Armagh clubs to decide on Kieran McGeeney's future

Kieran McGeeney is willing to take the Armagh senior footballers for another year
Kieran McGeeney is willing to take the Armagh senior footballers for another year Kieran McGeeney is willing to take the Armagh senior footballers for another year

ARMAGH clubs will decide on Monday night whether Kieran McGeeney remains as manager for another season, the Irish News understands.

A meeting of the county’s clubs was hosted by the Armagh County Board last week, at which a full and frank discussion of the 2023 season took place. The upshot of that meeting was that delegates were asked to return to their clubs and discuss the merits of the current management. It is understood they will reconvene on Monday night and vote on whether Mullaghbawn native McGeeney should continue as Orchard county bainisteoir.

With nine seasons behind him, McGeeney is Ireland’s longest-serving manager. The 2002 All-Ireland-winning captain guided Armagh from Division Three to Division One and, despite relegation to the second tier this season, the Orchardmen came agonisingly close to making a definitive Championship breakthrough.

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Armagh beat Antrim, Cavan and then Down to reach their first Ulster Championship final since 2008 and took on Anglo-Celt Cup holders Derry at Clones. Despite falling behind to a fortuitous Brendan Rogers goal, Armagh battled back and came within a whisker of winning before the Oak Leafers forced extra-time and then a penalty shootout. With goalkeeper Odhran Lynch outstanding, they won to retain their title.

In the wake of that disappointment, Armagh’s form dipped in the subsequent All-Ireland group phase and they scraped past Westmeath and lost to Tyrone before producing arguably the best display of the McGeeney era to beat 2022 All-Ireland finalists Galway in Carrick-on-Shannon.

Armagh progressed to a second All-Ireland quarter-final in succession with that win and their front-foot football against Galway raised hopes that a semi-final was within their grasp. They met Monaghan at Croke Park but lacked the attacking intent they had displayed a fortnight previously and the Farney County prevailed on a penalties – the third Championship shootout in succession that Armagh have lost.

The 2023 season was a tale of what might have been for McGeeney and his Armagh side. There has been criticism of his team’s inability to get over the line in big games and of McGeeney’s style of play but it is understood that a number of Orchard county players remain united behind their manager and want him to remain in the role he has held since 2015.

McGeeney is prepared to stay on for another season and the Armagh clubs will decide if that is to be the case.