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Time Must Surely Be Up For Kieran McGeeney After Another Dire Armagh Performance

Time Must Surely Be Up For Kieran McGeeney After Another Dire Armagh Performance
By Paul McNulty
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Kieran McGeeney is sure to come under increased pressure after Armagh's three-point defeat to Laois at O'Moore Park this afternoon on a scoreline of 1-10 to 0-10.

Armagh only scored six points from play in 70 minutes. They only mustered three points in total in the second half. Regardless of the controversy that seems to constantly surround McGeeney - they are statistics that would damn any manager - particularly since he said "we need to get our scoring ratio up to around 1-15" before the game.

In fairness to McGeeney, he isn't one to hide away after a poor performance from one of his sides (a cynic could say he's had plenty practice) and he blamed his side's poor shooting for the loss in Portlaoise today.

We just didn't convert. I think we got 10/31 chances... Winning teams are at around 55 or 60 percent conversion rates but we're at 30 or 35 percent and that's not the standard required. We're getting the shots and they're well within our range but we're just not scoring them.

It's just one of those things. It's a game like this that you need to gain momentum and push on in the qualifiers. That's twice now, after last year against Galway that when things went close we weren't able to get over the line.

[Today's loss] was a tough day and it'll probably be a tough week but that's part and parcel of it. If they were giving out pats on the back I'd take them but if they are giving abuse, I'm well fit for it.

Questions have to be answered as to why a side could perform so badly only two years after they reached an All-Ireland quarter-final. Only a last-minute Paddy McBrearty point for Donegal beat Armagh that day - when McGeeney was assisting Paul Grimley on the sideline but the side have been a shambles this year.

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With players like Aaron Kernan, Jamie Clarke and a few of the Crossmaglen Rangers players opting against playing for McGeeney there is an atmosphere of mistrust around the current Armagh setup.

Joe Brolly's comments about the Armagh situation have been well publicised (and a baffling statement of support where the Armagh county board hit back at the pundit's inaccuracies).

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But while the most provocative comments of McGeeney "not having a clue" and Armagh "are a mess" captured a lot of the headlines, as always with Brolly - the flash disguised the substance.

Brolly also said:

Regardless of the players that are at his disposal – he uses the same system... unlike say someone like [Eamonn] Fitzmaurice or someone like Jim Gavin who tailor the system.

That might be the most prescient of Brolly's comments. It's a pattern that established itself in McGeeney's six years in Kildare and shows no signs of improving. McGeeney's teams are tactically inflexible and lack leadership on the field. It's not all McGeeney's fault but you see Armagh players looking to the sideline for guidance instead of taking the initiative themselves.

McGeeney said it himself - he faces a tough week of it.

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