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McGeeney stays calm despite another loss for Armagh

Armagh 0-15 Laois 1-13

By John Campbell

Published 08/02/2016

Man marked: Armagh’s Aaron Findon with Kieran Lillis
Man marked: Armagh’s Aaron Findon with Kieran Lillis

One win in six competitive outings is not conducive to any manager's well-being yet Armagh boss remains Kieran McGeeney refreshingly candid and thoroughly grounded as he takes stock of a side that remains very much a work in progress.

Raw courage and unrelenting effort were substituted for flair and finesse in this latest setback against a busily effective but far from spectacular Laois side leaving McGeeney to mull over the twin burdens of mistakes and misfortune.

"We missed a couple of points at a crucial stage, I felt, and we weren't controlling the ball well," he said. "Obviously we have big matches to come and it's disappointing that we have not picked up any league points yet. We have players still out injured who we would like to have back on board but we can't rush things."

It's not all gloom and doom, though. The polished finishing of Stefan Campbell, Micheal McKenna's all-round contribution, the feisty leadership of skipper Aidan Forker and the collective spirit that precipitated a second-half recovery that just fell short are plus-factors that McGeeney is happy to digest.

And had Laois keeper Graham Brody not managed to deflect a Colm Watters thunderbolt to safety off the crossbar in the 31st minute - just one instance when the home side did not a rub of the green - the outcome might well have been different.

McGeeney may have had cause for concern at 1-7 to 0-6 adrift at half-time, but the manner in which his men put their shoulder to the wheel after the break hints at better things to come.

Armagh: N McNeice; S Heffron 0-1, C Vernon, R McCaughley; S Forker, A Forker 0-1, M Shields; A Findon, N McConville; S Campbell 0-6 (4f), M McKenna 0-3, S Sheridan; C Watters, C O'Hanlon, G McParland 0-2 (1f). Subs: E Rafferty 0-1 for McConville (half-time), E McVerry for McParland (47), N Grimley 0-1 for Sheridan (50), J McElroy for S Forker (60), Oisin MacIomhair for Watters (61), S Connell for McCaughley (68).

Cards: Yellow: Vernon (27), A Forker (69). Black; Grimley (62).

Laois: G Brody; R Kehoe, M Timmons, D Seale; D Strong, P Cotter, G Dillon; K Lillis, K Meaney; J Farrell, D Kingston 0-5 (3f), N Donoher 0-1; P Cahillane 1-2 (1-0 pen), E O'Carroll 0-3 (1 '45'), G Walsh 0-1 (f). Subs: M Campion 0-1 for Meaney (17), A Farrell for Cotter (33), D O'Connor for Strong (54), D O'Reilly for Walsh (55), R O'Connor for Campion (57).

Cards: Black: Cotter (31); Red: Farrell (67).

Referee: B Cassidy (Derry)

Belfast Telegraph

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