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31st May 2023

Kieran McGeeney admits that Armagh were over reliant on Rian O’Neill

Lee Costello

“Rian carried us today.”

Armagh manager Kieran McGeeney, admits that his team have been too reliant on their captain Rian O’Neill, especially in their win over Westmeath.

Every team wants their star players to stand up and be counted, you only have to look at the likes of Derry with Shane McGuigan and David Clifford for Kerry.

However, when the others aren’t pitching in, then it can become too big a burden, and after the Orchard county’s narrow one-point victory over Westmeath, McGeeney admitted as much.

“It was a very poor display I thought,” stated McGeeney.

Rian O'Neill

“Yeah, we got the win, but to me you still have to perform. They’re better than that, they’re a great team and when you’re good at something that’s what you have to do, you have to be good every day, that’s what it takes to win stuff.

“To me, Rian (O’Neill) carried us today, he carried us on his back. That’s just the bottom line.

“I would say for all the players, in fairness Andrew (Murnin) came in, we had a good impact off the bench with “Turbo” (Conor Turbitt) and Ross (McQuillan), but you shouldn’t look for one player to carry you.”

The dynamic of Saturday’s game might have been very different had O’Neill scored a gilt-edged goal chance in the opening minutes.

Rian O'Neill

“We missed 1-4 in that period,” added McGeeney.

“We were dropping balls into the keeper’s hands. “Soupy” (Stefan Campbell), Rian’s miss, Aidan Nugent. . . just silly stuff. The boys are better than that, but it is just frustrating.

“I’m very frustrated with it and they’re very frustrated in there. I suppose that maybe show how far those fellas have come that when they’re winning games now in the Championship that they’re not happy. But they’re going to have a good test next week and they’re going to have to be up for it.”

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