Saturday 24 February 2018

Kieran McGeeney reveals the huge sacrifice he made in his personal life to win the Sam Maguire

Will Slattery

Will Slattery

The GAA may be an amateur organisation but many players and managers devote so much time and effort into their inter-county careers that they are professional in all but name.

Nobody personifies that dedication like Armagh legend - and now county manager - Kieran McGeeney. The All-Ireland-winning captain appeared on Newstalk's Off The Ball this evening and gave some fascinating insights into some of the sacrifices he made in his life away from the sport in order to succeed on the pitch.

McGeeney was interviewed alongside former Irish rugby international Gordon D'Arcy and the legendary All-Star defender contrasted the lives of the two sportspeople.

"It is a bit different in Gaelic," McGeeney said.

"We don't have the money to fall back on. You kind of give your heart and your soul because you have nothing else to give. You are working during the day or you have a family."

The most striking admission McGeeney gave about his quest for All-Ireland glory - he said he 'trained as close as possible to a professional' - was when he mentioned that he held off in starting a family until after his playing career had ended.

"I was one of the people who started a family later in life," he said.

"I have a wee boy and a wee girl at home now and another one on the way. I was obsessive about getting that first one with Armagh at the time."

A widely held belief is that McGeeney is a tough taskmaster as a manager who expects the same meticulous preparation from his players as he put in during his time with Armagh.

Surprisingly, the man who lifted the Sam Maguire in 2002 says that he encourages players to strike a better balance between their sport and their personal lives than he did.

"Contrary to popular belief, I don't want people to do what I did," he said.

"If I saw that I would probably give out about it. "

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