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O’Hagan welcomes McGeeney extension

By Niall McCoy

FORMER Armagh attacker Barry O’Hagan has said that he is delighted that Kieran McGeeney has signed up for another season with the Orchard county.

The pair won Celtic Crosses together in 2002 and while O’Hagan feels that there is still work needed in defence, he envisions a really bright future for the side as ‘Geezer’ prepares for an eighth season in charge in 2022.

“I’m delighted to see that Kieran is in there for another year,” said O’Hagan.

“The Monaghan game was very frustrating, particularly conceding those four goals, but I probably felt myself that it was a year too early for this team to win an Ulster title.

“I would like to see them getting seven games in Division One against your Kerrys and Dublins, stay in Division One, and then have a real tilt at it.

“We have work to do defensively, there is no question about that, but there is so much potential there.”

The Clan na Gael man, now stationed in Donegal, has also said that survival in the top tier was a great reward for the players and fans as they’ll now get to experience a proper Division One campaign – Covid permitting.

“From the players’ point of view, all of those games will feel like big games,” he said.

“Armagh travel in huge numbers and to maybe to go to Croke Park to play Dublin will be as close as you can get to a big championship match. It might be Kerry in Killarney and other places, and I think the Armagh players really missed out on that last season.

“I know they got a couple of big games but I think those massive games are all part of the learning experience.”

Meanwhile, Malachy O’Rourke and Gavin Devlin are two of the latest names linked with the vacant Down position.

It’s been a low-key start to the search for Paddy Tally’s successor, but it was announced last week that Down’s Coiste Banisiti had appointed a five-person committee to commence the process.

Included is former star Mark Poland and current player Benny McArdle. County chairperson John Devaney and secretary Seán Óg McAteer are also involved, as is well known Down GAA figure Barney McAleenan.

As well as O’Rourke and Devlin, a number of other names have also been linked to the position, including the possibility of a sensational return for Tally.

Conor Deegan, Steven Poacher and Conor Laverty are other names that have been mentioned in dispatches.

Elsewhere, Cavan boss Mickey Graham returned to competitive action with Longford club Mullinalaghta for their league clash with Clonguish at the weekend. Former Breffni county player Cian Mackey was amongst the goals in the 2-13 to 0-7 win.

With Cavan’s season over, Graham has linked up with Mullinalaghta manager Ciaran Fox as a coach. He has an affinity with the club having guided them to a shock Leinster title in 2018 at the expense of a star-studded Kilmacud Croke’s side.

Graham will return to the Cavan sideline next season for a fourth season in charge.

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