GAA Football

Kieran McGeary: Straight knockout would bring "serious excitement":

Kieran McGeary in action for Tyrone against Kerry earlier in the year. Picture by Seamus Loughran

TYRONE star Kieran McGeary believes a straight knockout championship would bring “serious excitement” if the GAA were to go down that road later in the year.

While the idea of any football being played is secondary for the foreseeable future, the GAA have not given up hope that the season could be completed in some fashion later in the year.

Down boss Paddy Tally was the latest to back the idea of a straight knockout championship, and McGeary – whose Tyrone side are due to face a first round clash against Donegal in Ballybofey – believes it would create a spark.

“People coming into the off licence are asking what will be the story with the football and saying ‘it’d be tara if there’s no football this year’.

“It’s only hearing that, as much as some people complain about the game or bad referees or what have you, I’d rather have a bad referee than no referee at all.

“I do think there will be football, I hope there is. What way they’ll run it, I’ve no idea. The GAA calendar is squashed enough without trying to finish off a National League now, get club leagues started and then try to prepare for championship.

“Unless they’re gonna do some first-time knockout and go right through the championship? There are a lot of decisions, and tough ones, because everyone will have their own opinion.

“The GAA will have to do what’s best for the calendar. I’d hate to see the year being a write-off. There’s a lot of hard work been done from December til now. They’ll have to do what they feel is best for the safety of everybody.

“If this all does pass over and it gets the all-clear, all well and good. There would be some excitement for the championship this year, especially if it was knockout.

“You’re gonna get your teams that you think ‘nah’ and they’ll surprise you on the day, especially given an element of knowing you’re gone if you’re beaten.

“You’d have that excitement for players and supporters, and you could be in for a hell of a championship if that was the case.

“But you don’t know what will happen. The pin could be pulled on the whole thing. You don’t know what’s around the corner, that’s the truth.

“It would be a massive buzz about it. You can imagine the atmosphere around Ballybofey if that was the case, it’d be lethal.”

Pomeroy man McGeary, a PE and Geography teacher in Holy Trinity, Cookstown as well as the co-owner for the Dunleath Bar in his home village, praised the GAA for the swiftness of their decision to call off games and believes the wave of skills challenges flying across social media could be invaluable.

“The GAA made a very quick decision and a smart one at that. It causes people to travel, mix with different people, and you didn’t want it spreading any further than it had to. It was a very smart decision to pull everything.

“By doing it, people have almost pulled more together. You see online, different faces, role models putting up different challenges to keep young ones going in Gaelic and hurling.

“That’s all fantastic, because young ones otherwise could find themselves sitting in the house in front of the iPad or the phone, which is the easier option. You see different videos appearing of people making their own skills games, trying to improve on things they never could do when they went to training.

“It’s also a time for different players to rest and recover, spend time with their families. There’s a lot of married men with children who possibly just don’t get that time.

“It’s maybe a nice time in the comfort of their own home, to spend with their family, even if it’s practice with the son or daughter. I’ve seen a few videos of that too, which is nice to see.”

Enjoy reading the Irish News?

Subscribe now to get full access

GAA Football