Video: The Alex Ferguson RTÉ Interview That Got Graham Geraghty An Arsenal Trial

Dublin vs Meath, the 1994 Leinster Final. 21-year-old Graham Geraghty playing at right half-back scored 1-2 in a match Dublin won by a point.

A guest at Croke Park on that July day was Alex Ferguson. The Manchester United manager spoke to Ger Canning on RTÉ after the game and remarked that Geraghty, along with Tommy Dowd (for his aggression) and Jack Sheedy, had impressed him.

Paying attention to Fergie's words it seems was a local Arsenal scout who that same week organised for the Meathman to go on trial at Highbury.

Geraghty himself, speaking to in 2013, takes up the story.

We were away playing U21 with Meath. I stayed in the hotel that night with the team and I got a phone call from my Dad. I don't know how he actually found out I was there, and he says "there's a fella from Arsenal coming to see you at 12 o'clock tomorrow so you better be home".

I thought he was messing. But here's how it had come about. Dublin had beaten us in the Leinster U21 final and Alex Ferguson was at the game. I was playing wing back and I scored 1-2. They interviewed him after the game, and they asked him if anyone impressed him and he said "Yeah, the blondy fella playing number five, I like the way he gets up and down the field. He has an eye for goal".

So that's how it came about. I was contacted by the scout in Dublin for Arsenal and Middlesbrough approached me as well but that kind of fell to one side. I went over to Arsenal.


Confusingly, the Leinster U21 final is mentioned in that quote, but we're going to assume it's either a typo or a mistake by Geraghty himself as Meath lost to Laois in the 1994 Leinster U21 final. Also, the 1994 Leinster Championship final is the game Fergie attended and Geraghty did score 1-2 in that game.

Anyway, the Arsenal trial didn't work out, though they were impressed with him as an athlete. Years later in his autobiography 'Hero and Villain' Paul Merson would describe him as "the fittest player I ever saw".

You can read more about the trial in that interview, including Geraghty being impressed with Steve Bould's massive shoulders and Paul Davis being sound to him.

The Seneschalstown player's dalliance with soccer did not end there, though, he would go on to play for both Bohs and Drogheda. Of course, he would also win two All-Ireland titles, 1996 and 1999.

Highlights from that 1994 final below with Geraghty's goal at the 8:11 mark.

Videos thanks to killianm2 and Bryansford Gael.

PJ Browne
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