Perhaps it’s because he has been taking such an active role as the Armagh media representative over the past two weeks, but now feels like a good time to reassess the role of the ‘outside man’ in Gaelic football.
After the Orchard County’s victories over Tyrone and Donegal, Kieran Donaghy was the man to face the reporters and television screens.
He does it his own way; a giant in a basketball cap, with clever and thoughtful answers delivered in a Kerry twang at that most Ulster of venues — the St Tiernach’s Park tunnel.
The son of a Tyrone father and Kerry mother who had outstanding careers in Gaelic football and basketball, Donaghy talks of Armagh as ‘we’.
And given the sacrifices he makes to be a crucial component of a team far, far away, he’s entirely believable.
To be an ‘outside man’ is to have your integrity and impact questioned. In 2005, we had a situation where none of the five Connacht counties were managed by a man from that county.
In a column that year, Eugene McGee tackled the same issue. A Longford man, McGee brought Offaly to the All-Ireland in 1982, halting Kerry’s five in a row, and later managed Cavan.
“The biggest contribution a good outside manager can bring is self-belief and motivation to counties where these qualities are lacking,” he wrote.
“(Mick) O’Dwyer is the best example of that in Kildare and Laois, both counties having failed to win Leinster for over 50 years before he arrived.”
There is no doubt that Donaghy has added to Armagh, and Rory Gallagher’s impact on Derry has been obvious.
One of the most fascinating elements of lockdown was how, with stadiums devoid of fans, reporters present got to see the nuts and bolts of how a management team works.
In the case of Donegal assistant manager Stephen Rochford of Mayo, we discovered he has a powerful pair of lungs that can carry right across the playing pitch and, we suspect, a few townlands beyond.
Watching Donaghy was brilliant. One minute he would be on the sideline urging on the Armagh players and offering encouragement, the next he was haring up the steps of the Athletic Grounds to get a more elevated view of the play.
What messages we could make out were invariably about the discipline of team shape, which does not surprise.
What opponents of outside managers and coaches fail to appreciate is the benefit of having someone with no ties coming into a panel.
They see everything with fresh eyes. They carry no baggage from inter-club wars and battles. They are not pre-conditioned to the various prejudices that exist within any county and they can call it as they see it without fearing it might damage relationships.
When Conor Laverty was brought into the Monaghan set-up by Seamus McEnaney, he didn’t need to couch his language. He told the players that he had enough friends around Kilcoo and Down and wasn’t there to make more.
You only have to take a look at the teams left in the race for the All-Ireland to see how fluid county boundaries have become.
Derry have Gallagher, from Fermanagh, as manager. They have a sizeable Tyrone contingent, as Ciaran Meenagh is his assistant, their strength and conditioning is looked after by Peter Hughes, and the team doctor is Hugh Gallagher.
At one point, all of these men played some football for Tyrone.
Their logistics are taken care of by Hugh McGrath, a Down man but long assimilated into Derry football culture and one that managed Steelstown to an All-Ireland Intermediate Club title over the winter.
Not that long ago in recent history, it would have been unthinkable for Kerry to enlist outside help. They were always good at exporting their talents with figures such as Mick O’Dwyer, Mickey Ned O’Sullivan, Páidí ÓSé and others. Even now they have Donie Buckley coaching Monaghan, while Tomás ÓSé has spent the last year with the Offaly footballers.
Laois have turned to Kerry with O’Dwyer, Liam Kearns, Tomas ÓFlaherta, John Sugrue, and current manager Billy Sheehan succeeding Mike Quirke.
Now, Kerry have Tyrone man Paddy Tally in the set-up.
The motives of outside managers and coaches have always been questioned, Gallagher more than most.
But opponents got their answer a few Sundays ago when Derry captain Chrissy McKaigue accepted the Anglo-Celt Cup, and he bellowed out Gallagher’s name to ecstatic Oak Leaf cheers.