Wednesday 24 May 2017

Kieran McGeeney blasts Croke Park 'conspiracy theorists'

McGeeney: Unhappy with policy
McGeeney: Unhappy with policy

Orla Bannon

Kieran McGeeney has questioned the merit of a rule forcing managers to register 26-man panels before games, and labelled those who introduced it as "conspiracy theorists".

The new rule was passed at this year's annual Congress to try and call a halt to the practice of managers naming 'dummy' teams.

They must now submit match-day panels at 9am on Thursdays, with no changes allowed except for a switch of goalkeeper. Failure to do so results in the concession of the match.

McGeeney only had 24 fit players available for Saturday's first round qualifier victory over Wicklow, after his captain Ciaran McKeever and Aaron Findon were injured in the days prior to the game.

"It's one of the problems I have with these new rules," he said after the hard-fought victory at the Athletic Grounds.

"I mean, people think there is a conspiracy theory with us managers, but we were down two players for the Donegal game and we're down two again with both Aaron and Ciaran.

"We had to name on Wednesday night, but then we went through Thursday and they weren't fit and then get to Saturday morning and they still weren't fit. So we're down two players.

"But sure, if it settles the heads of the conspiracy theorists up in Croke Park, then it's a must!

"Because like, we (managers) sit at home wondering what ways can we really mess with their heads on a Wednesday."

McGeeney expects both McKeever and Findon to be fit for the Round 2B clash against Galway on Saturday week, also in the Athletic Grounds, as Armagh bid to build up a similar head of steam which say them reach the last 8 of the All-Ireland series last year.

When running the rule over Armagh's possible back-door opponents, he called Galway "on their day, one of the best attacking sides in the country".

Armagh defeated Meath and Tyrone in the back door on their way to the All-Ireland quarter-finals last year, but McGeeney says that the quality of teams in their section means they can't set those targets yet.

"Obviously you'd like that (quarter-finals), but then you look at the teams in the draw for the second round and you just say, 'we'll just take it one step at a time'," he said.

Irish Independent

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