GAA Football

Staying at home is not living: Kieran McGeeney

Armagh’s Kieran McGeeney pictured before the start of his side's game with Roscommon on Saturday. Picture by Philip Walsh

KIERAN McGeeney says that listening to those around him at home has convinced him that “staying at home the full time is not living”.

There has been much polarised in the last few weeks over whether the inter-county championships should go ahead.

A GPA survey last week revealed that 52 per cent of players were happy to continue as things are, with another 24 per cent keen to proceed if better protocols were put in place.

Just shy of a quarter of players (24 per cent) said they did not want the championships to happen.

The first weekend of National League fixtures saw Leitrim concede to Down in Division Three, while Fermanagh had to travel to Clare with a threadbare squad after an outbreak in their camp.

Armagh boss McGeeney saw his own team locked down for two weeks of their preparation after a number of positive cases, but is among those who believes that the GAA should do its best to continue.

“It is quite difficult to say anything to the media these days because only bad news sells. You have be careful because people are going to say about the parents and grandparents and I am the same, I have my own parents, my own sister has MS [Multiple Sclerosis] and I have people around me who are vulnerable too, but listening to them, they don’t think that living is staying at home the full time.

“Look we have to do certain things and stick to the government restrictions but surely if we can manage 300,000 club players playing, we can manage 2,000 or 3,000 county players.

“I think it is all a personal choice and we have to go with what the majority want and keep everybody safe.

“I am one of these fellas who would have rather been playing than not playing. I think we had a good opportunity to play games and I think as what can be seen tonight it is a very controlled environment and I think wherever possible we should.

“I will take that any day of the week, missing two weeks or not.”

Roscommon travelled to Armagh using two buses and their manager Anthony Cunningham revealed a number of players didn’t feel comfortable with that and used their own cars.

He said they also had the situation regarding post-match meals clarified after Gardaí broke up their team meal last week following a challenge game with Donegal.

The Roscommon team were fed by their hosts Armagh and ate their meal in the stand at the Athletic Grounds before embarking back for home late on Saturday night.

Armagh must get a win in Clare this weekend to secure their promotion to Division One, and McGeeney believes his side is good enough to play top flight football.

“I would say we will be there are thereabouts. I think we are definitely touching the top eight teams and we have been over the last two or three years but we have to get in there, the same way Roscommon did in their first year and had a couple of hard lessons but you have to get up and into that crowd.

“I think we are good enough to get up there and I think we showed bits and pieces of it tonight, but we have to be more disciplined when the pressure is on.”

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GAA Football