The Championship

Injury concerns are uppermost in Kieran McGeeney's mind

Kieran McGeeney has a number of injury concerns ahead of Armagh's All-Ireland Qualifier clash with Laois  
Sean Mahoney

ARMAGH manager Kieran McGeeney has pressing matters on his mind, and it’s not Joe Brolly.

The Orchard manager will be contemplating how many of his walking wounded will be fit to face Laois in next Saturday’s All-Ireland Qualifier in Portlaoise. Only 21 players trained in mid-week, with Ethan Rafferty ruled out after breaking his knuckles in that Championship defeat to Cavan.

Inside the Athletic Grounds was more akin to a casualty department with numerous players in bandages, slings and plasters. Killeavy’s Ciaron O’Hanlon, Culloville’s Colm Watters, Cullyhanna duo Mickey Murray and Pearse Casey are all carrying knocks obtained playing club football, while the Laois encounter may come too soon for Eugene McVerry and Stefan Campbell.

On a more positive note for Armagh, captain Ciaran McKeever, Crossmaglen’s James Morgan and full-back Charlie Vernon should be fit. McGeeney laughed off the criticism levelled at him by RTE pundit Joe Brolly during their coverage of the Ulster Championship defeat earlier this month.

“I don’t really have any thoughts on it. I am flattered with Joe’s obsession with me but that is about as far as it goes,” said McGeeney.

“Honestly what more can you say? I have played with Joe I have played against him and he seems to forget a lot of things but the more you talk about him the happier he is.

“He likes to be the centre of attention and that is grand, let him batter away. I can’t stop people having opinions but when people want to dress opinions up as facts that is a different thing. But that is up to somebody else to do.

“I’m not really into facilitating people’s obsessions with things I will just let them batter on. I am sure he is a nice fella, I have seen him a couple of times and he seems grand but he likes to be centre of attention.”

The Orchard manager was conscious of the Brolly saga being seized on by media and social media and he believes the interest in himself and Brolly took credit away from what was an excellent Cavan performance.

“When we talk about this it looks like I am initiating it but you are better saying what you think of him but, honestly, it is water off a duck’s back. Some people take what he says seriously and I can’t help that either,” said the Armagh manager.

“You would think it was Kieran McGeeney playing Joe Brolly because there was more written about that than Cavan against Armagh. Cavan are a good team and if the only reason they won is because of my inadequacies then they are in trouble.”

McGeeney avoided saying whether he objected to or was involved in the statement made to The Sunday Game by Armagh chairman Paul McArdle but was smiling when he said: “I am glad to see that the county board supports me.”

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