Wednesday 13 November 2019

Kieran McGeeney: It's very hard to talk around some of the nonsense – some people only deal in fiction

Kieran McGeeney, Armagh manager
Kieran McGeeney, Armagh manager

Declan Whooley

Armagh manager Kieran McGeeney has hit back at claims that modern inter-county players are under excessive demands and that his team are "overly physical".

Speaking on Newstalk's Off The Ball, McGeeney gave his take on the infamous parade row between Cavan and Armagh in the Ulster championship and said that worse happened in other games but never got the same publicity.

"It's very hard to talk around some of the nonsense that's thrown out there. Say if you take a physical game like last year," he said.

"If I asked you which was the most physical, people will say different things. If you look at the Kerry v Mayo game, where people don't want to talk about it because the referee let it all go.

"I think that's the way football should be played but we tend to paper over the cracks when some teams are doing it and we'd be a wee bit more PR-oriented when it seems to happen around any team I'm involved in.

Joe Brolly caused headlines when he suggested that modern GAA players are being treated like "indentured slaves" and said that professional careers were being sacrificed in order to succeed at inter-county level.

Read more: Joe Brolly likens GAA stars to "indentured slaves" and calls for massive overhaul of fixture system

Earlier this month Mike McGurn, a leading strength and condition coach, said that many of the current training regimes implemented by many GAA county managers go against science and smart methods of training.

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Read more: 'It's not that GAA players over-train, it's that they under-recover' says leading S&C coach

"It's not so much that GAA players over-train, it's that they under-recover," he said. "They are mimicking a training regime for professionals, but they have to go to work the next day."

McGeeney refuted suggestions that the Armagh panel were doing double-training sessions around Christmas and also gave his take on the debate over players being "indentured slaves".

The former Kildare boss suggested that if a person keeping healthy trained four times a week and that was not deemed excessive, then footballers doing something similar to reach the top level of inter-county game is not unreasonable.

He added that players are not open to "excessive contact" over the course of a season.

"We only play seven games in the National league. We play what, 11 games in eight months. If you were listening to the stuff that we don't we play any football or training at all, we just do running, so there would be no contact then."

"There are a lot of people out there who don't deal with facts. They deal with fiction."

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