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Our passing was sloppy, says McGeeney

By Declan Bogue

Armagh manager Kieran McGeeney stands in an empty dressing room and the county board guy tells you that everyone has to talk in one group.

He is not in the form to hold multiple press interviews. Nobody is in the form to ask him to, on a day that nothing went their way.

Not that he would entirely agree with that, of course.

"I don't know if it was that nothing went our way or we just didn't do what we were supposed to do," said McGeeney.

"We were very sloppy, our fist passing.

"You expect a team to score seven or eight points against you in a half but you have to score as well.

"We kept giving the ball away on the '50' without any pressure ... just sloppy fist passing into crowds, no support runs and then our defensive structure: we let Donegal's rotation system pull us out.

"We played better with it in the second-half but by that stage the damage was done."

He had said in the run-up to this game that he feared the mistakes they could get away with in Division Three would be exploited. So it was the case.

He couldn't deviate from the overall verdict of 'sloppy'.

"You would feel against any decent team, they'd nearly get seven or eight scores against you in a half and the goal on top of it, we were sloppy with it," said McGeeney

"I thought it was more of our middle third play was very sloppy, slow attacking in the first half and when we got there, trying to fist pass it through maybe seven or eight players when there was better decisions on the wing.

"Against other teams you might get back, but the speed at which Donegal counter-attack …"

He continued: "Most people might think Donegal are a defensive team.

"I disagree with that. They are a counter-attacking team and they do it at great pace, and the rotation up forward causes a wee bit of things in defence."

Interestingly, he began to crunch numbers and came up with an interesting statistic about both sides: "Quality teams get their scores - we got the same amount of scoring chances, 25 each, but they hit 60 per cent of theirs and we hit 30 of ours and that's the big difference."

That might be the strict truth, but there could be no doubt that the Donegal chances had more purpose and design about them, rather than an increasingly ragged-looking Armagh attack that ran up blind alleys and also ruined too much good work by attempting shots from unrealistic distances and angles.

"We got through a good few times, but bad shot, bad decision making, but that's all part and parcel of what Donegal are making you try to do," said McGeeney, who also warned: "There are chinks in every team and I'm sure there will be stronger teams out there will find them."

Who, if any, can take out Donegal is no longer his concern, as he turns his attentions to Johnny Magee's Wicklow in the qualifiers on June 27, back here in the Athletic Grounds.

"We will have to take each game as it comes, that's all we can do," he said.

"We can't look any further than that. It might be a cliché but at this moment in time that is all that we can do."

Belfast Telegraph


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