Tuesday 24 April 2018

Five reasons Kieran McGeeney lost the vote

1. A winless record

News that Seanie Johnston was returning to Cavan may not have helped McGeeney
News that Seanie Johnston was returning to Cavan may not have helped McGeeney
Donnchadh Boyle

Donnchadh Boyle

There are various definitions of success but the trophy cabinet has remained bare during Kieran McGeeney's reign, save for a Division 2 title last.

1. A winless record

There were near misses in Leinster but that they lost out twice to a 14-man Dublin (in 2009 and 2011) still rankles, and McGeeney also presided over provincial defeats to Louth and Wicklow.

Nevertheless, Kildare established a new level of competitiveness under the Armagh man. They reached the last eight of the championship in all but one of his six seasons in charge, getting to the All-Ireland semi-final in 2010. Prior to McGeeney's arrival, Kildare's back-door record was poor, having crashed out in the qualifiers to the likes of Sligo, Offaly and Roscommon.

2. The finances

Kildare have been in dire straits and were granted an advance on monies due from the GAA believed to be somewhere between €600,000 and €700,000. As a result, they have handed over a certain amount of autonomy to Croke Park.

The senior footballers bore much of the blame, though some of that debt was historical and McGeeney regularly stressed that his side undertake much of their own fundraising. They seemed to have turned a corner in this regard – in 2012, team expenses amounted to €525,000 and the county recorded a surplus for the first time in six years.

3. The clubs

A perception built quickly in Kildare that McGeeney held too much sway when it came to the running of affairs in the county, with particular reference to club fixtures and the availability of players.

However, the Lilies aren't the only county to start club championships and then postpone them until after the county side have been knocked out.

And while McGeeney always retained a Kildare presence in his management team, he regularly looked outside the county for his right-hand men, with Paul Grimley, Aidan O'Rourke and most recently Jason Ryan.

4. Seanie and all that

The Seanie Johnston affair must have riled the hurling fraternity as their blue-riband championship was used as a vehicle to qualify the Cavan native for the Kildare footballers when he lined out for Coill Dubh for a matter of minutes.

It got very public and messy and was a move that didn't work out for Kildare as Johnston didn't start a championship game in two seasons. That his return to Cavan became public in the build-up to Tuesday night's meeting surely didn't help.

5. Bad calls on the sideline?

With the likes of O'Rourke and Ryan by his side, McGeeney has surrounded himself with people regarded as tactically shrewd, but he has admitted he got some crucial calls wrong, including the removal of Padraig O'Neill just minutes after he had scored a goal in the 2010 Leinster SFC defeat to Louth.


Irish Independent

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