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Armagh senior football manager Kieran McGeeney. 
Armagh senior football manager Kieran McGeeney. 

McGeeney pleased with Armagh reaction 

By Michael Devlin

Armagh tails are up again following the county's six-point win over Kildare on Saturday evening, and their ability to bounce back from defeat and get their league campaign back on track was particularly pleasing for Orchard boss Kieran McGeeney.

The former All-Ireland winning captain regarded last week’s away defeat to Laois as one of his side’s worst displays in recent seasons, but they showcased their resilience to battle through arduous conditions to earn a valuable Division Two victory in Athletic Grounds, moving them to the summit of the table

Speaking after the game, McGeeney was happy with the reaction from his team to bank two points in an extremely tight Division Two group.

“Over the last two and a half years we’ve put in some great performances. Last Sunday was probably our only bad performance, we’ve had some results that have gone against us, but that was our first real bad performance. I think they are going in the right direction.

“The way the league is, it’s coming at you. It’s easy to slip, and if you slip and don’t get back up, it can really hammer you.

“People talk about one or two, but I’d argue the four divisions, the leagues are our best structure at the minute and some of the games are top class. It really is a good indication of your teams and it gives players a chance to bounce back fairly quickly. In fairness to our boys, we did that tonight.

“[Kildare] probably would have been happy going in a halftime. We felt we didn’t get enough on the board considering the conditions, but we got some great scores at the start of the second half to settle us well, and it turned into a good game for us.”

Action from Saturday evening's Allianz Football League Division Two clash between Armagh and Kildare at the Athletic Grounds.
Action from Saturday evening's Allianz Football League Division Two clash between Armagh and Kildare at the Athletic Grounds.

McGeeney felt a change in personnel was necessary following last Sunday’s defeat in Portlaoise, and he shuffled his pack by handing starting berths to Aidan Forker, Jarly Óg Burns, Aidan Nugent and Joe McElroy.

“It’s not easy leaving good players off, but if you get a defeat and you feel like giving other players a chance, that’s when you have to do it. There were a couple of sleepless nights during the week.

“We like to think that when anybody plays well at training they get a chance, that’s the way we like to play. If you show up for training on a Thursday and play well, that’s your argument for playing on Sunday or Saturday night. We try to stick to that as much as possible.

“We lost three players against Cavan from tough tackles, we lost maybe two more tonight, so we are hoping a couple of those clear up. We have fella’s coming in.”

With four points gained from a possible six, and resting at the top of the table on score difference with four games remaining, Armagh will be setting their sights on a top two finish and promotion to the competition’s top tier.

However McGeeney says there are aspects of their game that need to be rectified if they are to be considered as a potential Division One team.

“Division One is a tough place to be, you make mistakes you get punished dearly. Tonight we got four got four goal chances and didn’t take any of the four. One of them would have closed the game. I think we are good enough to push up into it, but you have to learn how to take a point or take a goal.”

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