Kieran Donaghy and Kieran McGeeney at the All-Ireland quarter-final against Monaghan. James Crombie/INPHO
Staying Put

'Once Kieran was in I was pretty keen' - McGeeney Armagh decision key for Donaghy

The former Kerry forward was first added the Armagh backroom since the end of 2020.

KIERAN DONAGHY SAYS he was eager to commit to a fourth year as a selector with the Armagh footballers after manager Kieran McGeeney decided he was also staying on.

The 2006 Footballer of the Year was added to the Armagh backroom at the end of 2020 having previously worked with the Galway hurlers. McGeeney was ratified for a 10th season in charge of the Orchard county in August, making him the longest-serving inter-county manager following the departure of Clare football boss Colm Collins.

In 2023, Armagh reached the Ulster final and a second successive All-Ireland quarter-final, falling short after a penalty shootout again.

“I suppose we did not know where we stood until Kieran had decided he was going again for the job so but once he got it we were in immediate contact after that to try and keep everyone together on the management team and to try and push on from the last few years,” Donaghy explains.

“I know there has been two tough quarter-final losses on penalties, so just trying to push on and it is something that works for me and I enjoy it. I love the group, they are all good lads, all dedicated lads, it is something that once Kieran was in I was pretty keen to help out as best I can.”

Donaghy admits that there were “a few approaches” regarding some manager vacancies in other counties, but declined all opportunities as he felt he couldn’t balance the demands of that role with his work and family life.

A round trip between Kerry and Armagh is roughly over 850km but Donaghy insists that the commute is not a strain for him. The former Kerry forward works with PST Sport which is a company that installs pitches, and often travels to Dublin as part of his job. That shortens his journey to Armagh, making it easier for him to commit to his coaching commitments up North.

Donaghy adds that his schedule makes for better time management and adds structure to his week.

“I t doesn’t affect me at all. I’d be up in Dublin anyway, and it’s only an hour and ten minutes on from there to the training ground. Saturday is probably the tough day, where I leave early in the morning, head up to training and head back down to Kerry. Your head would be busy on the way down, thinking of what you could do better, you’d be calling or checkin in with fellas and on the way up, it’s early in the morning so an easy drive, and you can catch up with a podcast or two on the way. I don’t think I could be doing it for a fourth year if I ever felt that the commute or the drive was hard or was putting strain on me.”

Commenting on Armagh’s rotten luck with penalty shootouts, Donaghy said that their objective for avoiding that misfortune going forward is to improve their standards in normal time of a game to get better results.

After reaching two All-Ireland quarter-finals in-a-row, Donaghy believes that an All-Ireland title is within their grasp.

“We would see ourselves as being very competitive, we were very competitive and very unlucky to be relegated last year. Very close, all of our defeats were within one point so we know that we’re a good team, we know that we’ve a very good manager who pushes all of the right buttons in the right direction and it’s just about seeing if we can put it all together, get a bit of luck with the injury run.”

Virgin Media are delighted to support Irish Super League Basketball team Tralee Warriors BC, coinciding with Virgin Media’s rollout of 2gb full fibre broadband to more homes and businesses across Ireland, including the town of Tralee.

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