Kieran McGeeney: Joe Brolly's jibes are totally meaningless
Kieran McGeeney has laughed off the recent controversial comments made by pundit Joe Brolly about his management of the Armagh side, saying: "I am flattered by Joe's obsession with me, that's about as far as it goes."
The Orchard boss was speaking at a media engagement ahead of their qualifier clash against Laois next weekend, when the question of the scathing criticism dished out by Brolly over what he described as 'The Cult of Kieran' among the Armagh panel.
McGeeney appeared bemused by all the fuss, claims and counter-claims in the wake of their eight-point defeat to Cavan in the Ulster quarter-final.
"Honestly I cannot say any more than I am flattered about his obsession over me," the 2002 All-Ireland winning captain continued.
Reminding the media present that the two played on successful Ulster sides in the Railway Cup and won a Sigerson Cup together in 1993, he spoke of Brolly, who claimed McGeeney 'hasn't a clue' about inter-county management.
"I played with Joe, I played against him. He seems to forget a lot of things.
"The more you talk about him the happier he is. That's what it is all about. He likes to be the centre of attention and that's grand. Let him batter away.
"I can't stop people having opinions, and if people want to dress opinions up as facts, that's a different thing, that's up to somebody else to do. I am not really into facilitating people's obsessions with things."
McGeeney continued: "I am sure he is a nice fella, like I have met him a couple of times and he seems grand, but he likes to be the centre of attention.
"Honestly, it is water off a duck's back to me. Some people take what he says seriously, I can't help that either. We have a great bunch of fellas and I am trying to do my best. I am not doing as good a job as I would like."
Asked a direct question on whether he approved of Armagh Chairman Paul McArdle's right of reply to last Sunday night's Sunday Game highlights show, McGeeney answered: "The county board are trying to do the right things. They have had a tough time over the past couple of years in getting the county back on its feet, paying old bills. They are very progressive, there is great work being done in the academy structures, although we haven't had much success at underage we are definitely going in the right direction."
He continued: "Someone was telling me about an article Joe wrote, that it was like Kieran McGeeney was playing Kieran McGeeney. There was very little about Cavan and Armagh, it seemed more about me, which is a mad thing."
The defeat in Kingspan Breffni Park has been endlessly debated, but given 10 days' reflection, McGeeney does not feel his side are dead and buried.
He added: "Other teams become more competitive, every team goes through cycles. Like Armagh is a proud county, we want to be up there with the top and we want to be competing with the top.
"That's what we are trying to do and I have to do my job better. I am the first man to say that."
Since the game, Armagh's injury list has grown, with Ethan Rafferty (broken knuckle) and Stefan Forker (heel problem) doubtful for the trip to Portlaoise to face Laois.
He said: "I think we are going in generally the right direction, we are not firing on all cylinders the way we would like. The big problem is we are not converting the chances we are getting."