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McGeeney stays at Armagh helm with changes to backroom line-up

By Declan Bogue

As widely expected, Kieran McGeeney will continue as Armagh manager in the 2017 season, with his former half-back colleague Aidan O'Rourke remaining as selector, after the county board passed a vote of confidence in their management.

Overall they endured a poor 2016, in which the Orchard County were relegated to Division Three of the National League and suffered defeat in the Ulster Championship to Cavan.

They were then beaten in the first round of the qualifiers by Laois, but that game was rendered void after the midlands side used seven subs.

However, Laois also won the replay, leaving the summer short for McGeeney.

However, there will be minor tweaks to McGeeney's role in the 2017 season.

His former Mullaghbawn clubmate, and former Armagh senior manager in the 2008 and 2009 seasons, Peter McDonnell, will now be in charge of the county under-21 team assisted by Martin McQuillan and Diarmuid Marsden.

In late 2014, McGeeney was promoted from coach to senior team manager, after previous incumbent Paul Grimley stepped down.

At the time, Armagh agreed to a five-year term, such a long-term arrangement something of a rarity in Gaelic games.

However, they have opted to stick with what they have for now, perhaps mindful of the ill-feeling that exists in Tyrone at present where the Ulster Championship winning manager Mickey Harte has not been granted another year after 2017, at least for now.

Meanwhile, Malachy O'Rourke has pledged himself to Monaghan for another three seasons, meaning his term in charge will now be complete at the end of the 2019 season.

His trainer, the Omagh-based Ryan Porter, will remain, as will his Errigal Ciaran clubmate, the popular Leo 'Dropsy' McBride.

Finbarr Fitzpatrick steps down as selector, having commuted from Belfast for the last number of years to training.

Belfast Telegraph


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