McGeeney poised for Royal rumble

By Shaun Casey

KIERAN McGeeney needs no telling of what Armagh can expect when they welcome Meath to town on Saturday evening. During his playing days, ‘Geezer’ shared many bruising encounters with the Royals.

On the line this weekend he’ll come up against Colm O’Rourke, who he picked up when the sides clashed in the league final back in 1994, and the challenge games the two counties shared during those years are now stuff of legend.

“The ball would have been thrown in and it would have been ten minutes before anyone started playing football, things have changed,” smirked McGeeney, recalling the old clashes with the Royal County

“When you see the size of these boys coming in now, I laugh how it is sanitized, they are big fellas, and you wouldn’t want to run into them.

“We will get a tough game against Meath, there is just no if, ands and buts about it. It is at home, and it is great to have a big crowd here tonight again (against Louth), the Armagh supporters come out and get you over the line, which is delightful for us.”

Armagh picked up their first points of 2024 when a slender one-point victory over the Wee County, but Meath are eyeing up their first win of the campaign having drawn with Fermanagh, at home, on the opening day.

“That’s the thing about limiting expectations, you take them at your peril. Fermanagh again are a team that know how to defend, and they are quick on the counter,” added McGeeney on Meath’s opening round tie.

“I watched Meath in the O’Byrne Cup, and they have a few new players that they didn’t have last year, and they have pace and power. It is about being respectful of every team and taking those chances when they come.

“It is very tight and those couple of chances are important. When you get a goal chance of two v one, they make a difference and when you take them you can win by five or six but when you miss them you can lose by five or six. It is a tight sort of division.”

Armagh are still minus some of their key players with the likes of Aaron McKay, James Morgan, Rian O’Neill, Ethan Rafferty and Andrew Murnin all excluded from last week’s squad as well as most of the Cullyhanna contingent.

“They are all quality players and to be fair to the boys they have been doing well and to have Jason, Aidan and Ross back too. It is putting a big push on, but you are only as good the competition for places when you are winning. When you lose and people haven’t got those positions feel that they should be in.

“We have a tough couple of weeks, we have Meath at home next week and they will be a big strong physical team, they don’t give the ball away and they got up the steps in Croke Park last year and we know we have a target on our back but that is a good thing.”

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