After seven years in charge, Armagh have a big decision to make on Kieran McGeeney 23 hours ago

After seven years in charge, Armagh have a big decision to make on Kieran McGeeney

"If they don't get to an Ulster final, you might be thinking it's time to give someone else a turn."

Kieran McGeeney has accomplished so much with Armagh as a player, leading them to their only All-Ireland title in 2002 and multiple Ulster titles.

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As a manager he has had success as well, taking them from division three all the way back to top flight football, and solidifying that place earlier this year.

However, seven years is longer than most county managers get, especially when you don't have any silverware or even a silver medal from a final to show for it.

Speaking on the GAA Hour, Colm Parkinson puts the question to the panel, whether his time as manager should come to an end or not?

"Geezer is over them seven years now. He got them to division one, he hasn't got them to an Ulster final in the seven years, now to be fair, the team from seven years ago is a lot different to this team.

"It feels like a new team now, and when Geezer was asked after the game he said: 'I always want to be about Armagh, it's in my blood, no matter where I go, it's been part of who I am for my whole life. There's a lot more in us, but whether it's me or somebody else, they're a good bunch and they're going places.'

"I think he is indicating that he wants to stay on, and he says he has the backing of the players and the county board."

Kildare legend Johnny Doyle was also on the show, and having played under the Armagh man during Geezer's time as manager of the Lilywhites, he weighed in on the discussion.

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"There are a couple of facets in that - does he have the appetite to go again? Kieran is a big thinker of the game, a deep thinker, he might even overthink things.

"Particularly when he left Kildare, we would have looked back at different things and felt that he maybe thought too much about things, but the big thing for me is that the players want him, and the county board want him.

"You will always have the dogs in the street having a pop and saying 'look it's seven years, he hasn't won anything,' but you have a group within, and they're the decision makers.

"They see a pathway for improvement and where they want to go, and if you have any of those three things not lining up, I think you have trouble.

"You can have a good manager and the players want him, but the county board are maybe split. It's very, very difficult.

"If you look at all successful teams, they might not always agree, but you would have them pushing hard for the county team to win, and maybe making decisions that helps the county be successful.

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"I would have seen down the years, and I'm not being critical of the county board, but I didn't know if they wanted to win an All-Ireland as much as we wanted to, I'm sure that's the same in a lot of counties.

"There are hard decisions to be made around fixtures, sponsors, and different things, that mightn't seem important to bring the team forward, and I think Kieran seems to have that in Armagh.

"There's probably a lot of players that played with him that maybe want a shot at it, after seven years, and think that it's time for him to move on."

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Parkinson also pointed out that although there was clear improvement in the league, the Orchard county's championship form hasn't been great under McGeeney.

"He won three Ulster Championship matches in the last seven years. Now I know that's been improved in the last year or two, but I think on the first five years I would be on the line that 'Jesus, we can't keep going like this' and they were in division three.

"Now, I would be on the line that they give him another year, but if they don't get to an Ulster final, you might be thinking it's time to give someone else a turn."

The former forward was in full agreement, but also alluded to his time with Kildare, and has a warning for what the consequence could be if Armagh do let him go.

"I know for a fact that he's probably thinking the same, 'Have I brought these [boys] as far as I can'?

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"These are conversations that we're having here now that were had in Kildare after six years, and we decided that it was time for him to go, the clubs voted him out by one vote.

"I remember when it was finished, an astute Kildare man said 'It will set Kildare back 20 years, letting Geezer go.'

"And we haven't reached those heights again."