New Armagh coach Kieran Donaghy has said that he would be there every week he can at Orchard county training and matches following his surprise addition to Kieran McGeeney’s management ticket.
In an interview with Gaelic Life, the three-time Kerry All-Star also explained that the move was not out of the blue having developed a friendship with ‘Geezer’ over the last number of years while geographical reasons also made it possible as he was due to spend periods in Ulster over the next few months for work.
Rather than travelling from Tralee, Donaghy will most be either commuting the hour up the road from Dublin, or his work assignments with PST Sport will have him based even closer. It was that ability to be based close to Armagh that made the move work, according to the Kerry man.
“I’m going to be there every week,” said Donaghy, who is a distant relation of the famous Moriarty family from Lurgan.
“I’ll be doing a bit of coaching and what Kieran wants off me is a fresh set of eyes on all the players.
“I would have watched a lot of them obviously over the last while. I covered the game with Sky Sports where they nearly beat Mayo in the Qualifiers in Castlebar (2019).
“I was really excited about what I saw. I met Kieran that night and we had a few pints and since then we have been in contact, and very much so over the last three months.
“It’s not out of the blue, I’m not driving from Kerry to Armagh for every session. They do a lot of double-ups where they might train on a Friday and a Saturday and I’ll be getting two sessions with them on those occasions, which is a great opportunity for me to get to know the boys.
“It’s very exciting for me and in my role in management I’m looking forward to learning a lot off Kieran and his brilliant backroom team.”
The four-time All-Ireland winner also said that Armagh fans should be getting excited about the future as they prepare for their first venture in Division One since 2012.
“To the Armagh fans, I think you are very lucky in what you have up there. You have great continuity in what Kieran has done over the last six years.
“That’s continuity that so many counties crave, somebody that they can trust, that they know will do right by the players and by the county.
“They have someone who cares very much about the county and they are very lucky to have that in place.
“Kieran nearly got that Kildare team to an All-Ireland final (2010) and they haven’t reached those heights again. He was always competitive with them even in a division where Dublin were very dominant.
“I think he is loving the role and being back up with his own people in Armagh. They’re also lucky with the set-up they have put in place. The backroom team is really, really good.
“The project is really exciting. Kieran married a good Ballymac (Ballymacelligott) woman in Maura O’Rahilly. She is out the road from me and I played basketball with her brother on the South-West of Ireland team many moons ago.
“Kieran and I would have met a number of times over the last number of years when he was down, so it’s not something out of the blue.
“The work I’m doing with PST Sport, it’s an artificial grass company and we’re doing quite a few pitches now in the north. My role as sales director is to get more and more business up in the north.
“That was already on my agenda list. During the first lockdown myself and Colin (Teahon), the managing director, had spoken about looking at the north, so I was planning to be up here a lot anyway. We did Owenbeg, the Derry centre of excellence, hockey pitches and a few other projects.
“I was speaking to Kieran in the background and knew that this was maybe going to be a possibility to align it all together. I do a lot of work in Dublin and I stay over, and now I’ll just be doing that in the north rather than staying over in Dublin.”
SEE NEXT WEEK’S GAELIC LIFE WHERE KIERAN DONAGHY REFLECTS ON HIS BATTLES WITH ARMAGH, AND WHY HE WANTS TO HELP THEM FIND THEIR RUTHLESS TOUCH Gaeliclife.com/digital-edition