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McGeeney critics need to separate the facts from the fiction

By Declan Bogue

The Championship was barely over for Armagh manager Kieran McGeeney before the amateur statisticians were after his blood.

Seamus 'Banty' McEnaney was first out of the traps on Saturday night on Radio Ulster's broadcast of the Donegal-Monaghan semi-final, claiming that McGeeney was now the first inter-county manager to have lost three Championship games in one year.

Eh, no.

You might recall Gerald McCarthy, the Cork manager at the time of the seismic strikes.

He lost three Championship games in 2007.

In fact, a whole host of hurling managers that season, including those from Offaly, Laois and Antrim, lost three games in the Championship season by virtue of the group stages that were held that summer.

In any case, McGeeney must be the most sinned-against manager in terms of misinformation being repeated to the point where it becomes accepted fact.

What should be challenged, however, is the nonsense that his players live in the gym and are too muscle-bound.

This was something repeated by Pat Spillane after the first Laois defeat when he said they could not run, such was their sprawling body mass.

On that very issue, McGeeney spoke at Tuesday's Setanta launch about his panel.

"I am looking at them and I have these wee skinny young fellas compared to the Dublin fellas," he commented.

"I think that has more to do with the training I did in the past and that these boys are doing if you compare them to the Mayos, the Dublins, the Kerrys, those are big fellas. They are huge, but they are able to put those type of resources and time into it. That's hard. Donegal did the same."

Argue all you like about that, and be a fool if you fancy it.

Belfast Telegraph


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