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McGeeney laps up festive bonus but keeps feet on the ground

By John Campbell

Armagh manager Kieran McGeeney has been round too many corners to go jumping through hoops when confronted by the green shoots of recovery.

But the Mullaghbawn native was certainly given a welcome Christmas present by his new-look team yesterday when they stripped Tyrone of the O'Fiaich Cup and in the process flashed out a message that there might be even better things to come.

"We had a very young side on duty in this game and in fairness to them they dug in deep especially when we lost two players to second yellow cards, although I would query the first yellow in each case," said McGeeney. "Having said that, the team showed character but you wouldn't be reading too much into anything at this time of the year."

McGeeney must still await confirmation as to precisely which of his student players will be available to him for the McKenna Cup.

"I am not sure at the minute how we stand. At the minute we have submitted seven names and asked for four of them to be made available to us," said McGeeney.

His opposite number Mickey Harte, while not unduly perturbed about the defeat, was nevertheless disappointed that his side had conceded 3-10, something of which they are not often guilty.

"We are disappointed to lose and there are lessons to be taken from this game," said Harte. "But the competition has afforded us the opportunity to look at newcomers. We did not have a number of other players on duty for different reasons, but at the same time the team that is on duty has to meet the challenge."

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