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28th Jul 2023

Rian O’Neill on WhatsApp rumours, voice notes and fighting Kieran McGeeney

Lee Costello

Rian O'Neill

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“I would be laying in a heap on the ground somewhere.”

Rian O’Neill has been subjected more than most to the crazy rumour mill that spreads around WhatsApp, but he addresses it and why he would never fight Kieran McGeeny in this interview.

O’Neill is captain of the Armagh team and undoubtedly the talisman of the county, often standing up in the clutch moments to pull his side out of a bind.

Despite reaching the Ulster final this year and only losing it, and the All-Ireland quarter finals, Armagh have been heavily criticised.

A lot of that criticism has been directed towards the manager McGeeney, something which O’Neill cant understand as he explains on the latest episode of the GAA Hour.

“I suppose in Armagh people just like to criticise more cause Geezer has been there a long – I don’t know why, and people outside the county look to do the same with Geezer.

“But he had our full backing the whole year within the group and we knew what we had to do.”

Before Armagh played Tyrone on the last day of the league to try and avoid relegation, O’Neill pulled his quad and had to miss out on the match.

However, for the wicked world of WhatsApp, that wasn’t a good enough excuse, so a voice note was sent around claiming that the forward and McGeeney were fighting at training, and that’s why the Crossmaglen star wasn’t involved in the game.

“Yeah, near the end of the league I had pulled my quad and then apparently me and him were fighting, but I think a lighter job would suit me than trying to knock Geezer out.

“I would be laying in a heap on the ground somewhere I would say.”

O’Neill can laugh it off easily, but there’s no question that people seem to be particularly prone to starting rumours and stories involving him.

During the podcast recording, he tried to give an explanation as to why this might be the case.

“It is strange. I suppose over the league there was a few things, WhatsApp or whatever, and I don’t know why. Maybe because I don’t talk in the media too much so people try to get the ball rolling.

“I don’t really know, but I don’t pass any remarks about it, if you’re going to talk then that’s up to them, and I’ll just do my stuff on the field at the end of the day.”

You can listen to the full interview of the GAA Hour with Rian O’Neill, Lee Costello and Niall McIntyre on all streaming platforms, or watch it now on YouTube.


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