reporting now. Maybe we need a new influx of people in the TV media."

Asked who is behind it, he answered: "People with different agendas, and it's just silly. Then when you do tell them the truth they say it's only a bit of craic.

"I just know other teams train harder than us, like I know I trained longer hours when I was training. Maybe people will tell you I needed that. And people made it out that I had a dour existence, but I think it was them who had the dour existence. Because there was no passion, or love, for what they were doing.

"If they didn't want to be there, go home. I loved it. I couldn't wait to get to training."

Meanwhile, Armagh goalkeeper Philip McEvoy - who played against Tyrone in last Wednesday's McKenna Cup semi-final - has announced his retirement from inter-county football.

The Dromintee man said: "Over the weekend I have informed the Armagh players and management that I have decided to leave the Armagh Senior Panel and consequently retire from playing inter-county football.

"This decision did not come easily but my personal circumstances have greatly changed from last year and this has directly led to my decision."

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