Belfast Telegraph

Kieran McGeeney and Kildare will benefit from the break from each other

By Declan Bogue

With a suitable amount of space and time passed since Kieran McGeeney's exit from Kildare, it is safe to explore the positives for each party now.

Feelings will be less raw and the chat in saloons, cafés and bars will be of McGeeney's successor. All levels of football and hurling are at crucial points in the club championship and the focus has swiftly switched.

Such is the way in the GAA, there is always the weekend, always another game coming up.

After six years at the Lilywhites helm, McGeeney is entitled to feel hurt and perhaps betrayed by his treatment.

It appeared he had the backing of the big-hitting figures of the board, but their decision to throw his future open to the clubs would not have been taken without dipping the toe into the waters. In feeding the decision through the mincer of democracy, McGeeney caught the prevailing mood and when opinion is that split, the best thing you can hope for is to leave with your dignity intact.

And as far as Armagh's 2002 All-Ireland winning skipper brought Kildare, for all their gains and professionalism, they never truly threatened to win a meaningful title.

The memory of Seamus McEnaney and Monaghan came to mind. After 2010, Banty had brought his county to two Ulster finals, losing both to Tyrone. He was almost there, but when he asked the county board for a third chance, it opened up a chasm.

Dick Clerkin went down to speak with Banty in his pub in Carrickmacross at that time, and while the Monaghan players issued a public statement declaring their support for McEnaney, they never strayed into the emotive attacks that some Kildare players resorted to on Twitter.

Clerkin described his thinking at the time: "Monaghan were at a crossroads. We'd had six good years which could maybe have even been better but to me it was fair enough to ponder was there somebody out there that could bring us on that next step?"

Without the backing of the board, McEnaney moved on.

Eamonn McEneaney then overseen two years of transition, before Malachy O'Rourke came in and sensationally landed the Ulster title.

When the Kildare players get their domestic football out of the road, they will look forward to a new season and a new voice. They will revert back to being Kildare, not Kildare with Cavan's Seanie Johnston in tow.

As for McGeeney, he will have more time to indulge his new sporting passion of Brazilian Jiu jitsu. Talk of him joining the backroom of Armagh at present would be a step backwards when he might be better served with a year out.

But we haven't heard the last of him.

Belfast Telegraph


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